China-US intelligence war intensifies

China-US intelligence war intensifies

The PRC is now also aligning Hong Kong’s state security with China’s state security, a clear expression of which is the appointment of the former vice chief of China’s Ministry of State Security as director of Hongkong´s Office for Safeguarding National Security.

„Thu, Jul 20, 2023 page1

Chinese intelligence official to control Hong Kong security

Reuters, HONG KONG

China’s appointment of a top intelligence official to run Hong Kong’s national security regime underscores its determination to tighten its grip on territory, diplomats and analysts said.

Dong Jingwei (董經緯), 59, is the highest-level Chinese security official to be appointed to a senior role in Hong Kong since Beijing imposed the National Security Law on the territory in 2020.He has been appointed director of the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Beijing said in a statement on Tuesday.

Dong would be expected to bolster security oversight of Hong Kong, rocked for months in 2019 by pro-democracy protests that posed a crisis for the Chinese Communist Party leadership.

Under the security law, China’s national security office has sweeping investigative and surveillance powers, and enjoys immunity from Hong Kong laws.

The office is also charged with oversight of “foreign countries and international organizations.”

Dong was Chinese vice minister of state security, a role that included catching foreign spies in China, state media reports said.

Dong told a ministry symposium in 2021 of the need for a “people’s war” against espionage, working to “not only catch spies but … to catch internal traitors” who colluded with foreign spy agencies, a Chinese government statement said.

The Chinese Ministry of State Security is playing a major role in a clampdown on some foreign due diligence firms in China that has added to tensions with the US, diplomats say.

The ministry could not be reached for comment.

Dong’s appointment comes as Hong Kong prepares to bolster its national security regimen with a new law, called Article 23, that Hong Kong officials say would encompass espionage and treason among other offenses not covered in the 2020 legislation.

In an essay published in July last year in a journal dedicated to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) thinking on the rule of law, Dong said that “Western forces” had been instigating a “color revolution” in Hong Kong, and the security law had been vital to restore order.

“The appointment of such a powerful intelligence figure as Dong to take charge in Hong Kong is a bit of surprise,” one Asian envoy said. “The government is trying to show it is open for international business, but this will send a shiver and raises fresh questions about the future operating environment.”

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

One of the first measures was the announcement of a bounty on Hong Kong dissidents and opposition figures abroad, who could be tried there if they returned to Hong Kong and, according to the new National Security Law, could also be extradited to the People’s Republic of China.

Bounty on Activists: Hong Kong’s Long Arm Abroad With the national security law, Hong Kong also wants to persecute democracy activists in exile. It’s all about intimidation.

BEIJING taz | When Hong Kong’s chief executive John Lee appeared before the press on Tuesday, the 61-year-old made it abundantly clear how serious he is about the matter: „We will prosecute the criminals for life until they surrender,“ said the patriotic government official. The „criminals“ are eight Hong Kong pro-democracy supporters who are now in exile in Canada, Australia, the United States and Britain. The former members of parliament and lawyers are accused, among other things, of separatism and undermining the state order. In fact, they only took part in demonstrations critical of Beijing. On Monday, the security authorities put a bounty of one million HK dollars on the eight Hong Kong residents. That’s the equivalent of almost 120,000 euros. The sum is particularly remarkable because Hong Kong only offers a fraction of it even against fugitive murderers and rapists.

But ever since the former British crown colony introduced the controversial national security law three years ago, Hong Kong’s former rule of law has come to an end anyway. Under pressure from the Chinese central government in Beijing, the authorities have made all political opposition a criminal offence: since then, critical newspapers have had to close, politicians have resigned and demonstrators have served long prison sentences.

Intimidation abroad

However, the fact that Hong Kong authorities are now putting a bounty on exiled critics is a further escalation. A spokesman for the Washington State Department spoke unequivocally of a “dangerous precedent that threatens the human rights and fundamental freedoms of people around the world”. Similarly critical words came from the governments in Great Britain, Australia and Canada.

The Chinese government, on the other hand, sees the issue as a purely “internal matter”. Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Tuesday that the world should „respect Hong Kong’s rule of law“ and „stop offering protection to criminals.“ At the end of June, the Chinese state newspaper Ta Kung Pao published an editorial that reads like a warning to democracy activists abroad: “Don’t think that you can do whatever you want abroad. As long as there is even the slightest sign of violation, you will not be able to escape the law.“

According to Peter Dahlin, who heads the NGO “Safeguard Defenders”, the prosecution by the Hong Kong authorities has no realistic chance of success from a purely legal point of view. Those affected are already aware that they can no longer travel to a country that has concluded an extradition agreement with China. „In the end, Hong Kong and Beijing are shooting themselves in the foot once again,“ comments Dahlin.

But the intimidating message of bounty hunting should still have influence. Because while some human rights activists wear every threat from the Chinese government like a badge of honor on their chests, they lead many other Chinese abroad to withdraw into private life – especially if they do not want to jeopardize the relationship with their relatives. Chinese nationalists, on the other hand, feel increasingly encouraged to implement their homeland’s security requirements on their own. UK-based human rights activist Finn Lau, who is among eight Hong Kongers being persecuted, has already received screenshots from Chinese nationalists openly discussing his kidnapping.!5945483/

Lately it has been noticeable that the reporting of the Global Times has brought more reports on the US secret services after the CIA director Burns had given a programmatic speech. China has now passed a new espionage law and a foreign relations law, increasingly hunts and attacks opposition members and anti-Chinese forces abroad with the help of its secret services, including angry Chinese nationalists (xiaofenhong) and has even issued arrest warrants alongside the ongoing Operation Fox, is said to maintain illegal police stations in the USA, Europe and other countries and after the budget for China´s  secret services for operations both internally and externally was enlarged, the Ministry of State Security is now openly mobilizing the Chinese population in their witch hunts for foreign spies on the Internet.

The first major report was in the course of the Saudi Arabia-Iran deal, which came about under China’s mediation, an alarmist report about the US embassy in Lebanon, which was completely oversized by Chinese standards, and which was therefore only a gigantic spy center for fomenting unrest, color revolutions and regime changes in the Greater Middle East region is:

“Middle East does not need Big Mac US embassy aiming for regional chaos

By Global Times Published: May 14, 2023 08:23 PM

Free at last. Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

What’s the point of the US to build the second-largest embassy worldwide in such a small country as Lebanon? It is a strong signal to show that the US is in the Middle East to stay, through an exaggeratedly huge new command center, especially at a time when burgeoning detente and peace process are unfolding in the region, healing the wounds caused by Washington.
„A massive new US embassy complex in a tiny Middle East nation is raising eyebrows,“ CNN reported on Saturday. „The US‘ new compound in Lebanon looks like a city of its own. Sprawling over a 43-acre site, the complex in the Beirut suburb of Awkar is almost two-and-a-half times the size of the land the White House sits on and more than 21 soccer fields,“ the article said. 

It became a news story because a small country like Lebanon clearly does not need such a large embassy or a large number of diplomats. „It is likely that a significant proportion of the embassy staff will consist of intelligence and military personnel. In other words, the embassy’s intelligence and military functions will far outweigh its diplomatic role,“ Ding Long, a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times.

The US does not care that Lebanon’s economy has been in turmoil since 2019 or that nearly 80 percent of the Lebanese live in poverty. But it does care about Lebanon’s geographical position – bordering Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south. Experts believe that, as a traditional geopolitical center of the Middle East and the frontline of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Lebanon is viewed by the US as a frontier stronghold to contain Hezbollah and Iran. At the same time, Washington can also closely monitor Russia’s military presence in Syria. 

Upon completion, the US will be able to not only collect significant amount of military intelligence from the Middle East via the new embassy, but also take it as a crucial base for US special operations forces, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times, noting that these will help orchestrate color revolutions in Middle Eastern countries to overthrow anti-US regimes and foster pro-US opposition forces. „Rather than defining it as an embassy, it is more of a US headquarters,“ he said. 

Plans for the embassy complex were announced in 2015. The project apparently has not been affected by the US‘ withdrawal from the Middle East. The US‘ obsession and stubborn intention to interfere in regional affairs and maintain its hegemony in the Middle East has never dimmed.

According to Ding, Washington is only decreasing its direct military involvement in the Middle East; it does not mean that the US is reducing its ambitions for hegemony there. The fact is the US is enhancing its diplomatic, intelligence, and other soft power means in the region. However, the US can hardly reach what it wishes.

One significant cause is that the US‘ Middle East policy is too self-serving and severely detached from reality. Take Lebanon, it needs development and stable neighboring environment to tackle its challenges as many people there are unable to afford basic commodities, including food, medicine and electricity, rather than a Big Mac US embassy, which is widely believed to be full of ill intentions and will create more regional chaos. 

As a result, „Middle Eastern countries‘ trust in the US is declining, while their strategic autonomy is rising. They begin to pursue diversification of allies and partners and implement a strategy of striking balance among major powers,“ Ding said. 

Meanwhile, when talking about the massive US embassy compound in Lebanon, a question can hardly be ignored – where is the money coming from, when the US has been facing debt ceiling crisis over and over again in the past years? It’s the money from American taxpayers, it’s also the money for tomorrow, which US borrowed from other countries. 

Yet the US couldn’t care less about it. It is accustomed to spending future money for today. And it will print more money, escalate inflation, economic and currency crises, and spill them over to other countries, Song said. 

Unfortunately, this is not the way to save US hegemony anymore, nor could it stir up more troubles in the Middle East or any parts of the world.

What the Middle East needs from the US is turning American embassies to their normal function – carrying out genuine diplomacy and facilitate communication, rather than being strongholds for color revolutions or a headquarters for armed militants under the guise of „embassies,“ which, in the past, merely played the role as malignant tumor in the region, bringing disastrous consequences to the innocent local people.

Another article warns of the new US intelligence strategy, as well as the NSA in particular, which still had inherited 4 dangerous mindsets from the Cold War:

“China’s security ministry lashes out against US Intelligence Strategy by exposing four US dangerous modes of thinking

By Global Times Published: Aug 28, 2023 03:13 PM Updated: Aug 28, 2023 03:08 PM

Surveillance Empire: Cyber threat to the world. Graphic:GT

Surveillance Empire: Cyber threat to the world. Graphic:GT

China’s security ministry lashed out against a new US Intelligence Strategy on Monday by exposing four dangerous, ill-suited and parasitic modes of thinking emerging from the US intelligence community – Cold War mentality of targeting China, zero-sum thinking, hegemonic thinking and confrontational thinking. 

The Ministry of State Security (MSS) said in a statement that the policy orientation set by the US National Intelligence Strategy is aimed at deterring China and is merely a new iteration of the “China threat theory,” also a clear declaration of the US intelligence community to open an era of “targeting China.”  

The new US National Intelligence Strategy, unveiled on August 10, aims to better prepare the US for a range of threats that are no longer limited to traditional nation-state competitors such as China and Russia or terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State group, VOA reported.

China’s security ministry in the statement advised the US intelligence community to take a sober approach toward the present-day China and the international landscape. Immersing itself in backward and misguided notions will only result in self-inflicted harm and undermine its own interests, the ministry warned. 

The MSS firstly revealed the Cold War mentality behind the US National Intelligence Strategy, saying though it has been over 30 years since the Cold War has been ended , some individuals in the US intelligence community have only adapted to the new multipolar world physically, while their mindset remains stuck in the bipolar confrontation of the Cold War era. 

They have been constantly searching for a “perfect adversary” to showcase their skills, treating China as a “toolbox” to leverage their own value domestically and as a scapegoat for disguising security challenges internationally. 

From establishing the “China Mission Center” to advocating for the reconstruction of intelligence networks in China, from launching “witch-hunt operations” against Chinese scholars to pressuring countries to “decouple” from China, the US intelligence agencies have skillfully employed strategies from the Cold War era, erecting a new “Iron Curtain” to hinder global prosperity and development, the ministry wrote in a statement. 

The ministry pointed out that the zero-sum thinking over “absolute security” is apparent in its National Intelligence Strategy, which lists numerous new security threats but fails to propose effective strategies for deepening international security cooperation. 

Pursuing its own security while neglecting common security of the world countries and viewing competition and cooperation among nations as a simple zero-sum game, this is where the entrenched malady of the “US security concept” persists, the MSS said. 

Even in the 21st century, the US continues to follow the law of the jungle, where only one side can win at the expense of others. This approach only leads countries into a “prisoner’s dilemma” of mutual distrust and ultimately makes the US itself less secure. “America First” has become the root cause of turmoil and suffering in the world, the ministry said. 

As the sole superpower, imposing its own will on the world is an inherent logic of American hegemony. Citing “American values” and referring to the “international security order,” the US only aims to uphold the “US-centered international order,” the ministry pointed out. 

As early as World War II, the Office of Strategic Services (a predecessor to the CIA) proposed implementing propaganda and subversive actions to shape the post-war world order. In 1948, the CIA launched the “Operation Gladio” and interfered in elections in Italy. In 1953, the CIA carried out the “Operation Ajax” to overthrow the Mossadegh government in Iran, the MSS said. 

Starting in 2003, a series of “color revolutions” occurred in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, with the US intelligence department being regarded as important behind-the-scenes actors, it added. 

The ability to shape security in line with global hegemony is a persistent goal that the US has been pursuing, however, its unilateralism and egotism are triggering increasingly strong criticism and opposition from the international community, the security ministry said. 

Placing importance on leveraging allies is the biggest difference that the Biden administration self-proclaims as part of its foreign policy compared to the Trump administration. But the truth is that the so-called “alliances and partnerships” is essentially the act of coercing other countries to take sides and firmly binding them to the US intelligence apparatus. 

The security ministry referenced the Russia-Ukraine conflict, to solidify anti Russia alliance, the US intelligence community has been hyping up over on the European energy supply chain and the Nord Stream pipeline issue remains shrouded in mystery to this day.

While in the Asia-Pacific region, the US has aggressively promoted the “Indo-Pacific strategy” and rallied the “Five Eyes alliance,” “Quad mechanism,” and “trilateral security partnerships” to create intelligence cliques, pressuring countries to join in an anti-China chorus, the ministry stated. 

However, being an intelligence ally of the US not only requires willingly acting as a “pawn” but also accepting the meticulous “special care” of the “big brother’ at all times, the ministry said.

Citing media reports, the ministry pointed out that the US National Security Agency has long monitored the heads of state and government of allied nations, also established technical eavesdropping bases covering neighboring countries in a certain European country, and even demanded the country’s intelligence agency assist the US in monitoring its own government officials. 

Such absurd demands can only come from a “peculiar ally” like the US, the ministry added. 

Global Times

Now the Chinese are seeing Burn’s long CIA hand in the State Department as well. The new candidate for China policy in the State Department, Mark Lambert, has an intelligence background, which is why it had to be expected that the CIA will now use disinformation to fuel social tensions in China, attempt destabilization up to possible color revolutions and hoped-for regime change, and orchestrate and initiate political offensives with Bangkok and Tokyo being the main intelligence bases of operations and intelligence hubs.

Candidate for US state department top China policy official has strong ‘intelligence background,’ to serve political offensive goals

By GT staff reporters Published: Aug 30, 2023 09:19 PM Updated: Aug 31, 2023 12:50 AM

Mark Lambert(center) Photo: VCG

Mark Lambert(center) Photo: VCG

Mark Lambert, a veteran diplomat with rich experience in East Asian affairs, is reportedly the most likely candidate to become the top China policy official with the US State Department. Chinese analysts warned on Wednesday that the appointment could indicate the Biden administration’s increasing efforts to rebuild its intelligence network to serve Washington’s political offensive goal against Beijing, given Lambert’s extensive resume of being a political military officer, among other positions, in numerous Asian countries. 

Lambert will likely be named as the deputy assistant secretary for China and Taiwan region, the sources said, filling the post left in June by Rick Waters, Reuters said in an exclusive report on Tuesday, citing five sources familiar with the matter.

Lambert, an Asia expert who did two rotations at the US embassy in Beijing, most recently served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of East Asia and Pacific Affairs overseeing the office for Japanese Affairs, for Korean and Mongolian Affairs, and the office that manages relations with Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, according to the Website of the US State Department. 

According to the US State Department website, Lambert was named the State Department’s human rights officer of the year for „devising a strategy to release Chinese political prisoners and promote religious freedom.“

Lambert was also involved in resolving the 2001 China-US fighter crash, when a US spy aircraft illegally entered Chinese air space in the South China Sea before it collided with People’s Liberation Army Navy’s fighter jet ordered to track and monitor it. 

When his experience of handling the China-related affairs which is heavily tilted to the domains of military security and human rights affairs, it is estimated that Lambert, after assuming the position, would likely focus on issues where the two sides are at odds and strengthening the „intense competition“ between the US and China, Li Haidong, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Lambert could be more of an intelligence officer than a regular diplomat, and his appointment could be part of - or at least has strong connection to - the US‘ rebuilding of its intelligence networks that US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director William Burns disclosed in July, Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Burns, while attending the Aspen Security Forum on July 20, said that progress had been made in rebuilding US spy networks in China and they are working hard to build a very strong human intelligence capability to complement what they can acquire through other methods.

Commenting on the CIA director’s remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on July 24 during a routine press conference that the US on the one hand keeps spreading disinformation on the so-called Chinese spying and cyber attacks, and on the other hand tells the public about its large-scale intelligence activities targeting China. This in itself is quite revealing. 

China will take all measures necessary to safeguard national security, the spokesperson warned. 

China unveiled two CIA espionage cases against China within half a month in August.

Lambert, according to the US state department website, served as Political Military officer in Bangkok and Tokyo and as a science and technology officer on the State Department’s Japan Desk.

Bangkok and Tokyo happen to be US intelligence hubs in Asia, according to Chinese experts of American studies.

His previous posts as a military political officer in Asian countries could strongly suggest an intelligence background, and if he is appointed as the US‘ top China policy official, it could indicate that the US State Department and the CIA are ramping up intelligence capabilities targeting China and relevant political offensives against China. The means that spreading anti-China information and creating social antagonism with disinformation would be correspondingly intensified, Lü warned.

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