How Communist China’s Tentacles Reach into US State Politics – and How to Fight Back

Meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj / Photo via The Kremlin

SPECIAL REPORT – The totalitarian Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is not only engaged in global and national influence campaigns, but its corrupting tentacles also reach even down to American state and local politics.

Over the past fifteen years, U.S. officials at local, state and federal levels have received pressure through visits, emails, and phone calls from Chinese officials intent on pushing their policies in China’s favor.

As I have written about herehere and here, the CCP tends to focus its corrupting influences on currently powerful, as well as up and coming Democrat politicians, most vulnerable to their pitch.

Politicos such as Congressman Eric Swalwell and his Communist Chinese staffer (‘concubine’?).

However, a recent report in The Epoch Times (ET) shows how the CCP’s tentacles extend down to the state level, and also target Republicans.

Usually, these efforts take the form of promoting apparently benign resolutions of friendship between U.S. states and China, or statements in support of Chinese polies.

The ET report also shows how to fight back.

In one specific case, writes the Times in “late February 2020, as the pandemic was heating up in the United States, when a request from China caught Wisconsin state Sen. Roger Roth’s attention.”

Roth is a Republican, and the request came via email from Wu Ting, wife of the Chinese consul general in Chicago. Wu wanted Roth to help pass a resolution “in support of China’s fight against the novel coronavirus.”

As ET reports:

Once Roth realized the email was legitimate, he became “downright angry.”

“I dictated a one-word response to them, and I said: Dear Consul General, Nuts. Signed respectfully, Roger Roth,” he said. “Not only do we respond to them with the word ‘nuts,’ we even drafted our own resolution on the Communist Party of China, exposing who they really are.”

That one-word reply, a nod to Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe’s famous response to a German surrender ultimatum during World War II, was the last communication Roth had with the Chinese consulate in Chicago. Wu later wrote an email expressing shock at his response, which he never replied to. But that interaction pushed him onto the offensive in Wisconsin.

States which have not been so staunch in their response to Chinese influence efforts include, most egregiously, the New York Senate resolution that was approved in June 2019, which appears to be the nation’s first official gesture to commemorate Oct. 1, marking the CCP’s official violent takeover of China.

The resolution’s lead sponsor, state Sen. James Sanders, didn’t respond to inquiries from The Epoch Times about whether the consulate had any role in the resolution’s eventual adoption.

As ET notes though, these aren’t the only states where Beijing has tried to exert influence:

Around the same period as the emails to Roth, the state of Utah was approving a resolution expressing solidarity with the Chinese people. In language similar to what Wu had put forward, the resolution noted “a friendly relationship and strong economic, cultural, and people-to-people ties” that Utah and China share, and “the unique, 14-year legislative relationship between Utah and Liaoning.”

That Feb. 25, 2020, resolution also urged against virus restrictions that “unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade and raise fear and stigma.” At the time, the Trump administration had imposed a flight ban to and from China in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, a move that initially sparked condemnation from the Chinese regime and the World Health Organization…

States like Utah that passed such resolutions didn’t know “what was really happening and how they were being used as pawns,” Roth said.

Georgia and New York also have passed a “China Day” resolution.

The Georgia version, passed in 2020, intended to “commend the special friendship between Georgia and the People’s Republic of China” and to “recognize the Consul General Cai Wei of the Consulate General of China in Houston.”

However, Trump’s State Department ordered the closure of that consulate five months later, for being a “hub of spying and intellectual property theft.”

So, what else can be done about this massive Chinese effort to corrupt our state politicians and in situations?

Roth, the Wisconsin senator, has some excellent ideas.

Since his encounter with the Chinese, reports The Times, he has proposed a series of measures aimed at curtailing Chinese influence in his state.

These include barring Chinese military members from working in the University of Wisconsin system and curbing Chinese recruitment or propaganda programs within the university system.

His proposals should be copied by lawmakers nationwide.

As Roth stated in The Epoch Times: “As lawmakers all over the country, everything we do plays into a larger narrative,” he said. And we have an opportunity, though it be limited … we have an opportunity to make a stand for freedom, and to make a stand for the freedom-loving peoples of China right now, or who are held hostage by this brutal regime.”


Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank. - paulcrespo.substack.com - PAULCRESPO.COM

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