Beijing was “substantially involved” in the U.S. 2020 elections on multiple levels, says China analyst Gordon Chang who has described the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) infiltration of American “elite” circles as an “espionage emergency.”
“I think China clearly interfered,” China expert Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” told NTD’s Focus News.
Chang, who has spent decades studying China and writing about the threat of the CCP, explained how leading up to the Nov. 3 presidential election, the trend of Chinese propaganda was that former Vice President Joe Biden should receive the Democratic Party nomination over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). State propaganda later favored Biden over President Donald Trump, Chang said.
“We also know that China tried to cause chaos. Large Chinese networks like ‘Spamoflauge Dragon’ relentlessly attacked the president on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter,” Chang said, referring to a pro-Beijing spam network that targeted Trump in the run-up to the election.
“We know that the social media platforms have taken down a massive number of fake Chinese accounts,” Chang added. “Twitter in June alone took down 174,000 fake accounts, so we know that they were actively involved, and we have a number of indications that it was not to help the president.”
Responding to Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) recent announcement that the intelligence community could not meet the Dec. 18 deadline set by an executive order to report on foreign threats during the November election, Chang suggested that there could be a disagreement within the intelligence committee about the extensive nature of CCP involvement.
According to Trump’s executive order in 2018, the DNI was expected to deliver a report regarding “to the maximum extent ascertainable” whether any interference attempts took place, and the nature of such interference, methods used, and who was involved and authorized such efforts.
The order also directs the U.S. government to impose automatic sanctions on foreign nations, individuals, and entities who are found to be involved in trying to interfere in U.S. elections.
Amanda Schoch, a spokeswoman for the office, said in a statement last week that “agencies have not finished coordinating on the product.”
“I think there might be some honest disagreements, but the overall trend is that China was substantially involved in our elections,” Chang said of the delay. “They did this with these malicious disinformation campaigns on the surface, with these troll and bot farm operations below the surface, they were involved and they’ve been involved for a very long time.”
The author also highlighted the danger of CCP infiltration within the American elite circle, suggesting that all institutions nationwide are being targeted by Beijing.
“It’s not just colleges and universities, it’s also prep schools, secondary schools, the foundations, NGOs. If there’s an institution in the U.S., China is targeting it,” Chang said. “China’s influence here is vast which means that we’ve got a lot of work to do to remove the CCP from our society, because they are certainly up to no good.”
“The danger is clear and present, and we’ve got to act immediately, because we don’t have much time to lose. Xi Jinping doesn’t talk about competing with us in the international system. He is floating these ideas that China has the mandate of heaven over all under heaven, and China actually acts like emperors of old, who believe that we’re the only sovereigns in the world, which means essentially that Americans are just subservient—we don’t have a country, we don’t sovereignty,” Chang continued.
“I know that sounds ludicrous, but we’ve got to listen to what Chinese leaders are actually saying. They are dropping hints that they should be considered the world’s only sovereigns. They’ve made it very clear, and we’ve just not been listening.”
“If we don’t change course, we’re going to lose our country, because China imposes existential risk to us, and if we don’t understand the fundamental nature of the challenge, we’re going to lose, and we’re going to lose our country,” he added.
Then-Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) questions Intelligence Committee Minority Counsel Stephen Castor and Intelligence Committee Majority Counsel Daniel Goldman during the House impeachment inquiry hearings in Washington on Dec. 9, 2019. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP)
Earlier this year, DNI John Ratcliffe said that the biggest threat to election security in the United States is the CCP.
“China poses a greater national security threat to the U.S. than any other nation—economically, militarily, and technologically. That includes threats of election influence and interference,” Ratcliffe said.
The intelligence official said Beijing was concerned that Trump will win reelection, adding that the intelligence community has briefed “hundreds of members of Congress” to raise their concerns about China “and its increased efforts to impact the U.S. policy climate in its favor.”
Ratcliffe told CBS earlier this month that there was foreign election interference by China, Iran, and Russia in November 2020.
“China is an economic threat and a technological threat. And that’s something that the United States hasn’t had to deal with before,” he said.
Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.