[Source: chinadaily.com]

CIA Cutout Spends $5 Million Per Year to Spread Anti-China Propaganda While Congress Chips in at Least $500 Million

In 2021, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA cutout provided $5 million in grants to anti-Chinese government groups. The main purpose was to try to destabilize China and spread propaganda to isolate it while building opposition to its government.

On September 14, the NED sponsored a talk by Bethany Allen, an Axios reporter billed as the first journalist to expose China’s alleged covert influence operations in the U.S. in her book, Beijing Rules: How China Weaponized Its Economy to Confront the World.[1]

Beijing Rules is in many ways a throwback to yellow peril tracts of the early 20th century, which spread racist caricatures and paranoia about China along with a naïve view about the supposed innocence of the U.S. and how it is being victimized by China.

The major covert influence operation that Allen claims to have uncovered was carried out by only one person, Christine Fang, a kind of “Oriental seductress” as Allen depicts her, who was said to have used the cover of a Sister City program and sex to woo mayors and political figures like Eric Swalwell (D-CA), though it is unclear what classified information, if any, she obtained from them.

christine fang
Christine Fang with Eric Swalwell. [Source: heavy.com]

Under the leadership of William F. Burns, the CIA has carried out an expansive covert influence operation in China dwarfing that what the Chinese are doing, with the CIA hiring more China experts, increasing spending on China-related efforts, and creating a new mission center focused on spying on China, including by flying spy planes off its coast.[2]

A group of people sitting in chairs

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CIA Director William F. Burns on a visit to China in 2014 when he was Deputy U.S. Secretary of State. [Source: cbsnews.com]

Beijing Rules omits any mention of all this while adopting Cold War phraseology in raising alarm about China’s alleged “extension of its authoritarian reach abroad.”

Allen additionally attacks China for promoting “conspiracy theories”—a CIA euphemism—about the coronavirus that she says deflected blame from its role in causing a worldwide pandemic. This when it is known that the U.S. supported gain-of-function research that is believed to have resulted in the manufacture of COVID-19 in a lab.[3]

In February 2022, the U.S. Congress passed a measure embedded in the America COMPETES Act allocating $500 million to “combat Chinese disinformation” of the kind that Allen claims is rampant.

The real purpose of the measure is to spread negative stories about China. Most of the money was to be directed to the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), a state-run media service that oversees Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe (RFE), and Radio Free Asia (RFA), which was run under Donald Trump by a registered lobbyist for Taiwan.

According to the China Daily, all three outlets have a record of “blurring the line between objective news coverage and pro-American propaganda.”

They in turn helped build support for U.S. foreign policies directed at China and for a renewed climate of McCarthyism, epitomized by a call by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) for investigation of “far left organizations” for allegedly violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) because of alleged funding ties to China.[4]

Senator Marco Rubio [Source: dailycaller.com]

Selling War with China

On September 6, the War Industry Resisters Network supported a webinar on Selling War with China that spotlighted the profiteering underlying the spread of anti-China propaganda.

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Carl Zha [Source: twitter.com]

The first speaker, Carl Zha, runs a podcast about China and the Silk Road.

He emphasized how U.S. policies toward China follow the precedent from the late 19th and early 20th centuries when they supported British imperialism and aimed to destabilize the country so U.S. businessmen could exploit it economically and access the “China market.”

During the suppression of the anti-foreign Boxer Rebellion, U.S. Marines participated in the sacking of Beijing, and for nearly 100 years carried out a patrol on the Yangtze River.

The U.S. goal of weakening China was spelled out in an 1899 article in The Atlantic aptly titled “The Break-up of China, and Our Interest in It.”

Men with rifles over their shoulders stand in line and at attention.
U.S. Marines in China during the anti-foreign Boxer Rebellion. [Source: defense.gov]

Today, Zha says that the U.S. ruling class is divided between business elites who still want to access the China Market and the Pentagon, which fears China’s economic rise and challenge to the U.S. and wants to contain and isolate China.

A cartoon of a person standing in front of a door

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The Open Door Policy was promoted by Secretary of State John Hay in 1899 to better facilitate the U.S. economic exploitation of China. [Source: timetoast.com]

The Biden administration has sided with the latter in pursuing a policy of military encirclement while trying to weaken China’s semi-conductor industry and to decouple America’s economy from China’s.

A flag and flag of china

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[Source: 3dincities.com]

On September 10, Biden oversaw signing of a comprehensive strategic partnership with Vietnam that China viewed as aiming to “incite antagonism and confrontation” with it because of the challenge it represented to China’s traditional influence in Vietnam.[5]

U.S. President Joe Biden participates in a welcome ceremony hosted by Vietnam's Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023.
U.S. President Joe Biden participates in a welcome ceremony hosted by Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, on September 10, 2023. [Source: cnn.com]

The Biden administration has further antagonized China by a) sending warships into the South China Sea and spy planes over the Taiwan Straits, which is under Chinese jurisdiction; b) expanding the U.S. military base network in the Philippines; c) fortifying the U.S. military alliance with South Korea and Japan; d) helping to transform Okinawa into a garrison state for war with China; e) sending nuclear-armed submarines and precision weapons to Australia aimed at China; f) furthering military cooperation with India; g) turning Taiwan into a heavily armed “porcupine” that hosts U.S. Special Forces; and; h) sending B-52 nuclear-armed bombers to Guam.[6]

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[Source: nytimes.com]

On September 17, the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff acknowledged that the Chinese spy balloon hysteria over the summer that contributed greatly to the deterioration of U.S.-China relations was entirely baseless. Many other accusations directed against China have been either false or inflated for political reasons.

A statue of liberty and a balloon

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[Source: ocregister.com]

Biden’s Southeast Asia policies have been driven in part by Big Tech companies like Google which do not operate in China by choice. Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who was appointed to the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (AI), has invested in an AI start-up that has a contract with the Pentagon and wants to stop China from progressing on AI.

Eric Schmidt
Eric Schmidt [Source: bloomberg.com]

Regarding Taiwan, Zha explained that it has been part of China since the 1600s. Most Taiwanese want to keep it as such, though the U.S. has covertly supported a separatist movement in order to provoke a Chinese invasion that would provide a pretext for U.S. military intervention.

A map of asia with flags

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[Source: hawaiipublicradio.org]

This goes against the spirit of the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué signed by President Richard M. Nixon during a historic visit marking U.S. recognition of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which established the “One China Policy” that recognizes Taiwan as part of China.

A close-up of men shaking hands

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Nixon and Mao during Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972. [Source: zhouhuizhang.wordpress.com]

The roots of the current conflict over Taiwan go back to 1949 when the Truman administration decided to support Chiang Kai-shek, the losing party in China’s civil war, in establishing Taiwan as his base after he fled the Chinese mainland.

The Military Assistance Advisory Group training KMT troops to use automatic rifles provided by the US, 1951. After the Korean War broke out, the US government sent an advisory group to Taiwan to strengthen its military.
U.S. military advisers training Taiwanese troops in the early 1950s. [Source: thinkchina.sg]

Four years earlier, Taiwan had reverted to Chinese sovereignty with the defeat of Japan in World War II (Japan colonized Taiwan from 1905 to 1945 after defeating China in the first Sino-Japanese War).

Following Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), Taiwan became a Japanese colony
Mural depicting Japanese victory in Sino-Japanese War of 1905 which led to Japan’s colonization of Taiwan. [Source: forbes.com]

In June 1950, Mao was about to order the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to cross the Taiwan Straits and remove Chiang; however, the Korean War broke out and the U.S. threatened to invade Taiwan to protect Chiang, and PLA forces had to go into North Korea to save it from being overrun.

A group of men in military uniforms

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Chiang Kai-shek and General Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War. [Source: taipeiairstation.blogspot.com]

U.S. military provocations today are being justified because of China’s allegedly poor human rights record, including its alleged persecution of the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.

The context for this persecution is poorly understood in the U.S., however, and actual conditions of the Uyghurs are being misrepresented.

Zha explained that, in the 1980s, many Uyghurs became radicalized in Saudi-financed religious madrasas in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they had traveled after the U.S. had built a road from Xinjiang Province to transfer Chinese weapons to Islamic fundamentalists, armed by the CIA, who were fighting the Soviets.

A map of china with red borders

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[Source: britannica.com]

After the Soviet government in Afghanistan collapsed, many of the radicalized Uyghurs returned to China where they mounted a low-level insurgency against the Chinese government for more than a decade and staged riots and terrorist bombings.

Uyghur extremists, some of whom went on to fight the secular Assad regime in Syria. [Source: greenvillepost.com]

China responded by developing de-radicalization centers, which were branded in Western media as re-education camps. The media also inflated the numbers of people who had been sent there based on estimates promoted by human rights NGOs funded by the NED.

The camp building
Camp building in Xinjiang where, according to Zha, Uyghurs underwent de-radicalization. Western NGOs funded by the NED claim that, in reality, the facility was a re-education center that was like a concentration camp, though it resembles more a government building. [Source: bbc.com]

The second speaker at the webinar, Christian Sorensen, a former Air Force veteran who wrote the book Understanding the War Industry, said that the U.S. may claim that China is an aggressor, but Beijing is not the one “trying to play off Long Island from the U.S. or intercede in a dispute between Georgia and Florida—the U.S. is doing this with China and Taiwan.”

Sorenson highlighted how the $9.1 billion Pacific Deterrence Initiative has been a bonanza for U.S. arms makers that keep winning major contracts for selling weapons and building new base infrastructure in Southeast Asia.

Leading war profiteers—or merchants of death as they used to be called—include RTX (formerly Raytheon), Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Booz Hamilton, KBR and SAIC along with lesser known military contractors like T3W, Amentum, and Hexagon.

U.S. oil companies have also helped lobby for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative because the the U.S. military is their top customer and they benefit from the construction or upgrading of petroleum facilities in U.S. military outposts in the Asia Pacific like Guam.

A large white silos with metal pipes

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Petroleum storage facility at Anderson Air Force base at Guam [Source: andersen.af.mil]

Many of the leading military profiteers are owned by Wall Street equity firms that are big-time donors to the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Among them is Blackrock which owns 6.9% of Raytheon, 5% of General Dynamics, 6.8 percent of Lockheed Martin, and 6.3% of Northrop Grumman. It gave $410,675 to Republican and $606,366 to Democratic Party candidates in the 2022 election, including $113,950 to Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, a longtime Sinophobe and China hawk.[7]

A key historical turning point occurred when the Obama administration signed an agreement in 2014 allowing the U.S. military to have access to Philippine bases. Vice President Kamala Harris visited Philippines this year to secure further expansion of this access while promising U.S. funding for more Philippines bases, including ones pointed directly at Taiwan.

United States Army Col. Ernest Lee, center left, with Philippine Marine Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat during a handover of counter-terrorism weapons in Taguig, east of Manila, last week.
United States Army Col. Ernest Lee, center left, with Philippine Marine Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, during a handover of counter-terrorism weapons in Taguig, east of Manila in 2017. [Source: nytimes.com]

Okinawa, South Korea and Guam have also been heavily militarized and dotted with U.S. military installations to the detriment of the local people and environment.

Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. [Source: alert5.com]

The arms dealers have further made brisk business with Taiwan, recipient of $3 billion in military aid this year, which the Biden administration wants to transform into a “porcupine” that China would never dare threaten.

[Source: theassamjournal.com]

According to Sorensen, the U.S. corrupts countries in Southeast Asia by a) giving their governments money for infrastructure; b) offering them military training; c) letting the war industry sell its goods and services to their countries’ military; and d) stoking fear of China as a pretext for foreign military occupation.

Raising the flag at a military base in the Philippines. [Source: investvine.com]

At the end of his talk, Sorensen reiterated that the U.S. ruling elite does not give a damn about its own citizens, let alone the people of Southeast Asia. It moans about lacking the funds to provide adequate health care or public education, but can “always pull another $100 million to support military industries and war,” he said.

  1. See Bethany Allen, Beijing Rules: How China Weaponized Its Economy to Confront the World (New York: HarperCollins, 2023). The NED is also on its website promoting a new report about China and Russia’s alleged roles in undermining democracy in Africa. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the NED invests heavily in anti-China programs every year to incite “Xinjiang independence,” “Hong Kong independence,” and “Tibet independence” activities by various means, adding that the NED “colludes with ‘Taiwan independence’ forces and attempts to incite division and disrupt stability across the Taiwan Strait, which has been met with indignation and opposition from the Chinese people on both sides of the Strait.”

  2. Julian E. Barnes and Edward Wong, “Global Espionage Grows Between U.S. and China,” The New York Times, September 17, 2023, A1. The CIA has a long record of subversion in China that is little known in the U.S. and either unknown by Allen or something she is intent on suppressing. See Jeremy Kuzmarov, “CIA Has Been Working to Overthrow the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Since Its Inception in 1949,” CovertAction Magazine, July 24, 2023.

  3. Allen, Beijing Rules, 9, 47, 132, 139. See Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health (New York: Skyhorse, 2021); Andrew G,. Huff, The Truth About Wuhan: How I Uncovered the Biggest Lie in History (New York: Skyhorse, 2022). Allen has been banned from China.

  4. Rubio has singled out the anti-war group CodePink, the target of a New York Times hit piece which accused it of taking over a million dollars in donations from a Maoist tech millionaire, Neville Roy Singham, which the Times claimed were “part of a lavishly funded influence campaign that defends China and pushes its propaganda.” In Oklahoma, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters has initiated what the Tulsa World calls “an inquest to try to prove that Tulsa Public Schools are receiving payment from the Chinese government to pay for professional development coursework by a foreign language teacher at a local high-school.” These allegations have proven to be entirely baseless. What Walters claims was Chinese Communist Party (CCP) infiltration was the Tulsa public school’s paying for a Chinese language teacher at a local High School to take professional development sessions from a Confucius Classroom Coordination Office at the International Leadership of Texas Charter Schools.

  5. Sui-Lee Wee, “Vietnam and U.S. Deepen Ties Amid Mutual Unease of China,” The New York Times, September 9, 2023, A1, A6.

  6. U.S. war preparations are evident in the U.S. Air Force’s clearing out jungles in the Pacific to build new airfields and restore old ones that could provide a base for operations targeting China.

  7. The New York Times reported on September 13 that Schumer “has a record of blasting Beijing for currency manipulation, unfair trade practices and aggressive actions against Taiwan. As majority leader, he shepherded passage last year of legislation investing tens of billions of dollars in the American semiconductor industry as a means of reducing reliance on Beijing. He is now pushing to impose sanctions on China for its role in fentanyl trafficking and to rally senators around strategies to outpace China in the realm of artificial intelligence.” Another big donnor to Schumer has been Ernst & Young, the accounting firm which lists Lockheed Martin as one of its top clients.

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About the Author


  1. Very well written article, Jeremy, but I dream of the day you will also tell your readers and the world that spreading anti-China Propaganda does not have as a ‘main’ purpose ‘destabilizing’ China.

    The purpose is to keep the War industry, for which the conventional strategy is to create (invent) tension. But it is all a comedy, cleverly played out by politicians and diplomats. The reality is very different.

    Diplomatic and commercial activities between China and the US is excellent and vey cooperative. China is the main or biggest foreign investor in America, – many billions of dollars per year – with a very active embassy in Washington and 5-6 consulates all over the United States.

    Similar arrangements are in place for America in China, with a huge US Embassy in Beijing and several US consulates all over China. You’ll find about 4,500 McDonald’s in China.

    No war in the world happens without the ‘permanent’ UN Security Council’s permission. (USA, Russia, France, UK, China)

    True to their name, the United Nations are really ‘United’ in their mission to keep the world ‘divided’ and permanently at war. There are 32 ongoing military conflicts in the world right now, all of them in countries members of the War Club United Nations.

    Attacking the Right or the Left, after all the efforts United Nations made to create the division, only adds fuel to the fire.

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