It’s time to fill you in on a little story.
Lucky you. You get to be a fly on the wall in the dark meeting rooms in the bowels of Beijing, where our intelligence community meets. Let’s visit a moment in our story when everything got even crazier. Shih Tzu, the monster in my struggle, once again brought havoc to my story, and potentially to yours too.
This is that point in the story when the monster comes with overwhelming odds in his favor against the protagonist. And, there’s a big battle, which looks like an impossibility for the protagonist to win, where the protagonist ends up on his back with the monster’s boot on his neck.
That’s me on the ground, though not literally.
And Shih Tzu towers over me, which he literally does, anytime he’s near me anyway, being over seven feet tall.
He makes his speech, telling me what a pathetic loser I am…
Well, I’ll stop narrating for him and just take you to the scene, at least as dramatized in my mind:
“Chow!” Shih Tzu spits, dislodging a bit of lunch still stuck in his teeth. “You’re a pathetic loser!”
“How’s that, comrade?” I manage to squeak out of my constricted throat.
His flint-like face firms up even more. “You’ve gone too far with all your studies and discoveries now. You’ve revealed too much. Anyone with half a brain can see that America’s over. The Christians are not coming out of that minimalist corner. And now you’ve revealed that their God has already told us thousands of years ago that they would crumble…”
“Like a cookie?” I peeped, remembering Paula teaching me your saying, ‘that’s how the cookie crumbles’.
“What?” he scowled, and then roared, “How can you think of food at a time like this? It’s time for me to act! It’s time for our nation to act! There is no need to wait. A path to the rulership of the Middle Kingdom has opened up for us and it’s our destiny to take the throne. And it’s my destiny to lead us there!”
And that’s when he published the following memo…
Mao Tse Tongue!
To: The Central Military Commission
From: Shih Tzu
The Most Loyal Follower of Chairman Mao
Re: Our Need for Speed
Every morning when I rise to pursue my quest, I meditate on this insight from the Great Helmsman…
The enemy will not perish of himself. Neither will the Chinese reactionaries nor the aggressive forces of U.S. imperialism in China step down from the stage of history of their own accord.Mao Tse Tung, “Carry the Revolution Through to the End” December 30, 1948
And every time I finish my meditation, I recite this poem…
I love you, Chairman Mao.
Love you immeasurably.
I cannot imagine how we can do life without you.
I am ready right now to perform a heroic deed of unprecedented prowess for your sake.
Oh, my Mao, abide in me!
Then I sing this song…
Chinese dream for 1,000 years,
Chinese dream for 100 years,
The dream carries on, the dream embraces all,
For the revival of China, for the revival of China!
The I rise with a special feeling …
I feel the need – the need for speed!
We must act, Comrades! Even you Sun Tzu lovers can’t ignore what he wrote…
Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy’s unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.
And one of the first things we must do is reject Chow Non Phat’s continued assertions that Abraham Lincoln may have been right about how America’s story will unfold…
All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.
At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.Abraham Lincoln, The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions: Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838
Chow is simply using Lincoln as a means to try to persuade us to continue to follow Sun Tzu’s advice and win without fighting.
But did the Party achieve its glorious victory over the Chinese reactionaries and the aggressive forces of U.S. imperialism by adopting such an approach?
Of course not.
Let’s pay attention to our students:
YUQING COUNTY, China — With the fiery zeal of a preacher, Xie Hong addressed her class of 50 fourth-grade students, all in matching red tracksuits.
“Today’s life is rich, blessed, happy and joyous,” she said. “Where does our happy life come from? Who gave it to us?”
In Ms. Xie’s classroom at the Workers and Peasants Red Army Elementary School, there was only one correct answer, and she had worked tirelessly to ensure her students knew it.
“It comes from the blood of revolutionary martyrs! From the Red Army!” said a 9-year-old boy, Li Jiacheng. The class burst into applause, and Ms. Xie beamed.To Inspire Young Communists, China Turns to ‘Red Army’ Schools, By JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ, New York Times, October 15, 2017
We had to fight then and we must fight now.
Remember, my brothers in war!
I love you completely!
I am and I was one of your kind!
But Chow is doing something very clever to try to persuade you.
He is trying to convince you that one of the most powerful ways to win without fighting is to win the story war.
He’s trying to seduce you by quoting brilliant, but misguided people like this…
“In today’s engagement with China, it’s not really whose army wins, it’s whose story wins.”Stefan Halper, Interviewed in China’s Non-Kinetic Three Warfares Against America
And Chow is using Robert McKee to help you see how powerful story really can be.
That idiot loser and his Uncle are going directly against the wisdom which my great ancestor, Shih Tzu, gave in his brilliant book, Unleash the Small Dogs of War.
And as you know, Chairman Mao read that book and embraced its genius just before launching the Great Leap Forward.
He took an action which forever changed the lives of millions of Chinese people.
So, we need to do the same thing. It’s time for another Great Leap Forward.
It’s time to militarily engage the United States.
Let’s go after their satellites – their undefended space!
And let’s end Chow’s foolish quest.
Let’s bring Chow’s home, arrest him and lose him in the bowels of a remote Beijing prison while we go forward and sing the song of victory over our enemies.
Or better yet, send him out to Xinjiang Province and put him in a re-education camp with the Uighurs.
And let us put Chow’s Uncle in prison. I have an urge for a purge.
But even if you think the loser Chow may be right — that the only way to pull the United States back from their Death March into the Danger Zone of the House Divided is for the Christians to begin to make an exodus out of the minimalist corner – then…
… what if … the American Christians…
… change their mind and begin to do it?
So, Comrades, why take a chance?
Why wait and see?
We have a need for speed!
When I finished reading that memo, I could hear that train of death for both me and my Uncle.
Things were looking so very bleak that I even wondered if Shih Tzu would kill Paula too. Everything in the world that mattered to me was at stake.
I turned to Paula for advice.
“What can we do save my Uncle?” I cried.
This is the point in our story when the protagonist reaches deep inside and pulls out a special skill to overcome the monster.
As I gazed on Paula’s calm, peaceful face I could see the answer, ‘plain as day’ as she taught me to say. She smiled, cocking her head and purred, “I think you know already. Maybe this time, you know before me?”
I did know. In that clarifying moment I made a risky ‘skin in the game’ move.
“Maybe it’s time, Comrade Wong,” I began, “to do something shocking to try to persuade the Central Military Commission to be patient and continue to win against the Americans without fighting. Because Shih Tzu isn’t going to change. So we need to act. Because if Shih Tzu gets what he wants, a war between China and the United States will put the lives of millions of innocent people at risk.”
Because it may play out in a very shocking way…
HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people are at risk of becoming the victims of genocide and related violence.Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Worse Than War
They live in countries governed by political regimes that have been and are inherently prone to committing mass murder. In some countries, such as Sudan, the killing is ongoing. In others, such as Rwanda, the killing has been recent. In still others, such as Kenya, the threat of mass murder has appeared real if not imminent. In yet others, although no warning signals suggest immediate danger, mass slaughter could begin precipitously.
Our time, dating from the beginning of the twentieth century, has been afflicted by one mass murder after another, so frequently and, in aggregate, of such massive destructiveness, that the problem of genocidal killing is worse than war. Until now, the world’s peoples and governments have done little to prevent or stop mass murdering. Today, the world is not markedly better prepared to end this greatest scourge of humanity. The evidence of this failure is overwhelming. It is to be found in Tibet, North Korea, the former Yugoslavia, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Rwanda, southern Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Darfur.
And you are aware of this, right?…
As China’s power has grown in recent years, so, too, has the risk of war with the United States. Under President Xi Jinping, China has increased its political and economic pressure on Taiwan and built military installations on coral reefs in the South China Sea, fueling Washington’s fears that Chinese expansionism will threaten U.S. allies and influence in the region. U.S. destroyers have transited the Taiwan Strait, to loud protests from Beijing. American policymakers have wondered aloud whether they should send an aircraft carrier through the strait as well. Chinese fighter jets have intercepted U.S. aircraft in the skies above the South China Sea. Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has brought long-simmering economic disputes to a rolling boil.
A war between the two countries remains unlikely, but the prospect of a military confrontation—resulting, for example, from a Chinese campaign against Taiwan—no longer seems as implausible as it once did. And the odds of such a confrontation going nuclear are higher than most policymakers and analysts think.Beijing’s Nuclear Option: Why a U.S.-Chinese War Could Spiral Out of Control, By Caitlin Talmadge, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2018 Issue
And it looks like your military may not be as ready as you think…
The United States may spend more on defense than the next seven highest-spending nations on the planet combined, but it seems to be ill-prepared for war against its most dangerous adversaries: A new analysis suggests the Pentagon would almost certainly endure a “decisive military defeat” if faced with war against Russia or China.
The comprehensive report, released this week by the National Defense Strategy Commission—a bipartisan panel of experts selected by Congress to review and assess the National Defense Strategy put forward by the Trump administration—concludes that America’s armed forces would be woefully unprepared in the event of a conflict with its two most daunting rivals, Russia and China, over disputes related to the Baltic region of Northern Europe and the sovereignty of Taiwan, respectively. “The security and wellbeing of the United States are at greater risk than at any time in decades,” the report reads. “Put bluntly, the U.S. military could lose the next state-versus-state war it fights.”DESPITE RECORD SPENDING, THE U.S. MILITARY WOULD BE AT ‘GRAVE RISK’ IN A WAR WITH RUSSIA OR CHINA, By JARED KELLER, Pacific Standard, November 16, 2018
So, I laid out my crazy idea.
After I explained it to her, she cried, “Chow Non Phat! That just might work!”
And so, we put our heads together – along with our hearts – and ‘fleshed out’ my idea.
Please keep in mind, I don’t share these thoughts lightly. After all, as you heard from Shih Tzu, it may cost me my life.
When we finished, Paula suggested naming it the Treasure Test Offer.
“There it is,” said Paula. “That is the undefended space of the Chinese Communist Party in the United States. And if the Christians in America just ignore it, then we may be able to finally persuade the Party just how powerful that minimalist corner really is.”
And, we shared a smile, since we both knew you aren’t likely to actually take my advice and do it, which is fine by us.
So, the next morning I explained to our remaining team members what we wanted to do.
And they groaned.
“That is insane,” said one of them.
“Treason,” said another.
And they all got up to leave. The last one out the door turned back and winked with a smile and said, “Prepare for demotion, you pathetic loser. What an idiot you are.”
And I looked at Paula. “Am I making another big mistake? Should we just drop it?”
She was quiet.
Then, less than an hour later, Shih Tzu sent the following message…
My Dear Loser Friend,
I finally got what I want. You are tying yourself to the train tracks.
What an idiot!
Yet I must admit you are right about one thing.
Robert McKee is more important to the future of America than Donald Trump.
So, I am beginning to think about how dangerous Robert McKee may be to the Party.
Go to the front page of McKee’s web site and read what he wrote…
Write the Truth
“Write every day, line by line, page by page, hour by hour. Do this despite fear. For above all else, beyond imagination and skill, what the world asks of you is courage, courage to risk rejection, ridicule and failure. As you follow the quest for stories told with meaning and beauty, study thoughtfully but write boldly. Then, like the hero of the fable, your dance will dazzle the world.”Robert McKee
That cannot be allowed in China. We do not want courageous writers who write the truth. But at least McKee is honest about how they put the Party in danger. Let me show this to you, from McKee’s famous book…
In 388 B.C. Plato urged the city fathers of Athens to exile all poets and storytellers. They are a threat to society, he argued. Writers deal with ideas, but not in the open, rational manner of philosophers. Instead, they conceal their ideas inside the seductive emotions of art. Yet felt ideas, as Plato pointed out, are ideas nonetheless. Every effective story sends a charged idea out to us, in effect compelling the idea into us, so that we must believe. In fact, the persuasive power of a story is so great that we may believe its meaning even if we find it morally repellent. Storytellers, Plato insisted, are dangerous people. He was right.
No civilization, including Plato’s, has ever been destroyed because its citizens learned too much truth.
Authoritative personalities, like Plato, fear the threat that comes not from idea, but from emotion. Those in power never want us to feel. Thought can be controlled and manipulated, but emotion is willful and unpredictable. Artists threaten authority by exposing and inspiring passion for change. This is why when tyrants seize power, their firing squads aim at the heart of the writer.Robert McKee, Story
McKee gets how we think. Like Chairman Mao told us, political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
And like Mao said, “Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party.”
So, we need writers who agree to be loyal to the Party above all else.
But you are a traitor, Chow. So, hear the train a comin’ — it’s rollin’ ’round the bend!
And say goodbye to your Uncle! No more yellow brick road for you.
The Undefended Space
So, it’s time to show you my epiphany, an epiphany which may cost me my life. But I’m not the only one putting skin in the game.
As we showed you earlier, Paula came across an article written by Wang Dan, who “was No. 1 on the Chinese Communist Party’s most-wanted list for his leadership of the 1989 student movement at Tiananmen.”
And just to remind you, here is part of what he wrote…
I have drawn comfort from the consistent condemnation by Americans of the Chinese Communist government’s slaughter of peaceful protesters. It makes me feel like I am on the right side of history.
That is, until I heard Donald Trump’s words in a GOP debate in which he called the nonviolent movement at Tiananmen a “riot.” This description—“a riot”—is the same one that the Chinese Communist Party uses for its massacre, which left innocent blood flowing through the heart of Beijing. Mr. Trump went on to praise the Chinese government that butchered civilians as “strong, powerful.”
As a student leader at Tiananmen, whose fellow youth were killed or imprisoned by a government that is still in charge in China, I am disappointed by and angry at Mr. Trump’s words. If a bloody repression can be praised as a “strong, powerful” action, what does this mean about American values, especially when this blatant mischaracterization comes from a presidential candidate?
In China, because of the Communist Party’s omissions from history books and mounting online censorship, people—young ones, especially—may have no idea about the idealism and hopes of the students at Tiananmen. They may know nothing of the bloodshed that was unleashed on June 4, 1989. Americans know, however. I want to ask Mr. Trump: How can you say these things about Tiananmen? As a long-time resident of the United States, I am deeply worried about a great country’s future.
Maybe Mr. Trump will spin a defense for himself. But his description of the student movement as a “riot” was very clear. There is no room for misunderstanding on this point. Yet I can say with confidence that it is only Chinese Communist Party officials who will agree with him. So, I will tell Mr. Trump this: “Congratulations, you are already qualified to become a member of the Communist Party of China.”Tiananmen Protester: Donald Trump Sounds Like a Communist Leader, by Wang Dan, Time, March 14, 2016
And since that so caught our attention, Paula began to look into the work which Wang Dan is now involved with. It is a Think Tank called Dialogue China.
And here is why they are making this effort…
to influence the overseas Chinese international students by the form of touring lecture and salon; to cooperate with them to form new political force;
on the topic of China’s development, to initiate dialogues among the newly raised middle class, among the open-minded officials in China, between the political participants in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and between western governments and the civil society as a whole. We seek consensus in the dialogue.
THE CHINA NEWSLETTER:
collecting, summarizing, and sending the grass root level research in China to policymakers and China watchers in the email format;
to conduct the comparative analysis of other countries’ successful democratization experience, to provide policy for China’s transformation.Dialogue China
And that opened our eyes. We came to see the undefended space of the Chinese Communist Party in the United States…
It’s the 430,000 students we have sent to America.
Imagine the potential implications for the Party if all those students began to think seriously about the two simple story questions…
Which story are we in?
Who are we, here in the story?
Remember, we got no story. It’s a boring, nonplot narrative which is intrinsically meaningless.
But you weren’t aware of this huge number of students, were you? …
American universities have long played a leading role in relations between the United States and China. Ever since the Carter administration ﬁrst explored the possibility with Deng Xiaoping and other Chinese counterparts of sending Chinese students to the United States in 1977–78, PRC government authorities (like their Republican-era predecessors) have seen American universities as integral to China’s economic and scientiﬁc development. For the ﬁrst two decades after normalization, the Chinese government placed a priority on sending students in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Over time, however, ﬁelds of study broadened into the humanities, social sciences, and the arts, a change that has mirrored the shift in educational exchange from primarily a state-directed to a private consumer-driven phenomenon that saw an increasing number of middle-class Chinese parents opting to send their children to the United States for liberal arts undergraduate university, and even secondary school education. The net result has been that several million Chinese students have now successfully matriculated through the US higher education system. During the 2017–2018 academic year, for instance, a record 350,755 Chinese students were enrolled in American universities (with an additional 80,000 in high schools), out of a total of 1.5 million Chinese students studying worldwide in the same year.Chinese Influence & American Interests: Universities, Hoover Institution, Thursday, November 29, 2018
So, if you come to see the power of story – and recognize that we got no story – you’ll be able to see the treasure we are offering you…
By now, there is little remaining doubt that China’s continued rise marks the most significant geopolitical event shaping the 21st century. Yet U.S. and European officials — mired in issues ranging from Trump administration immigration gyrations to Brexit — have failed to give this mother of all inflection points enough attention.
Some are in denial about the fundamental change China’s rise may bring to the global order of institutions and principles established by the United States and its allies after World War II. Others concede that the structural stress between a rising China and an incumbent United States is the defining danger of our times, yet they offer neither an engagement nor containment strategy worthy of this epochal challenge.
That has produced the worst of all worlds.It’s time for the US and Europe to ask what sort of world China wants to build, By Fred Kempe, CNBC, April 13, 2019
Our United Front
But, in spite of the reality that, in the story war, you have the advantage over the Party and our secular story allies in your country, there is something you need to know about us.
We are not passive.
We are very active in an effort to accelerate your Death March into the Danger Zone of the House Divided…
In addition to its growing military power, China is using political warfare capabilities under a doctrine described as “uniting with friends and disintegrating enemies,” Fanell said.
“In any conflict within the Indo-Pacific region or globally, the PRC’s fight for public opinion will be the PRC’s second battlefield, on which it will wage a wide range of political warfare operations,” Fanell said.
The information warfare will employ strategic psychological operations to promote the narratives of events, actions, and policies with the goal of controlling the Chinese public and influencing policies of both friends and foes.China ‘Dream’ Is Global Hegemony, By Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon, May 17, 2018
Anne-Marie Brady, a fellow at the Wilson Center who researches the United Front’s activities in New Zealand, describes the goal of United Front work among overseas Chinese communities as “[getting] the community to proactively and even better, spontaneously, engage in activities which enhance China’s foreign policy agenda.”
Peter Mattis, a former CIA China analyst and a research fellow in China studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, takes it a step further.
“The purpose of this department is to turn Americans against their own government’s interests and their society’s interests,” he told The Daily Beast. “It’s undermining the integrity of our democracy and it’s getting Americans to do it themselves.”China Built an Army of Influence Agents in the U.S., By Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, The Daily Beast, July 18, 2018
Beijing’s spy networks in the United States include up to 25,000 Chinese intelligence officers and more than 15,000 recruited agents who have stepped up offensive spying activities since 2012, according to a Chinese dissident with close ties to Beijing’s military and intelligence establishment.
Guo Wengui, a billionaire businessman who broke with the regime several months ago, said in an interview that he has close ties to the Ministry of State Security (MSS), the civilian intelligence service, and the military spy service of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).China’s Intelligence Networks in United States Include 25,000 Spies, By Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon, July 11, 2017
And this move on our part is very well organized through what we call our United Front….
At its heart, United Front strategy involves amplifying friendly voices and suppressing critical ones. After the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, the CCP realized that it had a major global image problem, and it feared that the pro-democracy movement would flourish in overseas Chinese communities and then seep back in China. So the party launched what would become a decades-long expansion of United Front activity abroad, particularly among diaspora communities. The aim was to build party-linked networks in overseas Chinese communities, keep them connected to Beijing, and quash any anti-party organizing.
These overseas efforts have targeted independent Chinese-language media outlets, Chinese student and community groups, Chinese businesses and organizations, and increasingly, prominent non-Chinese individuals and organizations, including campaign donors and politicians, with the goal of convincing them to promote Beijing’s policies and interests in their host countries.China Built an Army of Influence Agents in the U.S., By Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, The Daily Beast, July 18, 2018
China’s Communist Party is intensifying covert influence operations in the United States that include funding Washington think tanks and coercing Chinese Americans, according to a congressional commission report.
The influence operations are conducted by the United Front Work Department, a Central Committee organ that employs tens of thousands of operatives who seek to use both overt and covert operations to promote Communist Party policies.
The Party’s United Front strategy includes paying several Washington think tanks with the goal influencing their actions and adopting positions that support Beijing’s policies.
“The [Chinese Communist Party] has sought to influence academic discourse on China and in certain instances has infringed upon—and potentially criminally violated—rights to freedoms of speech and association that are guaranteed to Americans and those protected by U.S. laws,” the report says.
“Despite the CCP’s candid discussion of its United Front strategy, the breadth and depth of this issue remain relatively unknown to U.S. policymakers.”
The report said the Johns Hopkins School of Advance International Studies, a major foreign policy education and analysis institute, has received funding from Tung Chee-hwa, a vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the party group that directs the United Front Work Department and includes a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the collective dictatorship that rules China.Chinese Communist Party Funds Washington Think Tanks, By Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon, August 24, 2018
And we understand that you don’t really know much about what we’re up to…
China Commission member Larry Wortzel, a former military intelligence officer once posted to China, said the report is important for exposing the activities of the United Front Work Department and the China People’s Political Consultative Conference.
“Most Americans and many members of Congress have no idea of the range of activities undertaken by this Chinese Communist Party web,” Wortzel said. “It is a form of activity by Communist parties that dates back to the days of Lenin.”
Wortzel said now that Congress has been alerted to the Chinese influence operations, “Congress should consider legislation requiring anyone associated with the China People’s Political Consultative Conference, CUSEF, or the United Front Work Department to register as a foreign agent,” he said.Chinese Communist Party Funds Washington Think Tanks, By Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon, August 24, 2018
And have you ever even heard of the Confucius Institutes?
United Front operations also are active in the Confucius Institutes—Chinese government-funded centers that are used for influence and intelligence activities.
Confucius Institutes are located on hundreds of American campuses and are used to “advance Beijing’s preferred narrative and subvert important academic principles such as institutional autonomy and academic freedom.”
“Significantly, Confucius Institutes are funded by the CCP Propaganda Department—formally affiliated with the [United Front Work Department] —and are also overseen by personnel based in Chinese embassies and consulates,” the report said.Chinese Communist Party Funds Washington Think Tanks, By Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon, August 24, 2018
And to give you a sense for how much we love our United Front, look what our Chosen One calls it…
According to the report, Chinese President Xi Jinping has elevated the role of the communist influence organs to promote Chinese communism worldwide.
Xi regards United Front work as a “magic weapon” for use in what he has called the rejuvenation of China.
Since becoming Party general secretary in 2012, Xi has added 40,000 more people to the ranks of the United Front Work Department, and added new departments.Chinese Communist Party Funds Washington Think Tanks, By Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon, August 24, 2018
In September 2014 Xi Jinping gave a speech on the importance of united front work— political influence activities—calling it one of the CCP’s “magic weapons”.Magic Weapons: China’s political influence activities under Xi Jinping, By Professor Anne-Marie Brady Global Fellow, Wilson Center, Washington, DC; Department of Political Science and International Relations University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
So, we are active in your country. And there is more to come…
Orville Schell, the director of the Centre on US-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York, also noted that China’s forceful campaign had stoked suspicions about visiting academics. …. Schell said he was working with a group of about 20 prominent China specialists in the US on a broad-ranging research project about China’s influence operations.
“The effect on American think tanks so far has been limited, but as Chinese philanthropy and Chinese money seek to support universities, think tanks, civil society and NGOs, there will be more influence. There is clearly some interference in our internal affairs, which is not helpful,” he said.Caught in the crossfire: Chinese-Americans feel the heat as tensions flare, By Shi Jiantao, South China Morning Post, 25 September, 2018
But does that even move you? Do you even care about what we are doing in your country?
If you do try to engage our students, you should also know that they are being watched. Monitored. Pressured.
Some Chinese students, American faculty members, and human rights activists believe Chinese students and faculty sometimes spy on other Chinese students—and, to a lesser extent, American professors. I spoke to a Chinese Ph.D. graduate of a U.S. university. She told me that a classmate approached her when she was a graduate student at a Chinese university in 2008 and asked if she wanted to work for him in China’s Ministry of State Security. “He knew that I had an offer to an American university and asked if I’d like to ‘acquire a second stipend.’ ” She said that she politely declined.The Other Political Correctness, By ISAAC STONE FISH, The New Republic, September 4, 2018
Chinese intelligence agents also work with the United Front Work Department to recruit students who are then called on to curtail universities’ discussion of China.
China targets students through 142 Chinese Students and Scholars Associations (CSSA) in the United States.
The associations “routinely coordinate with the Chinese government and … have been involved in the suppression of free speech and the harassment, intimidation, and surveillance of Chinese student activists,” the report said, noting “Chinese intelligence officers posted in diplomatic facilities are the primary point of contact for CSSA members.”Chinese Communist Party Funds Washington Think Tanks, By Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon, August 24, 2018
With increasingly large concentrations of students at American Universities, China is seeking to export its surveillance system abroad. It is setting up party cells at American universities. China actively polices Chinese students studying under party-state scholarships, including scholarships offered through Chinese Students and Scholars Associations (CSSAs), and encourages them to report on their fellow Chinese-nationals who fail to support the party line in discussions in American classrooms or openly disagree with party actions on American campuses.How China Controls Its Citizens, by E. John Gregory, National Interest, August 22, 2018
And we appreciate that your universities look the other way…
There is an epidemic of self-censorship at U.S. universities on the subject of China, one that limits debate and funnels students and academics away from topics likely to offend the Chinese Communist Party. This epidemic stems less from the hundreds of millions of dollars Chinese individuals and the Chinese Communist Party spend in U.S. universities, or the influx of students from mainland China—roughly 350,000 in the United States, up more than fivefold from a decade ago. Rather, it is that some people in American academia, too eager to please Beijing or too fearful of offending China and the Chinese people, have submitted to a sophisticated global censorship regime. This weakens not only their scholarship and integrity, but also their negotiating power with Beijing over issues such as access for research, conferences and other academic collaborations, and joint programs between American and Chinese institutions.The Other Political Correctness, By ISAAC STONE FISH, The New Republic, September 4, 2018
Money, money, money!
So, if you do try to engage our students, expect you will not make the universities happy. They will continue to try to silence you…
We’re currently raising a crop of collegians whose regard for free speech — and, likely, other valued freedoms — can only be regarded as provisional. And perilous, inasmuch as the accommodation of interests and identities, rather than the triumph of one or two over 500 different ones, is the difference between the United States of America and the Russian empire of Czar Vladimir I.
“My way or the highway” is, increasingly, the rule of political thumb in modern society. Secularists, to the extent they can, airbrush Christianity from the American canvas.Where Did All the Unity Go?, By William Murchison, Real Clear Politics, September 11, 2018
And they are pretty good at keeping you quiet because you
don’t understand the advantage you have in America’s story war.
So, Will You Engage Our Students?
We’re curious. Will you listen to this famous apologist of yours?…
Befriend a foreign student. Each year, thousands of the very top students leave their homelands and come to the United States to study. And do you know what? We have heard many times that these students expect someone to tell them about Christianity, about Jesus. They are usually very far away from home and family, and any hospitality and kindness you can show them is a treasured gift to them. Include them during the Holidays when the universities are empty, or just invite them for a meal. Buy them a Christian evangelistic book and perhaps a Gospel of John and give it to them. The next time you get together, they may want to ask you questions. Many students who have contact with Christian families become Christians during their stay in the U.S. When these students return to their countries, they assume roles of leadership in their nations. They may open the doors to missionaries and Christian influences. This is a mission field at your doorstep, and you have no idea of the impact your ministry in their lives might have!On Being a World Christian, By William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith
And will you treat them with the respect they deserve?
Show them hospitality?
Show them love? After all, look what your Colson guy wrote about how to engage people you regard as your enemies…
Make every effort to reach out in love to Muslims.Charles Colson, My Final Word
Will you pay attention to Pope John Paul II?…
Love, for Karol Wojtyla, was the truth at the very center of the human condition, and love always meant self-giving, not self-assertion.George Weigel, Witness to Hope
And you can engage them with the two simple story questions…
Which story are we in?
Who are we, here in the story?
You see, just like you Americans, Chinese students are into story…
Foreign visitors to China (including myself) are often surprised to find that twentysomething Chinese are more up-to-date on U.S. films and television shows than many young Americans.Big Brother Is Creating Two Chinas, By Adam Minter, Bloomberg, September 25, 2018
The ability to tease apart American foreign policy from its culture, with an emphasis on the latter in forming impressions, appears particularly strong among China’s young. A 2016 Pew survey found that 60 percent of Chinese age 18-to-34 have a favorable view of the United States, compared to just 35 percent of those over 50. And a 2009 survey of Chinese under 25 years old found that “Hollywood” was the term that they most commonly associated with the United States.
“These young people are very pragmatic, even utilitarian people,” said Suisheng Zhao, a University of Denver professor who researches Chinese politics and nationalism. “They have much more information, more resources, more education, and they love American culture, music, sports, and movies. A lot of them even want to go to the U.S.”Why’s Beijing So Worried About Western Values Infecting China’s Youth?, By Eric Fish, ChinaFile, February 4, 2017
I will forever be impacted by the extraordinary lens through which the Chinese people view Hollywood. I have a fresh understanding of how deeply American films connect with the Chinese audience, affecting their culture, inspiring their dreams, and shaping their beliefs as they adopt the values emanating from these films—films that are creating a whole new generation of filmmakers who aspire to “make it in Hollywood.”“This Is Our Shirley Temple!” February 9th, 2017 by Dan Rupple
And their love for movies and television from Hollywood is a serious potential problem for us…
Gao says that the Chinese generation born in the ’80s and ’90s came of age amid a clash between traditional collectivist culture and the emergence of individualism. In this atmosphere, Hollywood characters have provided young people a basis on which to interrogate their own identities that isn’t often found in state-sanctioned sources.
“Growing up we were taught to obey,” Gao said. “It’s written all over the political discourse and goes down to the very cultural fabric of society: We value conformity and harmony. But at the same time, economic development is arousing this neoliberal ideal: You must be independent and autonomous—you’re on your own now.”
In research Gao conducted with university students in Beijing, she found that Hollywood themes of spontaneity, nonconformity, and self-realization particularly resonated with young Chinese fans of American TV. “While many students applaud misfits, oddballs, or otherwise unconventional figures on US TV, what seems to have more forcefully struck a chord is the image of a ‘challenger,’” she wrote. “Someone who fights against powerful social establishment or authority.”Why’s Beijing So Worried About Western Values Infecting China’s Youth?, By Eric Fish, ChinaFile, February 4, 2017
McKee is right about the power of story. And that makes us nervous.
And we sense this guy sees something about us…
At the same time, American strategists will have to counter–to include by lampooning – China’s relentless psychological warfare, which attempts to project an image of power that is beyond China’s realities. The greatest danger of Sun Tzu-like thinking lies precisely in its reliance on deception; and if history teaches us anything, it is that those who believe most in the power of fooling others are eventually fooled themselves, particularly by those they understand as naive of gullible. That fact, coupled with the infectious nature of America’s core political warfare capability – the lure of its freedoms and securities of life, liberty, and property, on the one hand, and the undeniable realities of corruption, cover-up, and abuse of power by the Chinese Communist Party – mean that even on Sun Tzu’s home turf, so to speak, the United States can play a winning hand.Eliot A. Cohen, The Big Stick
But, this is also why we’re so grateful you Christians in America keep pushing away the reality that, if Christianity is the story we are in, then your God is the Great Storyteller.
Just stay in that minimalist corner, and we’ll be fine.
But, there is something most of you don’t know about. So,
let me give you a little bit of info about it, so you will reveal even more
what you really want, here in the story.
Ask Our Students About the Uighurs
So, we’d like to deepen our treasure test offer to you.
Because, it looks like there is actually a way for you to reopen the conversation via engaging our students in relation to this reality…
China’s crackdown on ethnic Uighurs in the western part of the country includes a vast network of at least 124 concentration camps along with scores of labor camps and prisons, according to a dissident Uighur group.
U.S. officials say there are also indications that China is expanding the use of the concentration camps in Xinjiang Province where at least 1 million people are being held, and as many as 3 million are part of a forced “reeducation” program by the Chinese government.
Researchers with the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement, a relatively new Uighur independence group, discovered the new camps during a nine-month open source intelligence gathering project that utilized commercial satellite images and reports people in the region.
The camps are part of a Chinese Communist Party program to snuff out independence movements and any opposition to Beijing rule using mass incarceration and forced ideological indoctrination.Network of Chinese Concentration Camps for Uighurs Uncovered, By Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon, July 15, 2019
One million Muslims are being held right now in Chinese internment camps, according to estimates cited by the UN and U.S. officials. Former inmates—most of whom are Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority—have told reporters that over the course of an indoctrination process lasting several months, they were forced to renounce Islam, criticize their own Islamic beliefs and those of fellow inmates, and recite Communist Party propaganda songs for hours each day. There are media reports of inmates being forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, which are forbidden to Muslims, as well as reports of torture and death.
The sheer scale of the internment camp system, which according to The Wall Street Journal has doubled in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region just within the last year, is mindboggling. The U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China describes it as “the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today.” Beijing began by targeting Uighur extremists, but now even benign manifestations of Muslim identity—like growing a long beard—can get a Uighur sent to a camp, the Journal noted. Earlier this month, when a UN panel confronted a senior Chinese official about the camps, he said there are “no such things as reeducation centers,” even though government documents refer to the facilities that way. Instead, he claimed they’re just vocational schools for criminals.China Is Treating Islam Like a Mental Illness, By SIGAL SAMUEL, The Atlantic, August 28, 2018
It’s hard to know what the Chinese government aims to do with the Uighur people, but we fear the worst. The Uighurs, an ethnic minority in the mineral-rich autonomous Xinjiang region of northwest China, are facing systematic persecution. Chinese security forces harass the largely Muslim ethnic group and wantonly detain individuals and even whole Uighur families.
No one knows how many languish in prison camps; the number is likely in the hundreds of thousands. Chinese authorities, when not denying the existence of the camps, say the surveillance and detention measures are designed to advance “social stability and long-term security.” They hint at Uighur riots and terrorism as justifications for the internment, but it’s unclear which came first.
Since at least 2014, the region’s roughly 12 million Uighurs have been subjected to an elaborate system of biometric scanning, identification, and location tracking. Chinese authorities aggressively follow them in shopping bazaars and other public places while requiring them to declare their religious affiliations, their prayer routines, their travel plans, and much more. Uighurs’ cell phones are often searched for “objectionable” material; if something’s found they will be sent to a camp.Reeducation in China, By THE EDITORS, Weekly Standard, August 31 2018
For many families, the disappearance of a loved one into the camps can be devastating, both emotionally and economically — a point reflected in reports posted online by the party’s “work teams.”
Some of these reports describe Uighur families unable to harvest crops on their own because so many members have been taken away, and one mentioned a mother left to care for five children. In another report, an official near Hotan described holding a village meeting to calm distraught relatives of those sent to the camps.
The mass internments also break Uighur families by forcing members to disown their kin or by separating small children from their parents. So many parents have been detained in Kashgar, a city in western Xinjiang, that it has expanded boarding schools to take custody of older, “troubled” children.
“Whether consciously or unconsciously, authorities in Xinjiang have recognized the power of families as an alternative source of authority,” said Rian Thum, a professor at Loyola University in New Orleans who has followed the detentions. “The kind of extreme party loyalty they want has no room for that.”China Is Detaining Muslims in Vast Numbers. The Goal: ‘Transformation.’, By Chris Buckley, New York Times, September 8, 2018
“The educational goals are secondary to the political goals,” said Timothy Grose, a professor at Indiana’s Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology who has done research on Xinjiang boarding schools. “They aim to dissolve loyalties to ethnic identity… toward a national identity.”
A government notice posted in February in Kashgar states that children in the fourth grade and above with parents in detention must be sent to boarding school immediately — even if one parent is still at home. Students must be instilled with socialist values, the notice said, and be taught to “be grateful for education and love and repay the motherland,” and avoid the “75 types of behavior that show religious extremism.” Such behavior ranges from calling for ‘holy war’ to growing beards and quitting smoking and drinking for religious reasons, the government says.China treats Uighur kids as ‘orphans’ after parents seized, By YANAN WANG and DAKE KANG, Associated Press, September 21, 2018
Ask our students to explain how the treatment of the Uighurs fits into the story of China – and the secular version of the story the Party believes we are in.
And is it also connected with the experience our students are having?
China has built a vast network of extrajudicial internment camps in the western region of Xinjiang, where Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are made to renounce their culture and religion, and are forcibly subjected to political indoctrination. After long denying the camps’ existence, the government now calls them benign training centers that teach law, Mandarin and vocational skills — a claim that has been exposed as a disingenuous euphemism and an attempt to deflect criticism for gross human rights abuses.
But the camps, especially their ambition to rewire people, reveal a familiar logic that has long defined the Chinese state’s relationship with its public: a paternalistic approach that pathologizes deviant thought and behavior, and then tries to forcefully transform them. The scale and pace of the government’s campaign in Xinjiang today may be extraordinary, but the practice and its methods are not.
As far back as the third century BCE, the philosopher Xunzi argued that humanity was like “crooked timber” and that an individual’s character flaws needed to be scraped away or straightened out in the pursuit of social harmony. Mencius, a rival thinker, believed for his part in the innate goodness of human beings, but he too stressed the importance of self-improvement.
In stark contrast to Western liberalism, Confucianism — and Chinese political culture more broadly — hinges not on individual rights, but on the acceptance of social hierarchy and the belief that humans are perfectible. In Chinese thought, humans are not equally endowed; they vary in suzhi (素质), or quality. A poor Uighur farmer in southern Xinjiang, for example, sits at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder; an official from the ethnic Han majority is toward the top.Mind Control in China Has a Very Long History, By James Leibold, New York Times, November 28, 2018
Do you see how that brings to the surface the simple story question?…
Who are we, here in the story?
And ask them — if the Party treats the Uiguhrs in such a way, why are they worthy of governing other human beings in China? Is it because of who you believe we are, here in the story?
And does that fit with what they want, here in the story?
We’re telling you about this because we want to know what you really want, here in the story.
Because by engaging the Party’s undefended space, you could put serious pressure on the Party to back off from what they are doing to the Uighurs.
Western journalists and U.S. officials have begun to shame Beijing over its outrageous treatment of the Uighurs. Florida senator Marco Rubio has urged Treasury to sanction seven Chinese officials and two companies for their association with the detention camps in Xinjiang. In July, Vice President Mike Pence spoke in fierce opposition to China’s oppression of the Uighurs, reminding listeners at a State Department event that “Beijing is holding hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions, of Uighur Muslims in so-called ‘reeducation camps,’ where they’re forced to endure around-the-clock political indoctrination and to denounce their religious beliefs and their cultural identity.”
That’s the right approach, and more of it is needed. If Beijing persists in its crimes against a suffering people, it should be forced to do so in the full light of day.Reeducation in China, By THE EDITORS, Weekly Standard, August 31 2018
And if the universities try to silence your engagement, it shines a spotlight on the silencing which is going on in the United States.
And that should encourage you, because, remember this essential reality…
What is a story, precisely? The essential core event in all stories ever told in the history of humanity can be expressed in just three words: Conflict changes life. Therefore, the prime definition becomes: a dynamic escalation of conflict-driven events that cause meaningful change in a character’s life.Storynomics, By Robert McKee and Tom Gerace
And this conflict could bring to surface the simple story questions…
China is the world’s oldest living civilization and America is the youngest. How does a new civilization come to be in the first place? It must graft itself onto an older civilization. The American principle is that each individual is sacred, and therefore sovereign, with equal protection under the law and an equal say in governance. Ancient Israel is the wellspring of the American imagination, as I argued in a lecture to the Heritage Foundation in 2016.
If China’s national epic is the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, America’s national epic is the King James Version of the Hebrew Bible. America was founded by dissenting Protestants for whom the history of Israel was a map to salvation. It was envisioned by English political theorists who projected a “Hebrew Republic” out of biblical as well as later rabbinic sources, at a time when the Jews had not yet returned to England after their 14th Century banishment, and the Jews were a tiny, scattered and apparently insignificant people.Letter to Chinese Friends: We Really Are Different, BY DAVID P. GOLDMAN, PJ Media, OCTOBER 22, 2018
So, if you want to reopen the conversation in America and make an effort to rescue the Uighurs from the horror they are experiencing, the opportunity is there.
And we sense that the Colson guy, if he was still around, would encourage you to get in the game…
There is a sharp division within Christian ranks on the roots of religious freedom and how it’s interpreted. Seamus Hasson of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty takes an anthropological position; that is, every human being is entitled to have his or her religious rights protected, which is why the Becket Fund will defend Muslims as quickly as they’ll defend Christians.
Other Christian groups believe that Christians are only required to protect the religious rights of Christians and we shouldn’t have anything to do with defending the religious rights of others.
I fall into the first camp. Our national creed, which to me is the opening of the Declaration of Independence, makes it very clear that all men are created equal. So I’m willing to defend the rights of other people’s beliefs, even when I think they’re fundamentally wrong. This, to me, is the very heart of the definition of tolerance in American life.Charles Colson, My Final Word
And if you want to help rescue your democracy from our interference, you can do it.
There you go. We have an undefended space in your country.
So, what will you choose? Will you be loyal to your God and country by engaging our undefended space?
Think about this approach to engagement from your Senator Rubio…
I believe in the promise of free and fair trade, but to defend that principle against an adversary that has broken the rules with impunity, we have to be willing to fight with everything we’ve got — not just tariffs.Marco Rubio: To Fight China on Trade, We Need More Than Tariffs, By MARCO RUBIO, New York Times, MARCH 13, 2018
And what you have is a serious advantage in the story war. But, we doubt you will engage. Instead, we think you will probably stay silent in that minimalist corner…
While many Americans want to cheer for David against Goliath, the scale of the Uyghurs relative to the Chinese government is more analogous to that of an ant against the Empire, with its Death Star and Storm Troopers. Yes, we need to help David. But we should not blindly cheer for David as a way to feel good about ourselves. We should not claim we are taking on David’s cause when we are really just provoking Goliath into crushing David, while we sit here in America safe and sound.Why Americans Should Care About the Uyghurs, by Jennifer S. Bryson, Public Discourse, September 5th, 2018
So, we are taking this risk because we want to know what you really want, here in the story.
Well, and thinking of what Shih Tzu may bring about, this really is our time of choosing…
Individuals, institutions, and governments, in every region of the world – we all have a choice:
We can persist in our malign neglect that consists of three parts: failing to face the problem squarely and to understand the real nature of genocide; failing to recognize we can far more effectively protect hundreds of millions of people and radically reduce mass murder’s incidence; and failing to choose to act on this knowledge.
Or we can focus on this scourge; understand its causes, its nature and complexity, and its scope and systemic quality; and, building upon that understanding, craft institutions and policies that will save countless lives and also lift the lethal threat under which so many people live.
How can we not choose the second?Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Worse Than War
And that is so helpful, because now we’re trying to think ahead about the choices you face as the story unfolds.
So, we really want to know what you will choose. Because if you stay in that minimalist corner and just push it away, then we think we can persuade the Central Military Commission to turn away from Shih Tzu.
And maybe, just maybe we can avoid a catastrophe of world wide proportions.