IAIN DUNCAN SMITH: With hopeless naivety, big business and universities have failed to understand that China is out to destroy our way of life
Joining the ranks of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is quite unlike signing up for a political party here or in any other democracy. It might seem closer to joining a crime family in the New York Mafia.
Members have to swear overriding loyalty to the one party that has ruled in China since the 1940s.
They must pledge to ‘guard party secrets’, to ‘fight for communism throughout my life’ and to be ready at all times ‘to sacrifice my all for the Party’. The oath is for life and sworn in the presence of party officials. Swift, harsh punishment would result should they ever dare to break it.
Belonging to the party is no mere formality. The CCP demands secrecy, cunning and utterly ruthless discipline from its millions of members. Notoriously secretive, its authority is absolute.
Joining the ranks of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is quite unlike signing up for a political party here or in any other democracy. It might seem closer to joining a crime family in the New York Mafia. Members have to swear overriding loyalty to the one party that has ruled in China since the 1940s
Members are routinely schooled in the beliefs, tenets and principles of Chinese Communist thought.
Democracy and freedom are such existential threats, for example, that violence and oppression are necessary to quash them. Western nations such as the UK are locked in mortal conflict with China and must be defeated.
It is a party whose beliefs about religious minorities remind us of the racist policies of the worst dictators of the 20th Century.
The CCP sees nothing wrong with rounding up Uyghur Muslims, placing them on trains and carting them to ‘re-education camps’ where women can be sterilised and the men put to forced work.
Each and every member has subscribed to all of this and more – harvesting organs from religious minorities, locking up lawyers, crushing the spirit of its own people. There is little room for deviation in political thought in Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party.
It is a party whose beliefs about religious minorities remind us of the racist policies of the worst dictators of the 20th Century. The CCP sees nothing wrong with rounding up Uyghur Muslims, placing them on trains and carting them to ‘re-education camps’ where women can be sterilised and the men put to forced work. (Above, a protest in Mumbai, India)
It would be bad enough were these individuals confined to China, where they have a vice-like grip on political power.
However, The Mail on Sunday’s investigation shows that CCP influence is spreading around the globe, with members working for some of the world’s most important multinational corporations, academic institutions and even our own diplomatic services.
Much of their spread into the UK took place under the so-called Golden Era, or project Kow Tow, as I prefer to call it. The UK welcomed China, believing – wrongly – that China would open up its economy and that Chinese investment would bring welcome growth, investment, and prosperity to the UK.
It is hardly surprising, then, that City of London behemoths Standard Chartered, KPMG and Ernst & Young each hired several hundred CCP members across several branches in China.
And it is even less surprising that HSBC tops the shameful league table of companies willing to comply with Chinese Communist Party rules. HSBC likes to criticise Brexit for its perceived small-mindedness, with adverts telling the UK ‘we are not an island’.
Its own behaviour speaks volumes, however. Last week, it rushed to freeze the bank accounts of exiled Hong Kong lawmaker Ted Hui. Earlier in the summer, it issued statements denouncing the democracy protests.
Now we learn that it apparently once employed more than 300 members of the very party that is orchestrating the draconian crackdown in Hong Kong. Time and again, HSBC has proved itself to be Beijing’s favourite bank.
None of this would be remarkable in a Chinese institution but for a British bank – regulated and headquartered here in London – it is inexcusable.
The conduct of HSBC and other UK financial institutions is not just wrong but immoral.
The Mail on Sunday’s investigation shows that CCP influence is spreading around the globe, with members working for some of the world’s most important multinational corporations, academic institutions and even our own diplomatic services. HSBC tops the shameful league table of companies willing to comply with Chinese Communist Party rules
We can only hope that this leak confirms the truth that is beginning to dawn on businesses around the world. Operating in China carries an inbuilt ethical and reputational risk. We already know that household brands have been linked with slave labour from Uyghur prison camp detainees in the Xinjiang region.
Mounting evidence links the Party to state-sponsored concentration camps and genocide against Uyghur minorities.
So when will rich multinational firms decide it is no longer worth the damage to their brand?
The threat is not just to their corporate image, by the way, or to our moral standing as a nation – it is a threat to our security. Companies such as Boeing, Airbus, Thales, and Rolls-Royce each play an essential role in manufacturing equipment used by our Armed Forces.
They make some of our most advanced weaponry and are trusted to guard top-secret designs for our most sensitive assets and facilities. Yet collectively they employ hundreds of Chinese Communists who have pledged to serve the Party above all else.
Other vital firms such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline employ hundreds of Communist Party members, giving them access to networks, designs and supply chains.
Then there is the matter of academics in the UK, some of whom are studying among the most sensitive subjects at our universities.
In recent years we’ve come to understand that China is systematically targeting – and stealing – academic technology.
In September, our Government barred Chinese military scientists from sensitive research. Now we know why.
Most troubling of all is the discovery that this scourge extends to our own Foreign Office.
Applicants to the FO are among the most closely vetted in Government, and rightly so. Staff in our consulates and embassies will see and discuss matters of state.
They are rightly considered among the most useful potential ‘assets’ by foreign intelligence services. Even the most anodyne pieces of information can have implications for national security.
So the Foreign Office will need to explain to the public and to Parliament how it is that we employed lifelong members of the Chinese Communist Party in one of the most sensitive facilities in the UK diplomatic network, the consulate in Shanghai.
An urgent investigation must now take place into exactly what sort of access this individual – and other Communist Party Members – have had.
I believe the Government must now move to expel and remove any members of the Communist Party from our consulates in China. They can serve the UK or they can serve the CCP. They cannot do both.
There is a common theme of naivety running through our companies, universities, and government officials.
We have failed to recognise that at the core of China’s system is a system of ideas and values that not only runs contrary to ours but seeks to overcome it. The interests of the Communist Party come first.
It is not that China has sought to hide this reality but that we in the free world have been prepared to turn a blind eye to it for so long.
Small wonder, then, that Xi Jinping states openly that China will have the world’s most powerful military forces in the world by 2049.
The question today is this: to what degree have our institutions and big business been helping him achieve his goal?
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