Video: Expert Details China’s Spy Networks in the US

August 18, 2016 Updated: August 23, 2016

Slides for video above.


Espionage, in Hollywood terms, involves agents in tuxedos who brandish high tech surveillance gear and weaponry. For the Chinese Communist Party, however, espionage is conducted in plainer, but more nefarious ways.

On July 28, the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, a nonprofit cybersecurity think tank., held an event in Washington D.C. to explain findings on Chinese espionage detailed in its recent report, “China’s Espionage Dynasty: Economic Death by a Thousand Cuts.” Joshua Philipp, who covers national security for Epoch Times, presented on the overt structure and operations of the Chinese regime’s systems for intelligence gathering and control in the United States and abroad.

Drawing on his earlier reporting and interviews, as well as other news reports and literature, Philipp showed how the Chinese regime exploits the open system of the United States to advance their espionage, which chiefly involves infiltrating overseas Chinese communities or underground groups, then bringing these organizations in line with an overarching “united front.”

Philipp said that two key Communist Party organs, the United Front Department and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, facilitate the Chinese regime’s efforts to govern ethnic Chinese living abroad. “The Chinese Communist Party regards Chinese expats, Chinese immigrants in other countries, and even second and third generation Chinese as part of the Chinese system,” said Philipp.

Thus, Chinese students have been recruited as special agents, and Chinese newspapers that are partial to the regime receive financial support through advertisements from companies in mainland China, Philipp said, citing documents leaked to Epoch Times by Chinese defector and former diplomat Chen Yonglin.

The Chinese regime has also attempted to infiltrate the tongs—the Chinese community groups established by early immigrants to provide support to their countrymen of the same clan or province. Today, these tongs have “extremely large memberships,” according to Philipp.

“If you want to expand the influence of the Chinese Communist Party in foreign countries, this is the easiest way to do it,” Philipp said. “You go to the people who already govern these communities, and give them incentive to act as pseudo communist officials overseas.”

Through the tongs, the Chinese regime then influences foreign politics. Philipp noted that two aides of former New York City Comptroller John Liu, who ran for mayor in 2008, were linked with powerful local tongs, and even Beijing.

Joshua Philipp won a New York Press Association award for best news and feature for a series of reports exposing John Liu’s connections to the Chinese regime.