Recent comments from Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) support what The Epoch Times reported more than three years ago, in the article “You’re on File: Exclusive Inside Story on China’s Database of Americans,” published Feb. 26, 2016: The Chinese regime has built a database on Americans, and it is using that database for espionage.
Included in this database are the estimated 23 million records of U.S. federal employees, stolen by Chinese hackers from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The FBI revealed the cyberattack on June 4, 2015.
“They can run through those 23 million names in a heartbeat and connect dots in a heartbeat,” Stewart said at a meeting of the Committee on the Present Danger: China, according to The Washington Free Beacon. Stewart, a former U.S. Air Force B-1 bomber pilot, is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
“Have we seen evidence that they’ve done that? Absolutely,” he said.
In 2016, an insider in China revealed to The Epoch Times that he helped build a database for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that it’s now using to store and use data stolen on Americans. He said this includes the OPM data, and information from other CCP breaches.
Included in the OPM data are evaluations of federal employees for security clearances, which often includes sensitive personal information that a regime such as the CCP could use for blackmail, or other purposes.
According to the insider, the CCP database on Americans is similar in use to its Social Credit System that tracks data on each Chinese citizen, based on almost every trackable element of their lives—including their daily behavior, their connections, and their political stances—and assigns them a score that determines their level of freedom in society.
According to the insider, Chinese spy agencies finished building their system for the database around July 2013.
During the construction of the database system, the CCP brought in a small group of independent software developers from the United States, who worked with Chinese agencies to build and implement the system.
Among the agencies involved, he said, was the 61 Research Institute. The little-known department was under the CCP military’s General Staff Department, Third Department that used to run many of its cyberattack operations (the infamous Unit 61398 was under the Third Department, for example). The CCP has since restructured these operations under its Strategic Support Force.
Another inside source, who formerly worked in a CCP spy agency, revealed details about the 61 Research Institute to The Epoch Times in September 2015. He disclosed that the man in charge of the 61 Research Institute was Maj. Gen. Wang Jianxin, son of Wang Zheng, who was a pioneer of the Chinese Communist Party’s signals intelligence operations under Mao Zedong.
Another son of Wang Zheng was the lieutenant general of the deputy secretary of the CCP Central Guard Bureau, the official guards that protect the Chinese regime’s top leaders at Zhongnanhai. His nephew is Wang Lei Lei, the CEO of one of the top finance companies in China.
The source alleged that, in China, “This family, they control all the communications.”
Recently revealed information helped confirm those claims. It wasn’t until September 2018 that the U.S. government officially confirmed that China was behind the OPM breach. The confirmation was made by White House national security adviser John Bolton.
The source who had disclosed the details on the database on Americans also revealed that, in addition to the 61 Research Institute, various CCP police forces were involved in the program, as well as about six branches of the secret police.
He said the software used by the CCP for the database was originally a big data analytics program for “smart cities.” Among its capabilities were tools to track massive amounts of people, display large records of personal data, and track family members, relations, and background information. Among its key features was its display of data in nodes, which could be sorted and viewed in relation to other data, events, or time frames.
Joshua Philipp is a senior investigative reporter for The Epoch Times.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.