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Chinese Communist Party’s data leak shows how China infiltrated corporates, foreign consulates, including Indian, for spying

While there is no evidence that every CCP member is a Chinese government spy, the new revelations raise severe security concerns.

Shocking revelations have come forth with the massive leak of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) records. The CCP through a recruitment agency carried out a well-coordinated infiltration by getting its members employed in senior, specialist and advisory positions in consulates of countries such as India, UK, USA and Australia.

According to a report by The Australian, CCP infiltrated the consulates in Shanghai through government-run recruitment agency. Through a well-coordinated effort, advisers were placed in western countries for over a decade.

Whistleblowers have extracted a list of 1.95 million CCP members from a Shanghai server. The list contains details such as names, the positions they held, birthdate and ethnicity. As per the investigation done by The Australian, at least 10 consulates in Shanghai employed CCP members as senior political and government affairs specialists, clerks, economic advisers and executive assistants.

Foreign experts believe that this could be a state-sponsored ‘spying ring’ wherein CCP members are employed in consulates, some for as many as 16 years. The leaked database also revealed that some of the CCP members were employed in corporates such as Boeing, Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Boeing, the American company, has defence contracts worth billions while Pfizer and AstraZeneca are leading pharmaceuticals which are developing the Chinese coronavirus vaccines. CCP members are also recruited at various Western universities as well.

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), the Australian multinational banking company, has at least one branch of CCP members. The banking company said that it does not interfere in employees’ political inclinations. And while there is no evidence that every CCP member is a Chinese government spy, the new revelations raise severe security concerns.

CCP currently has 92 million members and they must pledge that they put party’s interest above all and be ready at all times to sacrifice all for the party.

Volvo, Citibank, HSBC, IKEA, Volkswagen, Jaguar-Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz are amongst the companies which have CCP members on payroll.

The leaked database shows that the CCP members have been recruited in Indian, Australian, US, British, German, Swiss, New Zealand, Italian and South African missions in Shanghai. The report states that the ­Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DAFT) directly hires local staff through a Chinese government agency, the Shanghai Foreign Agency Service Department (SFASD). The SFASD has at least 12 active CCP branches with 249 members.

SFASD’S website currently lists job vacancies for the Australian, US, Czech, Ethiopian, Brazilian, Chilean and Hong Kong consulates in Shanghai from July 2020. The Australian quotes Samuel Armstrong, spokesperson for the British Henry Jackson Society foreign policy think tank who said that the SFASD looks like a well-organised, state sponsored spying ring. Another intelligence officer said that any CCP member working in foreign country’s embassy or consulate is a potential spy.

The leaked database also showed that one CCP member worked for New Zealand Consulate in Shanghai for four years as policy adviser for trade and economics. Further, six CCP members have worked at the US Consulate in Shanghai in various roles including a political specialist, a procurement supervisor and ­an assistant.

There is a current senior officer at the British consulate in Shanghai, who according to The Australian, works near MI6 officers operating under diplomatic cover, with concerns intelligence could be passed back to the CCP. The MI6 is the British Intelligence Agency.

The report further states that the Swiss Embassy has a trade officer and deputy head of station who are CCP members while the German Consulate has a clerk who is a CCP member. Similarly, one CCP member spent as many as 12 years in Italian consulate. Another CCP member spent 16 years in South African consulate.

Another CCP member spent eight years as a senior political and government affairs specialist at the US consulate before moving to the British consulate, the report says.

The report says that the massive leak explains how the Chinese President Xi Jinping works: by setting up branches inside companies and government agencies.

The database, originally extracted in April 2016 from Shanghai server, was leaked in mid-September to the newly-formed international group, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China. It is made up of 150 legislators around the world. The leaked data was then provided to an international consortium of four media organisations: The Australian, The Mail on Sunday in Britain, De Standaard in Belgium and Swedish journalists.

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