Sky News reported a list of nearly two million members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who are operating worldwide and in dozens of companies based in the United States and other Western nations. According to the report, the list was compiled in 2016 by Chinese dissidents who extracted the data from a Shanghai server.
In mid-September, the data was leaked to a newly formed international group called the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). This is a group of 150 legislators whose mission is stated on their website:
IPAC’s mission is to foster deeper collaboration between like-minded legislators. Its principal work is to monitor relevant developments, to assist legislators to construct appropriate and coordinated responses, and to help craft a proactive and strategic approach on issues related to the People’s Republic of China.
IPAC provided the data to four independent media outlets for verification. It is believed to be the first leak of its kind and gives a detailed look at how the party operates under Chairman Xi Jinping. The data shows that party members are embedded in some of the world’s largest companies and inside government agencies.
“Communist party branches have been set up inside western companies, allowing the infiltration of those companies by CCP members – who, if called on, are answerable directly to the communist party, to the Chairman, the president himself,” she said. “Along with the personal identifying details of 1.95 million communist party members, mostly from Shanghai, there are also the details of 79,000 communist party branches, many of them inside companies”.
One of the media outlets that investigated the list was the Daily Mail. They published additional details on their findings and report:
Loyal members of the Chinese Communist Party are working in British consulates, universities and for some of the UK’s leading companies, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
An extraordinary leaked database of 1.95 million registered party members reveals how Beijing’s malign influence now stretches into almost every corner of British life, including defence firms, banks and pharmaceutical giants.
Most alarmingly, some of its members – who swear a solemn oath to ‘guard Party secrets, be loyal to the Party, work hard, fight for communism throughout my life…and never betray the Party’ – are understood to have secured jobs in British consulates.
They also report on specific companies. Pharmaceutical giants AstraZeneca and Pfizer, who are both involved in COVID-19 vaccination development, employed 123 CCP loyalists between them. Two banks, HSBC and Standard Chartered, had 600 party loyalists across 19 branches in 2016. Corporations with defense applications, such as Airbus, Boeing, and Rolls Royce also employed hundreds of people on the list.
Both reports are clear in saying that there is no evidence the people on the list are actively spying for China. However, it stretches credibility to believe this is not happening. A recent lecture from a Chinese economics professor indicated that this occurred in large financial institutions. An editorial from Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe provided some context for the professor’s remarks:
The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the US and the rest of the planet economically, militarily, and technologically.
I call its approach of economic espionage “rob, replicate and replace.” China robs US companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology and then replaces the US firms in the global marketplace.
China also steals sensitive US defense technology to fuel President Xi Jinping’s aggressive plan to make China the world’s foremost military power.
All of this information should be incorporated into any foreign policy strategy from an incoming Biden administration. Certainly, in a second Trump administration, it would have been taken very seriously. It appears Biden’s Climate Czar, John Kerry, has already been in conversations with Chinese officials, and it could be a return to business as usual wrapped in “climate change.”
When he participated in a panel at the World Economic Forum in mid-November, Kerry said the following:
Last night I took part in a call in Governor Brown had a university of California session. And Shi Jinhua [spelled phonetically] who many of you know is the Chinese [representative] on climate and he and I have worked together for years. We got together when I first became Secretary and got China and the U.S. working together to move towards Paris which helped us get the Paris agreement done. Last night I heard words from Shi Jinhua that were more than encouraging about the potential for the U.S. and China to begin immediately to try and work again in the same fashion.
Kerry made the comments before he was appointed to his made-up position. However, he clearly intends to work with China as if they are still a developing nation instead of one that poses an existential threat to the West. This perspective in U.S.-China relations is inconsistent with the view of 73% of Americans post-pandemic. Disapproval of China is at historic highs across the U.S. and countries we are allied with, according to Pew Research.
Our foreign policy needs to reflect that reality.
Watch John Kerry’s full comments: