The eighth FBI director, Christopher Wray, gave a speech and answered questions at the Hudson Institute about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) threat on the morning of July 7.
Introduced by Walter Mead, international relations and national security fellow at the institute, in his half-hour speech Wray gave a comprehensive presentation on the tactics used by the CCP in the economic, political, and security fields. The main topics he spoke about were military and nonmilitary cyberattacks, the Fox Hunt campaign, Huawei, the Confucius Institutes, and intellectual property theft in the field of agriculture, among others. The event was broadcast by C-Span.
Wray said it was the first time the FBI made such a detailed public presentation on the impact the CCP has had on the United States. He said that the theft by the CCP of intellectual property is of “such a massive scale that it represents one of the largest wealth transfers in human history.”
The Wray made an important clarification at the beginning of his speech, sharply separating the Communist Party, from the Chinese, the Chinese Americans and China in general.
Wray said, “And now, China [the CCP] is working to compromise American health organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and academic institutions that are conducting essential research on COVID-19 [the CCP Virus].” He said that it is not uncommon that almost the day after an American company announces some major breakthrough on the CCP Virus, cyberattacks rain down.
The Fox Hunt
Created as a campaign to fight corruption, the FBI discovered that Beijing uses it to persecute dissidents, political opponents, and critics of the Communist Party, both inside and outside China.
Many of these victims live in the United States. When they cannot locate the individual, they search for their families, threaten them, and coerce them. Wray mentioned the case of a U.S. resident whom they could not locate, so they told his family: either he returns to China properly, or he commits suicide. They even arrested his relatives in mainland China to coerce them.
“I will take this opportunity to note: if you believe the Chinese government [the CCP] is after for you, that you are a potential victim of Fox Hunt, please contact your local FBI field officer.”
Influence in the political and academic field
Wray spoke of the “middleman” tactic used by the CCP. In one example he gave, he spoke about how a senator’s friend, tries to persuade him not to speak ill of the CCP because of Hong Kong. Being someone he knows, someone he trusts, he will certainly listen to him. The CCP searches incessantly to find these people, people close to its targets; it’s an indirect tactic—very effective.
“We’ve reached a point where the FBI now has to open a counterintelligence investigation every 10 hours. Of the 5,000 counterintelligence investigations in the country, almost half are related to China,” Wray added.
Intellectual Property Theft
The United States is a world leader in agricultural innovation. The FBI has even found Chinese people digging seeds out of American fields or arrested Chinese people with seeds in their backpacks. These seeds are the product of years of research, genetic modification. Once in China, they do reverse engineering to discover the secrets behind them.