Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Seduction of China’s Red Carpet

By Hua Ming
New Epoch Magazine
Created: Jul 2, 2010 Last Updated: Jul 6, 2010
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Related articles: China > Regime
When foreigners visit China, they may find the red carpet rolled out for them, an actual red carpet. (New Epoch Magazine)

When foreigners visit China, they may find the red carpet rolled out for them—an actual red carpet. Behind the flattering attention and well-orchestrated hospitality may lie years of meticulous research aimed at gaining influence over selected visitors.

“Doing business in China is the greatest honor in my life,” Steven Miller, director of a private storage company, told a New Epoch Magazine reporter. He was with other business professionals. “The treatment I’ve received is like a king: red carpet, excellent food, and local officials who are very responsive.”

Sam Sullivan, former mayor of Vancouver, Canada, was equally moved and impressed during his time in China. “When I go to China, they treat me like an emperor. And we don’t have that tradition of that red-carpet thing, so it’s a little embarrassing for me in a way,” he said in an interview with The Vancouver Sun.

According to the report, Sullivan recalled that on a trip to China as city councilor, he discovered that almost every major Chinese official at every city hall had his own dining room and his own chef to welcome guests.

Joe Trasolini, mayor of Port Moody, Canada, visited Beijing some years ago and was given similarly warm treatment. He met with the mayor of Beijing, and the city footed the bill for his travel expenses. The next time he visited China, although he paid for his own travel, he was entertained by municipal-level officials. After a few hours of sightseeing in the morning he would enjoy extravagant banquets in the evening.

Except the super rich, most live a lifetime without receiving such treatment. In today’s China, however, it has become the norm for communist officials to personally receive in lavish style Western VIPs, businessmen, and delegates, who cannot help but feel honored.

Changed Attitudes

After being treated like an emperor, Western politicians have found their attitudes changed toward subjects such as Chinese dissidents and the persecution of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa). Some have gone from denouncing the human rights violations of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to singing the praises of a developing China.

Mayors of Ottawa have for years issued a Falun Dafa Day Proclamation, meant to express recognition of Falun Dafa practitioners’ contribution and presence in Canadian society. Current Mayor Larry O’Brien, however, decided against that this year soon after returning from a recent business trip to China. He explained that he had “made a commitment”—to whom he would not say—and would not issue the proclamation.

Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice including meditation and self-reflection on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. Despite Mr. O’Brien’s refusal, the City Council unanimously passed the proclamation on June 9.

Doing Research and Identifying Targets

The red carpet is one of the more benign methods used by the regime to gain influence over businessmen, diplomatic staff, and politicians.

The Chinese communist regime’s intelligence agencies perform extremely thorough and “scientific” research on the human foibles of their targets, which are then ruthlessly exploited, according to a Beijing insider. The intelligence agencies work on the theory that there are four weak points in human nature: fame, profit, lust, and anger. The CCP intelligence agencies attempt to pinpoint these weaknesses in an individual and tailor their approach accordingly.

Those fond of fame will find Chinese officials and scholars seeking humble consultation from them; they will receive invitations to universities to give speeches and have flattering reports written about their achievements in official media.

For the greedy, Chinese intelligence organizes business opportunities for cooperation, investment, or a fast track to the market. Those whose weakness is lust will be sent pretty girls.

The insider told the New Epoch Magazine that the United Front Work Department of the CCP, the International Department of the Central Committee, the Office of Overseas Chinese Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the General Military Department of the People’s Liberation Army, all have a large number of intelligence agents that search for and collect information on potentially useful figures, including Western governmental officials, businessmen, famous scholars, and leaders of overseas Chinese communities and their relatives.

According to the degree of usefulness of the targeted individuals, the CCP establishes contact and invites them to China. The scale of the reception is decided on a case-by-case basis. Targeted individuals may then be subject to soft or harsh techniques to persuade them to act in a way that would benefit the Party.

Australian Scandal

In March 2009, the Australian media reported that then Defense minister of Australia, Joel Fitzgibbon, had a previously undisclosed close relationship with a Chinese-Australian businesswoman, Liu Haiyan, which posed a security threat to Australia.

Liu was closely associated with the Intelligence Department of the People’s Liberation Army, a branch for the collection and analysis of military and political intelligence. The Fitzgibbons had visited China as early as 1993, and since 1993 Chinese intelligence had kept an eye on them.

The revelations made a splash in Australia and Fitzgibbon resigned from Cabinet. Soon afterward a shadier deal was revealed: Fitzgibbon had received large sums of money from Liu, and established a joint venture company together with her in China. The incident brought to a wider audience the CCP’s meticulous efforts to cultivate influential figures in Western political circles.

Foreign consular officials in China have also not been spared manipulation behind the scenes. In May 2004, a male diplomat from the Consulate General of Japan in Shanghai killed himself; two years later his testimony was uncovered.

An investigation revealed that the motivation for his suicide was due to blackmail and threats from the Chinese secret police. The Japanese prime minister pointed out that the CCP had violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Not all succumb to power and corruption, and many dare to say “no” to the CCP’s advances. Money, fame, lust, and anger are weaknesses inherent in human nature that the CCP has learned to exploit deftly.

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