New Spy Novel Exposes Chinese Espionage and Cultural Warfare

November 2, 2020 Updated: November 2, 2020

As the author of “Faces Tell All,” which exposes Chinese facial surveillance as a possible tool of espionage, I was struck by the timeliness of your sample edition, which contained no fewer than six articles dealing with China and the challenges it poses.

These challenges, as many now realize, include an all-out Chinese push for domination in both economic and political spheres, as its central, totalitarian government control confers huge advantages over its adversaries.

Indeed, the Chinese have instituted a centrally directed, aggressive policy of Zou Chuqu (“Going Out”) since 1994, which entails educational, scientific, cultural, and trade outreach as an instrument of state power, including espionage through coordination with its Intelligence Ministry, the MSS.

For the novel, I researched surveillance technology to imagine a face-reading phone app, originally intended for civilian use, that could read not only identity but also health status and mental state of subjects by consumers, corporations, or governments.

Equally important: “Faces Tell All” demonstrates how certain agencies could wield the cultural weapon of manipulated imagery in print media, TV, movies, videos, and documentaries—thereby fully exploiting the indispensable power of facial imagery in human communication.

Your articles amply illustrate how such propaganda warfare can be used by the Chinese government to suppress or “reform” minorities and cultural institutions in its crosshairs.

Thank you for your comprehensive and relevant coverage of world events.


Dr. Philip Wolfson

New Jersey