The coronavirus outbreak has awoken a great many Americans to China’s influence over American life.
Since our markets are intertwined, we all — either directly or indirectly — rely on China, as we’ve grown reliant on cheap Chinese goods, medicine and other crucial supplies in recent decades.
But our critical supply chains are married to a human rights abuser with clear ambitions of becoming a global superpower.
According to a new report, China’s actions to further its achievements are not just taking place in some far away province in Asia.
The Chinese Communist Party appears to be operating a complex network, hidden in plain sight, through its U.S. embassies and consulates, and through their connections to our universities.
The sudden and much-publicized closure of China’s consulate in Houston last week, ordered by the State Department, is noteworthy in that it signals how seriously the Trump administration is taking the threat posed by Chinese ambition.
According to Axios, the now-closed Houston consulate was merely the tip of the ice berg when it comes to the magnitude with which Chinese espionage hubs are operating in the U.S.
The report suggested that other diplomatic locations in the U.S. are of greater importance to China’s government, and that they’re being used for more than simple espionage.
Axios reported that the State Department’s decision to order the closure of the Houston consulate might have been a message to the Chinese Communist Party, putting the CCP on notice that it will no longer infiltrate American institutions with impunity.
“[The San Francisco consulate] is the real gem but the U.S. won’t close it,” a former U.S. intelligence official told Axios.
The report implied that another consulate in New York is also being used for nefarious purposes.
The Trump administration’s action to close the San Francisco consulate “indicates the Trump administration is likely making an example of the Houston consulate in a bid to achieve its goal of a reduction in Chinese espionage activities without taking an even harsher measure, such as closing the San Francisco or New York consulates,” Axios reported.
China’s presence in the U.S. is a known national security threat, but federal officials and others who closely monitor the country’s activities are now shining a light on what is occurring in the shadows of international diplomacy.
Axios outlined how China uses its consulates to track and direct Chinese students who are enrolled on American campuses, and also suggested that the country’s reported interment of Uighur Muslims in China is being aided by the consulates in the U.S.
“Leaked classified Chinese government documents have revealed that Chinese embassies and consulates are complicit in the ongoing cultural and demographic genocide against Uighurs,” Axios reported.
The diplomatic locations, per the report, are using visa renewals for Uighur students in America as a pretext to send them back to China.
According to Axios, once Uighurs make it back to China, they disappear, and seemingly join the legions of people who are sitting in concentration camps and other forced labor locations in the country’s remote autonomous Xinjiang region.
With regard to espionage, though, the consulates are reportedly used to keep close tabs on Chinese students who are studying in the U.S.
China has previously been accused of using American universities to place Chinese nationals on campuses nationwide with the assistance of dozens of Chinese government-funded Confucius Institutes at schools.
According to the Axios report, many Chinese students are potential spies studying in American schools, and some are reporting back their activities to consulars.
“The Chinese embassy and consulates keep close tabs on Chinese students in the U.S., occasionally sending them political directives and quietly organizing demonstrations,” the Axios report reads.
The entire infrastructure, foreign national students and their contact with the consulates, is likely a vast spy network operating under the nose of American people.
China’s staggering presence on many American campuses has been largely overlooked by the establishment media.
A separate Axios report from April estimated that approximately 369,000 Chinese nationals are currently studying in the U.S.
Sen. Tom Cotton wants to limit what those students are able to study.
The Arkansas Republican has suggested preventing Chinese nationals from studying science and technology while they are in the country.
“So I have little doubt that the Chinese intelligence services are actively trying to steal America’s intellectual property as it relates to the virus that they unleashed on the world, because, of course, they want to be the country that claims credit for finding those drugs or finding a vaccine, and then use it as leverage against the rest of the world,” Cotton told Fox News in April.
While every country engages in cloak-and-dagger activities amid a never-ending information war between nations, China has used its influence on schools in the U.S. to engage in espionage and further its reported initiatives with regard to human rights abuses.
So what does this all mean?
At a time when tensions with China are high, the Trump administration is at the very least taking measures to put China on notice.
The closure of the Houston consulate might have been more symbolic than anything else, but international diplomacy is a chess match with many moving parts.
Closing the Houston consulate indicates “the Trump administration’s recent hardline stance against China’s illicit consular activities is a public acknowledgment of real problems,” Axios concluded.
The takeaway is that the greatest threat to America’s national security with regard to China apparently resides in San Francisco, and not for reasons which are already obvious.
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