The 5G Cold War Heats Up

The new arms race between China and the US
March 7, 2019 Updated: March 7, 2019

In Norse mythology, the one-eyed god Odin saw all of the daily events of mankind when he sat on his throne each night, listening to the reports from his two ravens—Thought and Memory—with one raven whispering the activities it saw, while the other explained their meaning.

In 2019, China believes it’s a dozen years away from achieving the technological equivalent of Odin’s all-world vision in gaining knowledge of human activities, no matter how mundane or scattered, in near real-time.

To cast the widespread data net, China will need to control the fifth generation (5G) telecommunications infrastructure that will become ubiquitous in connecting the world over the next five years. To that end, China announced plans to invest more than $220 billion in 5G by 2025 to achieve that goal, according to China Daily.

Today, 5G is the focal point of the superpowers vying for global supremacy. 5G underpins the new cold war, replacing the Soviet nuclear arms race with information warfare on an electromagnetic spectrum.

At the center of the push is China’s global telecom leader Huawei, which has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government “to challenge the defense spending bill that blocks executive agencies from using its telecommunications equipment,” as reported in the New York Times.

That’s one way to amplify the fierce competition in trying to become the builder of 5G networks and commercialize them throughout the world.

‘Unrestricted Digital Warfare’

China’s scorched-earth approach to global hegemony has roots in its doctrine of unrestricted warfare, set out in a book of the same name. Written by a pair of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) colonels in 1999, it maps 26 warfare domains that cover the spectrum from military and trans-military, such as network and smuggling warfare, to non-military warfare in trade, media, and finance, among other areas of destabilization.

By observing the U.S. military’s tactics and smart weapons used in the First Gulf War, the PLA colonels discovered that information is the linchpin to achieving total and swift victory.

“The PLA spent more than a decade examining U.S. military publications on network-centric warfare and the evolution of American doctrine on information warfare … In the Balkans and the first Gulf War, the PLA saw the effect of modern information operations on the battlefield and in the international arena,” wrote Larry M. Wortzel in a 2014 U.S. Army War College report, “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army and Information Warfare.”

If Wortzel updated his report today, he would expand on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) triple warfare used against the Uyghurs. Key in taking over Xinjiang Province, home to 12 million indigenous people, the CCP used the unholy trinity of legal, public opinion, and psychological warfares. The end result has been an effective media blackout and muting of public sentiment on crimes against humanity, even in the Muslim world.

Uyghur 5G Warfare Lab

Since 2017, China has erected concentration camps, where it has imprisoned more than one million of the ethnic minority, stripping them of their human rights and religious identity. Thousands of dissidents have disappeared. But the real tool for total domination comes with the pervasive spying built on 5G-wireless networks that have digitally enslaved Uyghurs who aren’t in the camps.

Every minute of every day, the Uyghurs are tracked by their smartphones and followed around the towns and cities by thousands of facial-recognition cameras. They are scanned, searched, and questioned at checkpoints. The police take their DNA samples and biometric prints, while inspecting mobile apps and photos on their smartphones for illegal content. The stream of information is then transmitted to databases for actionable intelligence.

Why is arid, dusty Xinjiang so important to the CCP’s plans?

It sits on the footprint of the old Silk Road. Soon, the fabled land will bridge Pakistan in China’s Belt and Road Initiative to trade routes to the Mid-East and Europe. The goal is to cut out the United States and its Western European allies from the new commerce paradigm. Beyond building conduits and transport lines, China’s 5G networks will track shipments and supply chains, measure workers’ productivity, and make sure no person or Belt Road partner falls out of line with the CCP vision or policies.

Can China Be Trusted With 5G?

With download speeds that will be 200 times faster than 4G technology, 5G will deploy artificial intelligence (AI) on data gathered from hundreds of billions of sensors embedded in people, devices, kiosks, cameras, robots, machines, transactions, and blockchain ledgers and contracts. 5G-AI will empower machine-to-machine communication for autonomous drones, vehicles, and weapons, transforming the analog world to all digital on the massive internet of things.

In this hyperconnected future, oceans of data will flow into databases to be analyzed and acted upon in real time.

Despite 5G radiation health risks raised by scores of physicians and scientists, there are three other areas of 5G networks that should concern Western leaders. They are China exporting surveillance, taking advantage of cybersecurity gaps, and implementing military applications.

Standing at the center of the 5G donnybrook is Huawei. Founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, a PLA veteran who came up through the ranks as a military IT researcher, Huawei has been losing the media warfare battle of late.

Huawei is under investigation for the intellectual property theft of the robot used by T-Mobile to test smartphones. The high-profile arrest for alleged sanctions violations of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou, Zhengfei’s daughter and apparent successor, has added to the negative press.

In Huawei’s equipment, there have been accusations of backdoor data dumps to the CCP, while spying on Americans in their homes and workplaces. The potential security gaps need to be examined more deeply.

Take the scenario in which Huawei’s equipment is embedded in everything that is “smart,” from meters and appliances, homes and buildings, to autonomous vehicles and the grids of smart cities. China would be able to shut down any part of the system at any time, including the loss of power to nuclear power plants and hospitals, or allow hackers to penetrate the lives of people or steal the trade secrets of businesses.

Since 5G will be both ground-based and on satellites orbiting the Earth, the PLA would be able to spy on users beyond Huawei’s networks, such as poor countries without telecom infrastructure. The real threat, however, comes in near-future military use of 5G. There, China could disrupt sea, air, and land navigation, unleash machine-command drone warfare, or take out 5G antennae networks or 5G satellites in space.

Gordon Chang, the author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” sat on the panel “21st Century Terminator: How China is Using 5G and AI to Take Over the World” at the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 1, and stated:

“The race for 5G will be determined in the next two to three years and is really going to determine the fate of the world for the first half of this century. And it better not be Huawei, if we want to be free.” (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XThVZcS8sfc, Chang’s panel begins at the seven-hour mark.)

Can China be trusted after casting aside the international law of the sea by building military bases on atolls in the South China Sea? Can China be trusted after subjugating the Uyghurs and other ethnic people for the crime of being themselves? Can Chinese tech companies, such as ZTE and Huawei, be trusted to secure and not abuse your data?

The answers are no, no, and no.

James Grundvig is the author of “Master Manipulator: The Explosive True Story of Fraud, Embezzlement and Government Betrayal at the CDC.” He lives and works in New York City.

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

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