LOS ANGELES—That the Chinese embassies and consulates monitor and control Chinese students and scholars outside China has long been an open secret. Because nearly all the Chinese students and scholars from the early days were sponsored by the Chinese regime, the Chinese embassies and consulates worldwide became their superiors.
In fact, many Chinese businesses outside China are also monitored by the local Chinese embassies and consulates. Following the June 4 Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, the Chinese embassies and consulates once lost their control over the Chinese Students and Scholars Associations (CSSAs), but for the past few years they have been gradually tightening their grip again.
In 1996, I was the President of the Caltech-Chinese Association at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), as well as the Acting Director and the Student Representative of the Alliance of Chinese-American Groups in the U.S. During my post, I did a lot of things for the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles that I am now ashamed of. At the time, nearly all the Chinese students' activities in southern California were organized by me and a college classmate of mine under the orders of the Chinese consulate in L.A. I was quite well known among the Chinese community in L.A.
I know very well about how the Chinese Consulate in L.A. monitors and controls the Chinese students and scholars. I hope that my personal experience will be a lesson to those Chinese students and scholars who continue to follow the footsteps of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
'Students Did Not Know'
I would like to tell everyone why some Chinese students seek the position of the president of the CSSA. Although some Chinese students sincerely wish to help fellow overseas Chinese students, most of them aim to use the CSSA to serve their personal ambition.
Take myself as an example. My real motivation for becoming the president of the Caltech Chinese Association was to become rich. I knew this position would make me known to a lot of people, which would increase my opportunities to make money. For someone like me who did not have a trust fund, rich parents or a powerful family background, the Caltech Chinese Association became the only path to power and wealth. I often appeared using the name of the Caltech Chinese Association, but the majority of the students did not know what I had been doing.
The Chinese students at Caltech weren't aware when I made public statements or speeches "on their behalf" in the name of the Caltech Chinese Association. Of course, when they heard that I made those speeches or statements on the orders of the Chinese consulate, they rarely made any objections. Very few overseas students from China have the audacity to challenge the Chinese embassy or consulate's authority. Doing so would result in disastrous consequences to their family in China or cause trouble when they needed to renew their Chinese passports or take a trip back to China.
Most of the Chinese students join the Caltech Chinese Association to keep contact with fellow Chinese students for social reasons. They have never authorized the CSSA to make any public statements or speeches on their behalf. However, those of us who are committee members of the CSSA often make public speeches or statements in the name of the entire Chinese student community at Caltech in newspapers, radio, and TV.
Leaders of Chinese Organizations Unreliable
I would like to explain why the Chinese embassies and consulates want to use committee members of the CSSAs. Once an educational envoy at the Chinese Consulate in L.A. confessed that he had never trusted any leader of the local Chinese organization and that he would only trust overseas Chinese students.
Assuring security is a particular concern for the Chinese regime. Take Katrina Leung as an example (aka Man Ying Chan, Wen Ying Chen or Luo Zhongshan). She was arrested in 2003 for passing U.S. secrets to China. The Chinese consulate made arrangements for Katrina Leung to be one of the top leaders in the Chinese community in Los Angeles. Even Jiang Zemin, former Chairman of the CCP, claimed she was most reliable when he visited Los Angeles. However, the truth is that the Chinese consulate had been guarding against her and suspected that Katrina Leung had been working as a double agent.
Overseas Chinese organizations are mostly phony. There are only a handful of people who have power and fame. In addition, these so-called mainland Chinese community leaders in the U.S. often play political games with each other for self-interest. Actually, they are familiar with American society and the U.S. law. They pledge loyalty to the Chinese consulate, but they don't always follow the consulate's orders. They are not as gullible as students; many of them have been putting on a show in front of the Chinese consulate. Especially on the issue of Falun Gong, the majority of these Chinese community leaders know that the CCP is telling a pack of lies about Falun Gong, but they are driven by self-interest to act against their conscience and tell lies for the CCP.
Many folks in L.A. told me secretly that they are actually sympathetic towards Falun Gong. Even Katrina Leung told me once that she believed, based on information she got from top leaders of the CCP in China, that the persecution of Falun Gong will end sooner or later. After Katrina Leung was arrested, Mr. Man Ching Law (or Mr. Kent Law), the President of the Alliance of Chinese American Groups in the USA, made himself a new leader of the Chinese community in Los Angeles. Law told me once that in Los Angeles that he does not approve of the way China treats Falun Gong, but he does not think he, as an American citizen, should interfere with China's domestic administration.
Nowadays more and more Chinese community leaders confess to me what they really think. Last year, a leader of the Chinese community in Los Angeles who often spoke on behalf of the CCP and slandered Falun Gong in public made an announcement at a public rally withdrawing from the CCP and its affiliated organizations. These are a few examples that illustrate why the Chinese consulate does not trust Chinese community leaders. With this in mind, it becomes apparent why the Chinese consulate works hard on deceiving and manipulating mainland Chinese students.
Manipulating Student Elections
I would like to explain how the Chinese consulates monitor and control overseas Chinese students. It is mainly through the committee members of the CSSAs that they control overseas Chinese students. The Chinese consulate controls students by providing funds and manipulating the CSSAs' agendas and CSSA committee elections and activities.
To my knowledge, all the CSSAs receive funds from the Chinese embassies or consulates. When a CSSA applies for funding, the Chinese consulate will ask to meet with the CSSA committee, who will make a report. The CSSA's agendas must be reviewed by the Chinese embassy or consulate first. For example, the CSSA at Columbia University specifies on its official website that its constitution has been reviewed by the Chinese Consulate General in New York.
To prevent the CSSA from escaping its grasp, the Chinese consulates would have the CSSA committee elections held within a small group of students. Take the CSSA at Columbia University as an example. Its constitution stipulates that "The President shall be elected by the Working Committee and Executive Panel members" and that "The new President shall be responsible for the construction of the new Working Committee." This way the Chinese consulate will ensure its control of the CSSA. The CSSA is practically a miniature of the political system in China.
The majority of the Chinese students are not allowed to vote for the President or Working Committee of the CSSA. The overseas Chinese students in the U.S. resent this type of totalitarian administration. Therefore, some CSSAs began to have real democratic elections, which enraged the Chinese consulate.
Take Caltech as an example. The Chinese students refused to use the title of CSSA, which the Chinese consulate had given the organization. In addition, they started holding an open election to choose its committee. Students from Hong Kong and Taiwan were elected as the president of the Caltech Chinese student association. The Chinese consulate in Los Angeles was very disturbed. They once told me, "Your school is difficult to control."
In order to use the names of Chinese students, the Chinese consulate in L.A. summoned a few Chinese students they trusted and established the CSSA-US Southwest in an attempt to "represent" all the CSSAs in the region. But it was an act on the part of the Chinese consulate without any approval of the Chinese students in the region. Very few Chinese students cooperated.
When I read the news that the CSSA at NYU started an on-line petition to boycott the New Tang Dynasty TV's International Chinese Classical Dance Competition, my first instinct was that this petition must have been a propaganda effort launched by the Chinese consulate at the expense of the CSSA at NYU to deceive the majority of Chinese students in the U.S.
FBI Watches CSSAs
Communism is condemned in the United States, so the CSSAs' active members become the FBI's main targets for surveillance. At a party to celebrate the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997 I met with FBI agents for the first time. As a security coordinator, I met with FBI agents who had come to "support" the event.
At the time I thought FBI agents were mysterious. Little did I expect that I would receive the first phone call from the FBI about a year later. I was very nervous. I agreed to meet with the FBI at a restaurant. The FBI agent asked me directly why I had not shown up for about a year and what I had been doing. I told the FBI agent that I had just started to practice Falun Gong and had benefited a lot from its cultivation practice. I no longer wished to be consumed by the pursuit of wealth or fame. I told him that all I want is to become a better person and not to be involved in any political activity. I also introduced briefly the cultivation principles of Falun Gong to him.
That was when I suddenly realized that I had been on the FBI's watch list for a long time. Apparently this FBI agent had little interest in Falun Gong, a name unfamiliar to him, because the CCP had not started to persecute Falun Gong at the time. Even individual officials from the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles asked to learn Falun Gong.
The FBI agent was more interested in the situation of the incumbent president of the Caltech Chinese Association, as well as the president of Tianjin overseas association.(I was the vice president of the latter organization, but I no longer participated in any of its activities.) During the conversation, I learned that FBI has been watching active members of these Chinese student associations and leaders of the Chinese community in the U.S.
Today's people in China, especially those who just came out of China, are unfamiliar with genuine Chinese history. Many of them regard as the genuine Chinese culture what is written in the Chinese history books that have been altered by the CCP. As a result, they dismiss thousands of years of Chinese civilization and consider legitimate the CCP's totalitarian rule.
Yet it is the CCP that has destroyed the genuine Chinese culture in the name of patriotism while committing all sorts of crimes against the Chinese people to satisfy its selfish needs. To pull away the dark veil covering the land of China and to have the Chinese people be proud of our ancient civilization and traditional Chinese manners, we must first eradicate the evil Chinese Communist Party, as well as the poisonous ideology it has forced into the minds of the Chinese people.