The Chinese regime, for years, has been using a vast espionage network to access valuable information to dominate the world market. However, recently, its espionage has crossed the limits, as it obtained confidential information from the Federal Reserve (FED) of the United States through the coercion of employees of the powerful entity, as revealed in the report published by U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
The submitted report indicates that agents of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) dissuaded and pressured 13 people working in eight of the 12 regional banks of the Fed’s headquarters to obtain confidential information from the United States.
The investigation says that CCP agents forcibly detained one of these employees in the hotel room where he was staying. They told him that they had monitored his telephone conversations and would accuse him of committing crimes against China. They also threatened to harm his family if he refused to hand over confidential U.S. economic data.
The same employee was detained and threatened on four occasions by CCP agents while visiting Shanghai in 2019.
The report also reveals that Chinese agents tapped his phone and computer and copied the contact information of other Federal Reserve officials from his WeChat account.
The CCP coerced another Federal Reserve Bank employee with confidential access to Federal Reserve Board data to provide a code to a Chinese university linked to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). On two occasions, a third worker was then made to transfer large volumes of Federal Reserve data to a Chinese banking institution.
Chinese agents were able to get another Federal Reserve employee to communicate regularly with officials of China’s Xinhua News Agency, a known international espionage tool of the CCP.
The revealing document shows how the CCP recruited some EDF staff by offering academic positions and economic opportunities in exchange for confidential data and information.
Portman said in a statement, “As our investigation reveals, the Chinese government is using every tool at its disposal to infiltrate and steal valuable information.”
Soft power is another CCP infiltration tool
The CCP uses another stealthy method of espionage through Confucius Institutes (CIs), infiltrating more than 500 universities worldwide. In the United States, there are currently around 100 CIs.
The CIs are educational institutions funded by the Chinese regime, supposedly to teach the Chinese language, culture, and history, but they are truly powerful weapons that enhance the CCP’s soft power.
In 2010, during the rise of these CCP institutes, Liu Yunshan, who was then Minister of Propaganda of the Chinese regime, said, “With regard to key issues that influence our sovereignty and safety, we should actively carry out international propaganda battles against issuers such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, human rights and Falun Gong. We should do well in establishing and operating overseas cultural centers and Confucius Institutes.”
On the other hand, the CCP, thanks to the CIs and its relations with various U.S. universities, obtains technology and know-how for use in China’s commercial and military development, according to a report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a Washington-based think tank.
For example, Arizona State University, the University of Utah, and Pacific Lutheran University in Washington have partnerships with Sichuan University, which was placed on a U.S. trade blacklist in 2019 for supporting the CCP’s nuclear weapons program.
Although in recent years, dozens of Confucius Institutes have closed in the United States due to pressure from Republican lawmakers because of the imminent danger they pose. As a result, the Chinese regime has sought other ways to partner with universities under a new name: China International Education Foundation, according to The Epoch Times.
The CCP also manages to recruit experts and specialists through a program that enters universities through the CIs, called Thousand Talents. This is a CCP plan to identify and recruit high-level experts abroad who are in charge of providing confidential information on scientific and technological research projects, among others, that are carried out in universities, achieving the theft of intellectual property from U.S. students.
Cyberespionage against the U.S. government and its major corporations
Another method of infiltration that the CCP has in the United States is through cyber espionage, with technology experts violating the security of government computer systems and those of large companies and industrialists to obtain trade secrets and intellectual property.
For example, in 2018, the U.S. government charged two Chinese nationals, Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong, with hacking computer systems, committing wire fraud, and identity theft from unnamed aviation, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, and satellite companies. They were also accused of breaching the security of several government entities, including the Navy, Goddard Space Flight Center, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
In recent years, large Chinese corporations such as TikTok and Huawei have also been accused of being part of the CCP’s espionage in the United States and worldwide.
Brendan Carr, a member of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, said that TikTok poses a serious threat to the United States because it is a sophisticated surveillance tool that collects large amounts of personal and confidential data used by the Chinese regime.
Former President Donald Trump, during his tenure, attempted to ban the use of the app within the country because it posed a national threat.
In that context, Carr argued that the technology company ByteDance that owns TikTok is not independent but belongs to the CCP.
On the other hand, the FBI also accuses Huawei of being an espionage tool responsible for disrupting highly restricted communications by the Department of Defense and the Strategic Command.
The Huawei systems installed can intercept not only commercial cellular traffic but also highly restricted radio waves used by the federal military and intelligence services.
The unsealed indictment describes how the CCP steals U.S. technology secrets from various industries to enable Chinese companies to outperform their international competitors.