Here’s a weird fact: All Chinese visitors to America might be spies
With increasing frequency, we're encountering news stories regarding the allegedly unfair suspicion that Chinese visitors to the United States, be they students or business people, are engaged in espionage. The narrative underlying these stories is that this suspicion is grounded in racism. At the same time, we are treated to reports about myriad students, business people, and government employees pleading guilty to charges of espionage against the United States. It turns out that there's less racism and more reality to the charges than one might think.
For those of us who genuinely like and respect Asians, whether those born here or those visiting from China, this is a most unhappy state of affairs. We don't want Asians to be the victims of mindless prejudice and we hate to see people falsely charged (especially if they're victims of sloppy and even unethical work by the FBI).
But facts are facts, and here are two:
(1) No Chinese citizen departs that country and comes to America except with the express permission of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
(2) All Chinese citizens are subject to article seven of the Chinese National Intelligence Law (go ahead; DuckDuckGo it; multiple hits will come right up), by which every Chinese citizen is legally obligated to "support national intelligence work."
|Image: Asian man taking a photograph by pressfoto. Freepik license.
The practical effect of this law means that bright-eyed students in the back row and businessmen across the table are "statutory spies." Perhaps they're not spying at the moment, but, at least theoretically, they are obliged to spy should the CCP request it.
Moreover, in the event that a Chinese citizen is reluctant to cooperate against the American host, you can be sure that CCP operatives know where that person's spouse, parents, grandparents, and other family members reside in China. The CCP operatives don't even need to say, "Nice family you have in China." Chinese citizens know that, so it goes without saying.
None of this is meant to say each and every Chinese visitor is a spy. But it is to say the CCP has the means to press each and every Chinese visitor into espionage.