The Chinese government has ramped up its influence campaign since the U.S. election, with a focus on personnel in the incoming Biden-Harris administration a senior U.S. intelligence official said earlier this month.
U.S. intelligence agencies had expected an “uptick” of maligned influence activity and that China would “revector their influence campaigns to the new administration,” William Evanina, director of the US National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said during an Aspen Institute virtual Cyber Summit on December 2. “We’re starting to see that play across the country to not only the folks starting in the new administration, but those who are around those folks.”
At the same event, John Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, revealed that some 1,000 Chinese researchers affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army fled the United States this summer.
Last week, a speech by a Chinese professor that boasted about Beijing’s influence over the incoming administration was scrubbed from the country’s social media platforms. The video of a speech by Di Dongsheng, a professor at Renmin University, went viral after it was featured on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight.
“We have our old friends who are at the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence,” Dongsheng says in the video. “During the US-China trade war, [Wall Street] tried to help… but they couldn’t do much. But now we are seeing Biden was elected, the traditional elite, the political elite, the establishment, they’re very close to Wall Street.”
John Ratcliffe responded to the video on Fox News: “There are a lot of people who, for economic reasons, don’t want China to be our greatest threat. There are a lot of people who, for political reasons, don’t want China to be our greatest threat in America. But the intelligence doesn’t lie. China is our greatest threat, and it’s not even close.”
In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal this month, Ratcliffe called China the number one threat to U.S. national security. “China robs U.S. companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology, and then replaces the U.S. firms in the global marketplace.”