By Stu Cvrk and Larry Schweikart
Part III of a Four-Part Series
Part I HERE
Part II HERE
Bribery of U.S. political class
The Chicoms have invested heavily in the U.S. political class over the past 30+ years beginning with the Clinton’s. The purpose of that bribery is to influence and control U.S. politicians in ways that facilitate obtaining U.S. intellectual property, advanced technologies, and access to U.S. markets. Literally billions of dollars/renminbi of U.S.-China trade are at stake. Details on Chinese meddling via back-channel financial contribution in the 1996 election through campaign finance “irregularities” on behalf of Bill Clinton— dubbed Chinagate—can be found here.
Others in the U.S. political class also were only too willing to partake of Chinese largesse over the years, including the two top Democrat women politicians over the last three decades: Diane Feinstein (the oldest U.S. senator) and Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House). Dianne Feinstein’s longstanding ties to China are detailed here. Feinstein and her husband Richard Blum have gotten rich in their dealings with the Chicoms, as further detailed here. Paul and Nancy Pelosi have been cashing in with the Chicoms for a long time, too, as reported in this article.
Even Kamala Harris has Chicom ties. Her husband, Douglas Emhoff, is a senior partner at DLA Piper, which has significant relationships with China. His bio was deleted from their site and all that remains is this google cache of what was originally there. And here is how DLA Piper advertises their own “China expertise” on their website. And then there are Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz (John Kerry’s step-son), who inked a deal through the Bank of China for a billion-dollar joint investment venture in 2013, as reported here. Biden family business partner Tony Bobulinski elaborated much further on Joe, James, and Hunter Biden’s dealings with the Chicoms in an extensive interview with Tucker Carlson in late October.
The Chicoms are equal opportunity corruptors and have pocketed some key Republicans, too. Take for instance Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). On November 19, 2016, China appointed Angela Chao, McConnell’s sister-in-law, to the Bank of China’s board of directors. Then there is this report:
McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, is the daughter of shipping magnates James and Ruth Chao [Foremost Group]. A massive spike in McConnell’s financial disclosures occurred in 2007 and 2008 following the death of Ruth Chao, with the senator’s federal disclosure jumping from $3 million to $33 million in that two-year span according to Forbes.
Foremost’s upward trajectory has remained steady during McConnell’s tenure in the Senate, with the company continuing to prosper even during multiple economic downturns in the industry.
Under Elaine Chao’s tenure as Secretary of Transportation, the agency budget “has repeatedly called to cut programs intended to stabilize the financially troubled maritime industry in the United States, moving to cut new funding for federal grants to small commercial shipyards and federal loan guarantees to domestic shipbuilders” according to the Times.
There are many more U.S. politicians who have benefited from China ties, too. And these politicians are only too happy to keep the focus on “Russia” as opposed to their paymasters in Beijing. Sometimes, they are even blatant with their pro-China legislation. Just this past week, as noted by The Washington Free Beacon,
House Democrats stripped down an anti-China bill that unanimously passed in the Senate by removing language reining in Chinese government influence on U.S. campuses.
The Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act included a provision that authorized the Department of Education to withhold funding from U.S. universities that host Chinese government-backed Confucius Institutes on campus. House Democrats removed the measure from the final version of the bill following negotiations. Louisiana senator John Kennedy (R.), who helped write the anti-Confucius Institute measure, said Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) had “gutted” a key weapon to counter Chinese influence in academia.
The Chicoms continue to get plenty of payback for the money they sprinkle around and through the U.S. Political class!
Bribery of U.S. media
Keep in mind, the Chinese do not have to go too far to earn the accolades of the left in the media. They have replaced the old Soviet Union as the “Great Marxist Hope.” To that end, they have been extremely effective in influencing U.S. media to parrot PRC propaganda. Since the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, the Chicoms have mounted an extensive propaganda campaign to convince the rest of the world that the virus originated elsewhere and that the beneficent Chinese are only too happy to provide technical expertise, masks, and medical equipment (for a small fee) to other countries. The Center for Naval Analysis published an important report this month detailing Chicom efforts to shape the pandemic narrative. Here are a couple of excerpts from the Executive Summary (there is MUCH more in the report itself):
Beijing is deeply invested in shaping the domestic and international public narratives around the COVID-19 pandemic.
- At stake is the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) legitimacy in the eyes of the Chinese public, as well as the PRC’s standing in the international community.
Beijing’s public stance on the outbreak has three main stages:
- Suppression (late December 2019–19 January 2020): the initial weeks of the outbreak in China during which the government tried to minimize the amount of information about the new virus that leaked to the public.
- Waging a “people’s war” against the virus (20 January–mid-March): the period when the PRC government declared defeating the outbreak in China its “top priority” and launched a “people’s war” to combat it.
- Leading the global fight against the virus (mid-March–present): the stage following China’s declaration of victory over the outbreak within its borders, when it worked to position itself as an international leader in the global fight against the virus.
To achieve its propaganda goals, Beijing has:
- Pushed its narratives through official statements, authoritative media outlets targeted at audiences at home and abroad, and Chinese and foreign social media platforms.
- Attempted to undermine U.S. talking points through disinformation and satire.
- Suppressed information that could undermine its narratives with censorship, police action, and diplomatic coercion.
- Publicized actions, such as the donation of aid to foreign countries, that support Beijing’s narratives about its responsible handling of the crisis.
And even The New York Times published a lengthy article on December 19 detailing how the Chicoms used censors, specialized software, social media trolls, and even police to carefully control the pandemic narrative.
A significant part of the Chicom propaganda campaign has involved making common cause with U.S. legacy media who have been relentless in repeating Chicom virus propaganda to damage President Trump politically. An excellent article from The Federalist details the Chinese connections to major anti-Trump U.S. media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, and Bloomberg.
The Chicoms have also spent millions of dollars on advertisements in U.S. newspapers in recent years. With newspapers desperate for new sources of income due to the shift to internet news sources, newspaper owners are susceptible to the strings attached to Chinese money for advertisements in their papers—those strings being a requirement to “go easy” on Communist China.
The narratives of U.S. legacy media and Chinese state-run media have merged and overlapped to a large degree on major topics of importance to Beijing, including the pandemic, U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, and the presidential election campaign. As part of the Chicom propaganda campaign, pro-China stories and commentary by Chinese influence agents and other pro-Chinese Americans in U.S. media frequently are repeated in Chinese state-run media such as China Daily, Xinhua, and People’s Daily. This is similar to the circular reporting used by the legacy media during the Russia collusion and Ukraine hoaxes: plant a story in an obscure media outlet, repeat the report in more mainstream media and echo the report in other sympathetic media. The only twist here is the echo chamber is across the Pacific Ocean.
Infiltration of the U.S. federal government
Plenty of “former communists” like John Brennan and James Comey have infested the U.S. Government for decades. While many were pro-Soviet, there have been a number who have enabled the Chicom regime over the years. In fact, Harry Dexter White, a Soviet spy who was Truman’s assistant secretary of the treasury was instrumental in Communist Mao Zedong’s defeat of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces during the Chinese civil war in 1949. He blocked U.S. loans and a transfer of $20 million in gold bullion to the Kuomintang (the Nationalists) at the height of the Chinese civil war, leading to Chiang’s defeat and the retreat of Nationalist forces to Taiwan.
In 1972, Mao allowed President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to “open China” through negotiations that led to a state visit by Nixon at the height of the Vietnam War. Since that time, a virtual cottage industry of pro-Chinese American diplomats (Max, Baucus, Susan Thornton, Kurt Campbell, Daniel Russell, Ely Ratner), academicians (Ryan Hass, Ezra Ford, Abraham Denmark), journalists (Thomas Friedman, David Goldman, Andre Vltchek, Paul Krugman), and businessmen (Daniel Rosen, the U.S.-China Business Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) has dominated China’s policy. Some of these people are derisively referred to as “China hands” by those in the U.S. and other countries who have fought the rise of Communist China from 1949 onward, and many have been auditioning in the legacy media for government jobs in the erstwhile Biden Administration. That includes this group of national security leaders who signed a letter supporting Biden for president, which included this pro-China passage that could have been written by someone at China Daily: “[Trump’s] trade war against China has only harmed America’s farmers and manufacturers.”
PRC infestation and influence over Washington insiders have played on the same jilted-lover effect that has turned these same socialist-friendly politicos away from Russia. Just as with the media, the Chinese are the new object of affection for Washingtonians “in the know.” The very same influences in the State Department, for example, that ensured China’s fall to Mao in the 1940s have now returned to re-embrace the Dragon.
PRC and the silver screen
The Soviets recognized the importance of gaining an ideological foothold in Hollywood—if not outright control of the themes and content in U.S.-made movies and television programs. The propagation of pro-Soviet messages on the silver screen was the USSR’s goal in infiltrating Hollywood in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s to persuade Americans that Soviet-style communism was benign. During the Red Scare in the 1950s, many “Communist-friendly” screenwriters, producers, and actors were exposed by the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
The Chicoms were watching the Soviets’ successes and learned from their failures and have subsequently invested heavily in Hollywood film making, both directly and indirectly. The Chinese approach has been to throw money at the problem, as opposed to using the Soviet methods of clandestine influence operations.
The influence that the Chicoms have begun to exert over Hollywood film-making is enormous. In 2019, Communist China became the world’s largest film market and Hollywood studios need access to the Chinese market to make Hollywood-produced films a success. However, in order for an American-produced movie to be shown in China, it has to pass the censors of the Central Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party. That means that any movie that shows China, in a bad light, cannot possibly be shown there. For example, oppressed minority groups like Tibetans and Uighur Muslims no longer appear in ANY movies shown in China. As reported by the Gatestone Institute in an aptly titled article, “China: The Conquest of Hollywood”:
“China’s regulations and processes for approving foreign films reflect the Chinese Communist Party’s position that art, including film, is a method of social control,” according to a 2015 staff research paper for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, “Directed by Hollywood, Edited by China: How China’s Censorship and Influence Affect Films Worldwide.“
“As a result of these regulations, Hollywood filmmakers are required to cut out any scenes, dialogue, and themes that may be perceived as slight to the Chinese government. With an eye toward distribution in China, American filmmakers increasingly edit films in anticipation of Chinese censors’ many potential sensitivities”.
“Hollywood’s decision-makers,” noted an August report, Made in Hollywood, Censored by Beijing, published by American PEN “are increasingly envisioning the desires of the CCP censor when deciding what film projects to greenlight…”
“The Chinese Communist Party…holds major sway over whether a Hollywood movie will be profitable or not—and studio executives know it. The result is a system in which Beijing bureaucrats can demand changes to Hollywood movies—or expect Hollywood insiders to anticipate and make these changes, unprompted—without any significant hue or cry over such censorship.”
“Beijing uses the substantial leverage it has over Hollywood to political effect”, according to American PEN.
“Pushing Hollywood decision-makers to present a sanitized and positive image of China and its ruling party, and encouraging Hollywood films to promote messages that align with its political interests. Beijing’s goal is not merely to prevent its own population from receiving messages that it deems hostile to its interests, although that is a major element of its censorship structure. Instead, the CCP wants to proactively influence Hollywood toward telling stories that flatter it and play to its political interests”.
The Chicoms have also exerted direct influence in the American film making industry through strategic investments in production studios and U.S. theater chains. Investing.com reported that Lionsgate Studios, headquartered in Santa Monica, was acquired by Hunan TV for $375 million, only to find it had to slash 25% of the company’s projects for the next three years.
Breitbart has reported that China’s Wanda Group owns Legendary Pictures (which produced Jurassic World and Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy). China also has significant ownership in AMC Theatres, the largest cinema chain in the U.S., and Dalian Wand Group also owns the smaller Starplex Cinemas that AMC purchased in 2015 for $175 million and converted into “AMC Classics” theaters. The “whale,’ in all of China’s Hollywood acquisitions, of course, was the 21st Century Fox. In 2014, Beijing’s Bona Film purchased 19% of this traditional American company for $70 million. Then, in 2018, Chinese-based Tencent bought a 5-10% minority share in Tom Cruise and Larry Ellison’s Skydance Productions.
The result has increasingly “China-friendly” messages in movies and television series. For example, one would be hard-pressed to identify standard Hollywood-produced fare that examines any Chicom responsibility for the coronavirus pandemic—a topic of daily interest by all Americans these days. Given the relative absence of actual Russian international villainy, it’s no surprise that the only villains permitted in most action films are Russians— never Chinese! Indeed, one is hard-pressed to find a single Chinese individual or company as the villain in any major motion picture. This is not a coincidence: it is policy.
Finally, the Obama-Biden administration bent over backward in 2012 to accommodate Beijing’s “political sensitivities” in order to help seal a deal between the Chicoms and a Hollywood mogul who just happened to be a major Democrat donor. Biden’s now secretary of state-designate Tony Blinken personally denied an asylum request by Wang Lijun, the vice-mayor of Chongqing (in 2012, he was Biden’s national security advisor). The reason for that denial was corrupt and calculating, as everything was during the Obama-Biden administration:
Blinken feared China would cancel the upcoming visit by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, whose visit was to be hosted by Biden…. During that visit, Xi and Biden met with Jeffrey Katzenberg, the head of DreamWorks Animation and Democratic mega-donor. On the final day of the visit, Dreamworks announced a $330 million joint venture with Chinese companies to develop and distribute animated films in China. Hollywood has been a reliable ally of Beijing—and Biden—ever since.
Larry Schweikart is the co-author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, A Patriot’s History of the United States, author of Reagan: the American President, and is the founder of the history educational website, Wild World of History, that features full courses in US and World history with “Professor Larry” instructing. Web: http://wildworldofhistory.com Twitter: @LarrySchweikart
Stu Cvrk served 30 years in the US Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. An oceanographer and systems analyst through education and experience, Stu is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, where he received a classical liberal education. This functions as the key foundation for his political commentary. He threads daily on Twitter on a wide range of political topics, such as the military, foreign policy, government, economics, and world affairs. Twitter: @STUinSD