When Beijing spends big on infrastructure projects in a foreign country, one should pause and contemplate its true intentions.
The squashed National China Garden project planned for the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington DC is a vivid example of the dangers when Beijing offers generous spending to its rival.
In 2017, the Chinese regime offered to fund more than $100 million to build a 12-acre garden of temples, pavilions, and a 70-foot white pagoda in Washington, D.C. It was said to symbolize goodwill in U.S.-China relations, which excited local officials.
In an article released in January 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that the structure could be used to host cultural events. Moreover, it came with a fancy promise of increasing the number of annual visitors to the National Arboretum by 40%.
It has been reported that U.S. counterintelligence officials silently squashed the landmark project over national security concerns.
A CNN exclusive report on July 23 gave more details about the maliciousness of the garden. The project was far from being a diplomatic gesture to mend relations.
The ornate Chinese garden was planned at the highest point in Washington D.C., barely two miles from the U.S. Capitol—an ideal location for gathering signals intelligence.
China also wanted to have the supplies to erect the complex of temples, pavilions, and a 70-foot white pagoda delivered in diplomatic pouches—thereby excluding them from inspection by U.S. Customs.
U.S. counterintelligence officials have prevented the would-have-been major national security hole from ever materializing.
CNN mentioned that the U.S. had investigated Huawei equipment dispersed near U.S. military installations. Multiple sources were confident that the presence of these products could grant Beijing access to America’s nuclear arsenal.
According to the sources, “the Huawei equipment has the ability to intercept not only commercial cell traffic but also the highly restricted airwaves used by the military and disrupt critical U.S. Strategic Command communications.”
As for the dismantled National China Garden effort, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Agriculture Department signed a letter of intent to construct the garden in 2003. It was signed by Jiang Zehui, the younger sister of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.