Dissident reveals up to 18,000 Americans recruited as Chinese agents
Beijing’s spy networks in the United States include up to 25,000 Chinese intelligence officers and more than 15,000 recruited agents who have stepped up offensive spying activities since 2012, according to a Chinese dissident with close ties to Beijing’s military and intelligence establishment.
Guo Wengui, a billionaire businessman who broke with the regime several months ago, said in an interview that he has close ties to the Ministry of State Security (MSS), the civilian intelligence service, and the military spy service of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
“I know the Chinese spy system very, very well,” Guo said, speaking through an interpreter, in his first American interview. “I have information about very minute details about how it operates.”
Guo said he learned about Chinese spy activities from Ma Jian, a former MSS vice minister, and Ji Shengde, former PLA military intelligence chief.
Ma was director of MSS’s No. 8 Bureau, in charge of counterintelligence against foreign targets—including diplomats, businessmen, and reporters—until he was swept up in a Beijing power struggle in December 2015. He was expelled from the Communist Party and imprisoned in January.
Guo said Ma was imprisoned because he had uncovered details of corruption by China’s highest-ranking anti-corruption official, Wang Qishan.
In May, two senior Chinese security officials traveled to the United States as part of a bid to pressure Guo into keeping silent, and not disclosing secrets about corruption among senior Chinese officials, as well as details of the intelligence activities.
The two officials, Sun Lijun, vice minister of the Public Security Ministry, and an aide, Liu Yanpang, also tried to convince Trump administration officials to forcibly repatriate Guo back to China amid claims of corruption.
Over the past several months Guo, who also uses the name Miles Kwok, began posting lengthy videos on Twitter and YouTube disclosing what he knows about Chinese corruption and intelligence activities.
One of the more explosive disclosures during an interview involve Wang, current head of the Chinese government’s anti-corruption campaign and a member of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee, the collective dictatorship that rules China.
According to Guo, Wang secretly invested in California real estate since the late 1980s and has turned $30 million in purchases of 111 properties into an estimated $2 to $3 billion today.
Guo says he plans to detail Wang’s U.S. investments in a video to be published next week. The residences include homes and apartments in Washington and Bethesda in the east, and in California in Los Angeles, San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, San Carlos, and San Francisco. The video also shows a series of mansions owned by Wang family members in Saratoga, Calif. In total the residences cost $12 million and are worth some $30 million today.
One neighborhood in California of 14 houses owned by Wang or his relatives has been fitted with special underground silos that are used to store jewelry and documents, Guo said.
“If the FBI could go in there and get those documents, then they can negotiate with the Chinese government,” he said.
“In the future I will report on another two current sitting members of the Politburo Standing Committee, as well as two previous members of the Standing Committee,” he said.
Regarding a report in the journal Foreign Affairs that the businessman represents a leadership faction in Beijing, Guo denied the report. He said he began speaking out as part of long-planned effort to bring democratic reform to China.
“What I want to do is change the whole system. That’s what I want,” he said.
Guo said Chinese police killed his brother and in 1989, when China called out troops to put down unarmed pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, he was jailed for 22 months.
“I’ve prepared all that time until now,” he said. “I want to change the Chinese government. Absolutely, the Chinese government is the mafia.”
Guo said that Chinese intelligence operations in the United States sharply increased after the 2012 Communist Party Congress that brought current leader Xi Jinping to power.
“Before 2012, cumulatively China had around 10,000 to 20,000 agents working in the United States,” he said. “These agents had been sent to work in the United States over a 50 year period of time, and they were working in a defensive mode.”
According to the businessman, defensive intelligence was mainly focused on learning about the United States. The operations then shifted in 2012 to “offensive” spying, he said.
“By offensive [operations], I mean to be ready to destroy the U.S. in ways they can,” Guo said.
Around 2012, a decision was made by Chinese leaders to dispatch another 5,000 spies to the United States. “Some of them were sent as students, some as businessmen, and some as immigrants, but all together, 5,000,” Guo said.
“In addition to that, they developed between 15,000 to 18,000 other spies, and these are not directly sent but these are developed within the United States.”
The recruited agents are not limited to Asians and Chinese-Americans but include all ethnic groups, including Hispanics, Blacks, and Caucasians.
“And now the budget is between $3 billion to $4 billion annually, and this is information up to one month ago,” he said.
Guo said American counterintelligence agencies face several problems, mainly a lack of knowledge about Chinese intelligence agencies.
“You don’t know which organizations in China are responsible for sending these spies, how they are managed, and to what purpose,” he said. “And the U.S. adopts a very legalistic perspective to look at the question of spying. Yet, for China their methods are not what the United States understands.”
“These spies, when they come to the United States, they could sleep around, they could put poison in your glass of wine to kill you; completely unscrupulous,” he said.
Chinese intelligence officers sent to the United States are controlled by the MSS by keeping all their family members and relatives hostage.
China’s intelligence targets included several strategic areas of the United States.
“The first is to obtain military weapons-related technology. This is priority No. 1,” Guo said.
Second, Chinese intelligence is engaged in “buying” senior U.S. officials personally, and a third objective is buying family members of American political or business elites “with a view to getting intelligence and to make big business deals in China’s favor,” he said.
A fourth priority is penetrating the American internet system and critical infrastructure by implanting malicious software.
“And they have successfully penetrated all the major defense weapons suppliers of the U.S. government,” Guo said, adding that “the scale of their operations is mind boggling.”
Guo said Ma, the MSS vice minister, told him that a major shift by the Chinese was expanding the scope of agent recruitment from Asians to mainstream ethnic groups.
“This is where the biggest danger lies,” he said. “It’s clear the situation is getting more and more dangerous now. The United States has the best weapons in its arsenal, such as laser weapons, etc. Yet, the Chinese spy system has penetrated into the bloodstream of American defense establishment with their viruses and everything else.”
“The United States is bleeding and is unaware that sooner or later the United States will run out of blood,” Guo said.
Also, the United States is overly reliant on technical spying while China has an asymmetrical advantage in using its tens of thousands of human spies.
China also is working to subvert the United States by working together with rogue regimes, such as those in North Korea and Iran.
“So in a fight between rogues and a gentleman, the rogues will always win,” he said, “because the gentlemen fight a civilized war. The rogues do not fight a civilized war.”
Guo said he first visited the United States in 1983 when he was 30 and made numerous visits since then.
“I love my nation. I love my country, but I hate the Communist Party,” he said.
In Hong Kong, the MSS dispatched an additional 3,000 intelligence officers to the former British colony after the May 2013 incident involving former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong after stealing some 1.7 million secret agency documents.
The MSS agents were dispatched by Ma Jian after the spy service learned the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong was hosting some 2,600 American agents.
“The office they work for is the Hong Kong Security Department,” Guo said, noting that before that time “it was more hit and miss approach” to spying.
“They upped that until now they have 10,000 agents operating in Hong Kong alone.”
Guo said Americans need to understand that China is not ruled by a normal government.
“You should look at it as a mafia-like organization,” he said.
Second, to understand China, Americans need to study the relatives of the ruling elite in China.
“Once you get to know the interests of these powerful individuals and also the family members, then you get to understand how the regime operates,” he said.
Guo hopes the United States will wake up to the threat posed by China’s communist system and its plans to subvert the U.S.-led international order.
“If this relationship is not managed well, I think the whole of humanity will confront major problems,” he said. “The current approach adopted by the American ruling elite is tantamount to suicide.”
Guo warned of the dangers of a world dominated by the current anti-democratic Chinese system.
“If we do not have the United States exercising some kind of control over the world system, the world will turn into a place where men eat men,” he said.
Full article: China’s Intelligence Networks in United States Include 25,000 Spies (Washington Free Beacon)