Nearly 2 mn Chinese Communist Party members working for global companies in Australia, US: Report

A recent investigation has revealed that global companies across the world, which hold billions of dollars worth of sensitive defense contracts in Australia and the US, have almost 2 million members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in their employment.

ANI | Canberra | Updated: 14-12-2020 19:05 IST | Created: 14-12-2020 19:05 IST
Nearly 2 mn Chinese Communist Party members working for global companies in Australia, US: Report
Representative Image. Image Credit: ANI

A recent investigation has revealed that global companies across the world, which hold billions of dollars worth of sensitive defense contracts in Australia and the US, have almost 2 million members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in their employment. The Australian has obtained a leaked database, which has listed the personal details of these CCP members, including their party position, birthdate, national ID number and ethnicity, in a major security breach that aims to embarrass Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"It is the first time a list of this scale has been leaked and it unveils the secrecy shrouding CCP operations and exposes how party branches are embedded in some of the world's biggest companies, with intelligence experts warning China is using the structure to achieve global dominance," wrote Sharri Markson and Jared Lynch in a report for The Australian. The involvement of major companies, such as Boeing, Volkswagen, HSBC, ANZ and more has been revealed in the list. These companies not only have employed CCP members but also have branches embedded within their Chinese operations.

Meanwhile, Chinese experts and intelligence experts have warned that the employment of Chinese members poses a risk of sensitive information falling into the hands of Beijing's intelligence services and can also lead to intellectual property being stolen. Furthermore, the list of CCP members includes academics residing in Australia and the UK, including the University of NSW and employees of private companies in Australia.

The report mentioned Shanghai-based Australian scholar Chen Hong named on the list. Chen had his Australian visa revoked in September after the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation identified him as a possible security risk. His listing states that he is a "party member whose membership is reserved at CCP Working Committee for the Organ of the East China Normal University." An intelligence officer told The Australian that the presence of CCP members in the government and the organisations who conduct business with the government is a "totally unacceptable security risk".

"In some cases, they go beyond being a security risk, and actually do the bidding of China in attempting to influence governments overseas. The recent raids in Sydney are an example of this," he said. The officer also remarked that over the past 20 years, Chinese nationals have compromised the security of global companies that form a part of the military supply chain for the West.

"Allowing members of the CCP to work for such companies risks their stealing technology, providing intelligence to China on forthcoming weapons systems and capabilities, or on force structures built around those capabilities... Imagine if a CCP member was allowed to work on the new Australian submarine project, and got technical data on the performance of the subs. This would give the Chinese navy a massive advantage and put Australian lives at risk," he said. Aerospace giant Boeing, one of the biggest suppliers for the Australian government and Defence Department, had 287 CCP members working for it across China in 21 branches in 2016.

US company QualComm, which primarily makes hardware for intelligence and quantum computing globally and has patents on computer chips all around the world, including Australia, had 229 CCP members. In its report, The Australian revealed that the company Hewlett-Packard has 390 CCP members in 14 branches across its China operations, while ANZ Bank had 23 members listed in one branch in its Chinese operations.

Moreover, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Astra-Zeneca, the front-runners in making the COVID-19 vaccine, also have CCP members working for them. While Pfizer includes 69 members of the communist party workers in its Chinese subsidiary, AstraZeneca has 54 members. The Australian said: "ASIO director-general Mike Burgess warned in August there had been an increase in attempts by other countries to steal medical information relating to Covid-19, with hackers targeting laboratories developing vaccines."

Meanwhile, German automobile maker Volkswagen had over 5,700 employees listed as CCP members across 131 branches. The company said it respected the political freedom of its employees, despite concerns over grave human rights violations and the use of slave labour. Last month, the company had defended its decision to continue operations in Xinjiang, where a large number of Uyghur Muslims are being held in concentration camps, prisons and slave labour camps, and are subjected to political indoctrination, torture and more.

The report also describes US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, who stated that China is the greatest global threat to democracy and freedom since World War II. "China robs US companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology, and then replaces the US firms in the global marketplace," he said.

This revelation comes after the outgoing Donald Trump administration reduced the US visitor visas validity period for CCP officials and their family members from 10 years to one month. (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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