HomeCorruptionU.S. Intel Compiling a Report on Corruption in China

U.S. Intel Compiling a Report on Corruption in China

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In the corridors of global power, China stands as a titan, its reach extending across continents and its influence felt in the corridors of international diplomacy. However, beneath this facade of strength and invincibility, a pervasive darkness lurks within the highest echelons of the Chinese government. The United States intelligence agencies are peeling back the layers of secrecy with a comprehensive investigation mandated by the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation, signed into law by President Biden, requires a thorough exploration into the hidden wealth and corrupt activities of leaders within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), including the enigmatic President Xi Jinping, who also serves as the party’s general secretary.

Angela Sohn, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed that the work on this crucial report is well underway. The investigation casts a wide net, focusing on the CCP’s uppermost ranks, which includes Xi himself, the influential 25-member Politburo, and the seven most senior members of the Politburo Standing Committee, over which Xi presides. This probe is more than a diplomatic formality; it challenges the Biden administration’s strategy of “responsible competition” with Beijing, designed to avoid conflict while addressing critical issues such as rampant corruption.

The corruption within the CCP is not just an open secret; it is an acknowledged cancer that continues to erode the fabric of Chinese governance. Despite President Xi’s aggressive anti-corruption campaigns, which have resulted in the purging of numerous high-profile figures from the party and military, many view these actions with a critical eye. Colonel Grant Newsham, a retired Marine Corps and former diplomat, expresses this sentiment sharply in his book, “When China Attacks,” stating, “Public anger over corruption terrifies Xi and the rest of the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership.” Newsham argues that Xi’s campaigns seem more focused on eliminating political rivals than on truly eradicating the deep-rooted corruption.

The depth and breadth of this corruption were highlighted by the Panama Papers scandal in 2016, which revealed that leading Chinese political families used offshore entities to hide substantial wealth. The scandal included revelations about former Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, whose family amassed a staggering $2.7 billion, largely through secretive financial channels. This stark contradiction to the CCP’s promoted image of austerity and integrity exposes a profound hypocrisy at the heart of its leadership.

The scale of corruption within the CCP not only undermines its legitimacy but also poses a significant threat to China’s political and economic stability. Renowned Chinese political scientist Minxin Pei has repeatedly warned that the failure to effectively control corruption is one of the most severe threats to China’s future. He estimates that the economic cost of bribery, kickbacks, theft, and waste of public funds is at least three percent of China’s GDP annually, underscoring the detrimental impact of these corrupt practices.

Furthermore, the anticipated U.S. intelligence report is set to reveal the enormous wealth accumulated by CCP leaders, who live ostensibly on modest government salaries. This report threatens to shatter the myth of humble, self-sacrificing communist leaders—a narrative once vividly described by Edgar Snow in his depiction of Mao’s guerrilla fighters in ‘Red Star Over China’. Reflecting on the impending revelations, Paul Berkowitz, a former congressional aide and China expert, remarked ominously, “Those chickens are about to come home to roost.”

By unveiling the scale and intricacies of corruption within China’s ruling class, the report could significantly alter global strategies and dynamics. As the international community braces for these revelations, the dark underbelly of Chinese political power is set to be laid bare, potentially redefining engagements with a nation that continues to assert its influence globally while grappling with pervasive internal corruption.

Many AZC advisors have stated that the Chinese Communist Party is crumbling and ready to fall. While this would be a coveted result by most, it is far from certain. With this report, perhaps we will get a window into the level of corruption and the potential for existential damage to the party. But the corrupt officials are likely to be more powerful than the non-corrupt ones (more money, more influence), so predicting the characteristics of a post-CCP China will not be easy.

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