On March 22 at Mountain Lake Park in Warwick, New York, the Mount Hope Chinese Association held a panel discussion entitled “Wake Up to the CCP Threat,” featuring four China experts and commentators who spoke at length about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its negative influence on western affairs.
The panel consisted of David Zhang, Dr. Sean Lin, Chris Chappell, and Kay Rubacek.
The panel’s moderator, David Zhang is the host of China Insider on EpochTV and is based in New York and Washington and covers China news.
Dr. Sean Lin is an assistant professor in the Biomedical Science Department at Feitian College in Middletown, New York, who also writes for the Epoch Times and is a survivor of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.
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Rounding out the panel was Kay Rubacek, an award-winning filmmaker, author, TV host and speaker who, according to her website, was “detained in a Chinese prison for advocating for human rights” and who has dedicated her life’s work to facing communism and socialist regimes.
Dr. Sean Lin asserts that the CCP have “been waging unrestricted warfare against the world for many years,” noting that in the year 2000, two senior Chinese colonels wrote a book called Unrestricted Warfare detailing ways the CCP could wage such warfare, ideas that the CCP have since adopted.
Lin says the CCP threat is “comprehensive” and that the regime uses “any means possible” to achieve their goal of upending the established world order.
“It’s not something in the future … it’s happening right now,” Lin said, citing Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Russia. “Xi Jinping wants to disguise [himself] as a peacekeeper, a negotiator for the Ukrainian/Russian war,” Lin said, adding that Xi’s primary objective is to dismantle “the world order the United States led after World War II.”
“That’s his fundamental role. That’s why he also brokered a reconnection between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” Lin added.
The CCP’s comprehensive strategy not only includes nuclear and biological weapons as well as traditional military operations but also utilizes information warfare, cyber warfare and runs “legal wars, economy wars” and facilitates much of this through a sprawling apparatus known as the United Front.
The United Front involves networks of groups and key individuals that are directly influenced or controlled by the CCP. Outside of China, the organization has numerous front organizations which tend to obfuscate or downplay their association with the CCP.
In 2020, Newsweek reported that 600 groups operating in the United States have direct links to the Chinese Communist Party and have “innocuous-sounding names, like the Chinese Overseas Exchange Association.”
Anne-Marie Brady, a professor of Chinese politics at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand told Newsweek, “The United Front is part of China’s foreign policy, part of China’s intelligence apparatus and runs interference,” adding that operations the United Front is tasked with include everything from making “friends” to outright espionage.
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TikTok a primary tool
Lin says that a tool the CCP uses to influence the west is the popular video-sharing platform TikTok, an app U.S. Congress is currently considering an outright ban on.
To date, a number of countries, including the United States and Canada, have banned the app on government issued devices out of concern that the app is being used for espionage.
Lin explained that the app is “very aggressively” harvesting information from citizens across the globe and is used to “shape your thinking, shape your mind” and even influence elections.
Recently, the social media platform, owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, was fined $16 million by a UK watchdog over its use of children’s data.
John Edwards, the UK Information Commissioner told The Hill, “There are laws in place to make sure our children are as safe in the digital world as they are in the physical world. TikTok did not abide by those laws.”
The list of countries that have either partially banned or completely banned the app include Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, and India among many others. The Taliban in Afghanistan even banned the app in 2022 saying that they were interested in protecting young people from “being misled.”
Influencing Western elections
The CCP is very interested in influencing elections in the West, injecting funds and influence into elections with the goal of supporting candidates they believe would be beneficial to their regime.
As an example, Lin explained how a university professor in Wuhan — ground zero for the recent pandemic — developed a database that was used to help Democrats win elections in the state of Virginia. Lin said the database was used to help Democrats win elections and that it pinpointed each district and tried to determine how best to run an election favorable to the Democrats and was even used to target different ethnic groups to influence.
Another recent example of this influence involves Canada. An anonymous whistleblower from Canada’s intelligence agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), recently disclosed how the CCP influenced candidates in recent Canadian elections, vying to ensure current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was elected. The CCP believes the official opposition in Canada, the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), is too hawkish when it comes to China.
Lin said that despite the CCP’s sprawling influence they are still only a “paper tiger.”
“The Communist Party is not as strong as it appears,” Lin said, adding that the regime’s economy has been deeply compromised by Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID policies.
“It’s pretty much bankrupt,” he said of the regime, adding that in addition to experiencing record high unemployment China is also experiencing significant drops in both imports and exports in addition to a population crisis exacerbated by an extremely high death toll due to the pandemic.
Lin was careful to make a clear distinction between the CCP and the Chinese people. “This is very important,” Lin said, explaining that it’s the Chinese Communist Party that is nefarious, not the people of China.
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‘Completely dependent on an authoritarian regime’
Chris Chappell said that the West is “completely dependent on an authoritarian regime for most of our stuff,” and that the CCP orchestrated this through a number of means including artificially devaluing the Chinese yuan to ensure manufacturing costs in China remain low and ensuring other countries are unable to compete.
“China, and China’s Communist Party controls the Chinese currency, the yuan. They keep it artificially low so manufacturing is cheaper and easier in China. This has resulted in manufacturing in all countries, not just the United States, going to China because it’s cheaper,” Chappell said.
“America cannot compete with China because China has weaponized its economy to undermine and destroy the United States,” he added.
Chappell noted the recent emergence of the company Temu, which dropships cheap Chinese goods directly to western consumers via a web portal not unlike Amazon.
“if you watched the Super Bowl you may have noticed there was an ad for something called Temu. Nobody had heard of Temu until somehow it had enough money to have an ad at the Super Bowl,” Chappell said, adding that, “it turns out Temu … was established in the United States, but by a Chinese company called PDD Holdings.”
PDD Holdings also operates a similar platform in China called Pinduoduo. Pinduoduo was recently removed from Google’s app store “because it was malware,” Chappell explained.
“They also make manufacturing cheaper in China because they use literal slave labor,” Chappell said, adding that, “They have reeducation through labor. They also have just plain old ethnic slave labor. That’s pretty cheap, paying people nothing. You can’t do that in America.”
Another factor that makes manufacturing goods in China cheaper is the regime’s lack of environmental regulations. In the U.S., manufacturers have to adhere to a complex web of regulations that adds to the cost of manufacturing goods and are difficult to fulfill.
“China doesn’t have that problem. Sixty percent of the groundwater is polluted in China … China alone produces more CO2 than the rest of the world combined,” Chappell said adding that, “And they love to talk about climate change and working with the west on climate change, because they know it means that western countries, like America, will implement expensive regulations that they won’t.”
Chappell pointed out the absurdity of shipping schemes between China and the west, asking the crowd, “Did you know that it’s cheaper to ship something from Shanghai all the way around the world to San Francisco than it is to ship something from Los Angeles to San Francisco?”
He explained that this is due to an agreement that still recognizes China as a “developing nation” despite being the second largest economy on the planet.
“Because [China is considered] a developing country they get lower postal rates which is why it’s cheaper to manufacture and ship things from China to the other side of the world,” Chappell explained, adding that it’s the American taxpayers who are providing the shipping subsidies.
“Who is paying for those subsidies? You are. From taxpayer dollars, that’s where the subsidies come from. I bet you didn’t know you were being so generous to the Chinese Communist Party,” Chappell said, adding that, “So, this is why the United States cannot compete with China because we think we are playing on a level playing field when they [the CCP] consider themselves at war with the United States. They are fighting a war, we’re just trying to do business.”
‘You cannot understand real evil’
Kay Rubacek was asked whether or not the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s explanation as to why a Chinese “weather balloon” traversed Canada and then the continental U.S. earlier this year was truthful.
“They just lie,” she responded, adding that, “They said it was a weather balloon and then we shot it down and it’s not a weather balloon. Then they blame us and say, ‘well you got ten of your balloons over China and we’ve never complained.’”
She said the CCP will use any tactic, unscrupulous or not, to undermine the west. “Lie, cheat, steal … it’s not a problem,” she explained.
Rubacek says she has personally interviewed more than 100 survivors of communism, including former Party officials, and that initially “quite a few of them didn’t want to talk to me.”
One official, a former police commissioner from Beijing, told Rubacek, “You would never understand what we’ve been through. You cannot understand real evil.”
The official explained that Westerners are “too good” and “too kind.”
“When they say that we are lazy — and they say that because that’s what the Chinese media says about us — they really mean that we are too good and too kind to understand evil,” Rubacek explained. “And in some ways they are right .. and that’s a reality we need to wake up to,” she added.
Rubacek explained that China, under the rule of the CCP, is a “criminal state.”
“The CCP is a criminal state. And so when we give them our dollars, we vote with our dollars. You give them your money, you are paying for them to continue lying,” she said.
“Communists target the family units. When you see what is going on with the sexualization of kids in schools and things like that ..don’t forget … that’s a Marxist/Leninist strategy, that’s what they are doing,” Rubacek explained, adding that, “They want to break down the family. They want to take parents away from the children so that the state controls the kids.”
She said her work tends to focus on the psychological damage communist ideology has on the masses and that she has seen the effect it has had on survivors and how it has completely destroyed the lives of others.
“And now we see it on a massive scale across the whole country and, sometimes, we forget. We often forget what is the real cause of the chaos going on in society,” she said.
How Americans can protect themselves
When asked how Americans can protect themselves from CCP influence, Dr. Lin said, “First, is to spread correct information.”
“Spread the truth. Let more people know what is true about the Communist Party. I think that’s very important. Everybody, we have our mind, we have our pen, we have our email, we can share this information … we can spread the correct information,” he said.
Lin said Americans can also communicate their concerns with local, state and federal governments.
“I see the Congress now are close to a consensus to ban TikTok. It’s because so many people are waking up,” Lin said, adding that, “So people are very upset [about] how much time their children are addicted to TikTok and how much it can influence children’s thinking. So people are getting fed up with the apps and realize the harm they do to people.”
“It’s very important that we have a grassroots effort, that we realize the threat facing us, in our lives that is brought by the communist party,” he said.
“We can speak up and can urge the government to take action,” he concluded.