CCP Successes Are American Failures: Beijing Infiltrates the US Political Class

Part 2 of the 2-part series: What Hath the CCP Wrought?
November 15, 2021 Updated: November 19, 2021

Commentary

Chinese leader Xi Jinping attempted to reinforce the legitimacy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) during a speech on Oct. 25 to commemorate the PRC’s admission to the United Nations 50 years ago.

This is the second of two articles examining the deleterious effects of Western—and particularly U.S.—appeasement of the PRC since the Nixon-Kissinger trip to Shanghai that “opened China” in February 1972. Part 1 focuses on economic, military, and geopolitical results. Part 2 examines Beijing’s infiltration and influence among the U.S. political class.

Background

Despite the increasing belligerence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since Xi came to power in 2012, as well as increasing evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was engineered at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, accommodationists and appeasers in the United States and elsewhere are adamant about a return to “business as usual” with the Chinese communists (ChiComs).

Can the Biden administration keep its fingers in the dike and maintain Trump-era tariffs and other measures intended to protect the United States against predatory CCP practices? Or will it succumb to the pressures of U.S. business interests, globalists, and the CCP, and return to status quo ante 2017? Me thinks the CCP will get that for which it has paid, for the U.S. political class is in China’s sphere of influence.

It could easily be argued that a tougher and more clear-headed U.S. policy aimed at the Chinese regime—one that embraced the reality that the CCP cannot be changed by peaceful means or that communist China cannot be magically integrated with the world economy—would have precluded much, if not most, of those destructive results from happening. Certainly, the world’s collective response to CCP aggression over the past several decades would have been much stronger under decisive U.S. leadership.

But that was not to be, as the CCP began priming the pump with a few strategic investments in the U.S. political class for which the ChiComs have received massive benefits over the past 50 years.

The bribery costs to the CCP over time have been minuscule compared to the benefits gained, for the ChiComs are now using our money (a trade surplus monthly record with the United States in October and billions of dollars of foreign direct investments in China), our intellectual property (economic espionage), and our markets (access without strings attached) to achieve their world domination goals.

China’s Infiltration of the US Political Class Begins

The corrosive effect of the CCP’s corruption of the U.S. political class since 1972 is perhaps even more important than the economic, military, and geopolitical results summarized in Part 1 of this series, for that corruption enabled all of those pernicious results.

Chinese political manipulation of U.S. politicians began with former President Richard Nixon and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. In the case of these two, the leverage was giving them diplomatic prestige for spearheading the rapprochement with China—which was quite a shock to most Americans at the time, who were generally hostile to communists of any variety.

The Chinese were to learn in the coming years that much more effective leverage could be used to achieve their ends in the United States: bribery and the use of all manner of bought-and-paid-for influence agents within the U.S. political class. The ChiComs really understood this leverage.

Epoch Times Photo
President Richard Nixon toasts with Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai in Beijing during Nixon’s official visit to China in 1972. (AFP/Getty Images)

‘Chinagate’

The year 1996 was a good example of CCP influence in the American political system.

Beijing allegedly invested nearly $100 million to pay for direct and indirect influence in the 1996 presidential and congressional elections, according to intelligence community estimates at the time.

From a 2015 report: “Chinagate aka Commercegate is the most serious scandal in U.S. history. It involves the transfer of America’s most sensitive technology, including but not limited to nuclear missile and satellite technology, possibly in exchange for millions of dollars in contributions to the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election effort and the Democratic National Committee.”

Besides money allegedly funneled to President Bill Clinton’s campaign by Chinese-American bundlers, some of the money also went via cut-outs to the campaigns of chairmen of key committees in Congress that affected U.S. policies with China.

One key result was that U.S. Commerce Department export rules were loosened to allow the exportation of key U.S. technologies that fueled the modernization of the Chinese military during the 1990s and beyond, as mentioned in Part I of this series.

Beijing’s investments in U.S. politicians always come with strings attached. Here is a short list of what China received under the Clinton administration:

  • A “strategic partnership” that set the tone for various technology transfers to China.
  • The loss of American manufacturing jobs that were transferred to China as a result of Executive Order 12850, which removed Most-Favored-Nation status reviews from Congress to the White House.
  • Advanced missile technology transfers that destroyed the U.S. strategic advantage.
  • A satellite launch waiver that allowed China to launch a Loral Space and Communications satellite, ultimately giving away missile and satellite technology to the ChiComs that led to near-parity with the United States in a single generation.

Lucrative Business Ties With China

Below are a few noteworthy examples of politicians (and their families) who have private business interests in China:

  • Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.): Second most powerful woman in Congress and ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Her husband, Richard Blum, has lucrative business ties with China. In August, details surfaced about Feinstein’s long-time driver/aide/office manager, who was suspected of being a Chinese spy.
  • Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): The Democrat Speaker of the House. Her husband Paul has had long-time multi-million dollar business dealings with the Chinese.
  • Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): The Senate Minority Leader and married to Elaine Chao (former Transportation Secretary under the Trump administration). Both are soft on China. The Transportation Department Inspector General refused to investigate Secretary Chao for ethics concerns about her favoritism to her relatives’ businesses in China.
  • John Kerry: Biden’s “Climate Czar” and former Democrat presidential candidate. Kerry invested $1 million in a Chinese private equity firm, which has “invested in a tech company blacklisted for human rights abuses but is also a major shareholder in a solar panel company linked to labor abuses of the Uyghurs,” according to The Washington Free Beacon.
  • Hunter Biden (Biden’s son) and Chris Heinz (Kerry’s stepson): These sons of top Democrats inked a deal through the Bank of China for a billion-dollar joint investment venture in 2013. Was the CCP buying influence from their fathers?
  • Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): The Vice President of the United States. Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff, is a senior partner at DLA Piper, which has extensive dealings with China.

Biden Giveaways to China

An astonishing number of Biden’s political appointees have been compromised through past ties with the Chinese regime, as summarized here. Given his selection of pro-Beijing appointees, is Biden a “patsy” of the CCP, as suggested here? Is Beijing receiving direct payback for its “investments”? The CCP is reaping an incredible reward for decades of infiltrating the U.S. political class, with the giveaways by the Biden administration perhaps being the icing on the cake.

The giveaways include some of the following:

  • Kowtowing to CCP hostage diplomacy in the release of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou.
  • Cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline (playing into Chinese growing green industry).
  • Facilitating the Chinese regime’s involvement in the U.S. power grid.
  • Continuing public support for the failed ‘one-China’ policy.
  • Appointment of a pro-China ambassador to the United Nations.
  • Revocation of a ban on CCP propaganda in U.S. universities.
  • Calling CCP genocide a “cultural norm.
  • Using a CCP sympathizer to oversee the review of Trump-era China policies.
  • Dropping prosecutions of Chinese nationals accused of espionage.
  • Giving the CCP a pass on the origins of COVID-19 through a politicized report from the U.S. intel community.
Epoch Times Photo
Chinese leader Xi Jinping virtually addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 21, 2021. (Spencer Platt/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Those modest investments by the CCP have been paid back in spades. No wonder the Chinese regime still enjoys “a permanent most-favored-nation trade status” with the United States. No wonder the U.S. Commerce Department’s Commerce Control List has been watered down to enable the Chinese shopping spree of cutting-edge dual-use technologies. No wonder the Biden administration responses to Uyghur genocide, the absorption of Hong Kong, and the intimidation of Taiwan and other nations on China’s periphery have been so tepid. And all of this while the Chinese military is constructing silhouettes in the sand of U.S. Navy ships for target practice in the Ruoqiang region in central China. Are the U.S. actions to date a repeat of Joseph Stalin’s appeasement of Adolf Hitler right up until the day that the German Army invaded Russia in June 1941?

Conclusion

This two-part series examined the economic, military, and geopolitical benefits that have accrued to the CCP in the decades since China was “opened” to the United States and the international system in 1972. While the original intent of that misguided policy was to have persuaded the Chinese regime to mitigate its belligerence and hostility, and to become more democratic and responsive to the Chinese people and others over time, the result has been virtually the opposite. The policy was naive from the beginning and nothing more than a green light that generated increasingly one-sided demands from the CCP, culminating in the bellicose pronouncements of Xi Jinping, wolf warrior Chinese diplomats, and state-run Chinese media over the last eight years.

Along the way, the appeasers among the U.S. political class gained careers, wealth, and fame; while the Chinese regime became the second-largest economy in the world, produced the world’s largest navy, continued the practice of genocide on domestic minority groups, intimidated its neighbors, exploited COVID-19 for economic gain, and developed a space exploration capability where none had previously existed—all through bribery, coerced tech transfer, mercantilism, and espionage. These are hardly the actions of a peaceful and democratic member of the world’s family of nations.

Read Part 1 here.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Stu Cvrk
Stu Cvrk retired as a captain after serving 30 years in the U.S. Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. Through education and experience as an oceanographer and systems analyst, Cvrk is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received a classical liberal education that serves as the key foundation for his political commentary.