| Welcome to Global Village Space

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Has ‘Chinagate Scandal’ rattled mainstream media?

There is a clandestine organization of Chinese dissidents based in the US that has until now enjoyed the protection of the US deep state and was used as a trump card to stage psyops against the Chinese government, writes author.

Much like the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MeK) and dissident groups of Ahvazi Arabs that are being used by the CIA as proxies to mount subversive attacks inside Iran, there is a clandestine organization of Chinese dissidents based in the US that has until now enjoyed the protection of the US deep state and was used as a trump card to stage psyops against the Chinese government.

What is Falun Gong?

Falun Gong was founded by its leader Li Hongzhi in China in the early 1990s. Today, Falun Gong maintains an informal headquarter, Dragon Springs, a 400-acre compound in upstate New York, located near the current residence of Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong’s performance arts extension, Shen Yun, and two closely connected schools, Fei Tian College and Fei Tian Academy of the Arts, also operate in and around Dragon Springs.

It’s noteworthy that not even once did the Daily Beast mention the name Falun Gong in its entire editorial. It simply referred to “Chinese dissidents” and “China’s exile community.”

Since 1998, Li Hongzhi has settled as a permanent resident in the United States and maintains high-level contacts not only in the governments of the US and China but also enjoys immense political clout among Chinese diaspora across the world, thanks to the deep pockets of several prominent billionaire Chinese oligarchs that Falun Gong boasts in its ranks, who contribute generously to finance the clandestine organization’s anti-China propaganda operations.

Read more: India, a colossal washout in US versus China showdown

Forget about criticizing the secretive society, up until now it wasn’t even permitted to mention the name of Falun Gong on mainstream news outlets. It was simply described as “a religious movement” that teaches “meditation techniques” to its members in all the information available in the public domain about the objectives and activities of the religious-cum-political cult.

But in its desperation to dispel a flurry of reports about the “Chinagate scandal,” implicating not only the Biden and Kerry families but also several other prominent former officials of the Obama administration for having illicit financial ties with businesses operated by the Chinese government, that was bringing damning media coverage to the Biden campaign in the run-up to the presidential elections slated for next week, the mainstream media has breached its unwritten Faustian covenant with the political establishment and spilled the beans on Falun Gong’s anti-China psyops.

The report isn’t the first instance of the neoliberal media implicating Chinese dissidents in the electoral politics of the US

In a scandalous report for the New York Times on October 24, Kevin Roose alleges: “For years, The Epoch Times was a small, low-budget newspaper with an anti-China slant that was handed out free on New York street corners. But in 2016 and 2017, the paper made two changes that transformed it into one of the country’s most powerful digital publishers.

Read more: US wants China, new nuclear weapons included in Russia dea

“The changes also paved the way for the publication, which is affiliated with the secretive and relatively obscure Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong, to become a leading purveyor of right-wing misinformation.

“First, it embraced President Trump, treating him as an ally in Falun Gong’s scorched-earth fight against China’s ruling Communist Party, which banned the group two decades ago and has persecuted its members ever since. Its relatively staid coverage of U.S. politics became more partisan, with more articles explicitly supporting Mr. Trump and criticizing his opponents.

“It is a remarkable success story for Falun Gong, which has long struggled to establish its bona fides against Beijing’s efforts to demonize it as an ‘evil cult,’ partly because its strident accounts of persecution in China can sometimes be difficult to substantiate or veer into exaggeration. In 2006, an Epoch Times reporter disrupted a White House visit by the Chinese president by shouting, ‘Evil people will die soon.’

“More recently, they have promoted the unfounded theory that the coronavirus — which the publication calls the ‘CCP Virus,’ in an attempt to link it to the Chinese Communist Party — was created as a bioweapon in a Chinese military lab.

“Today, the group is known for the demonstrations it holds around the world to ‘clarify the truth’ about the Chinese Communist Party, which it accuses of torturing Falun Gong practitioners and harvesting the organs of those executed. [A bizarre conspiracy theory vilifying Chinese Communist Party peddled by none other than the mainstream media itself several months ago.]

“When The Epoch Times got its start in 2000, the goal was to counter Chinese propaganda and cover Falun Gong’s persecution by the Chinese government. It began as a Chinese-language newspaper run out of the Georgia basement of John Tang, a graduate student and Falun Gong practitioner. By 2004, The Epoch Times had expanded into English.

“Mr. Li, Falun Gong’s founder, referred to The Epoch Times and other Falun Gong-linked outlets — including the New Tang Dynasty TV station, or NTD — as ‘our media,’ and said they could help publicize Falun Gong’s story and values around the world.

“As the 2016 election neared, reporters noticed that the paper’s political coverage took on a more partisan tone. ‘They seemed to have this almost messianic way of viewing Trump as the anti-communist leader who would bring about the end of the Chinese Communist Party,’ Steve Klett, who covered the 2016 campaign for the paper, said.

“After Mr. Trump’s victory, The Epoch Times hired Brendan Steinhauser, a well-connected Tea Party strategist, to help make inroads with conservatives. Mr. Steinhauser said the organization’s goal, beyond raising its profile in Washington, had been to make Falun Gong’s persecution a Trump administration priority.

“According to emails reviewed by The Times, the Facebook plan was developed by Trung Vu, the former head of The Epoch Times’s Vietnamese edition, known as Dai Ky Nguyen, or DKN.

“According to the 2017 email sent to Epoch Times workers in America, the Vietnamese experiment was a ‘remarkable success’ that made DKN one of the largest publishers in Vietnam.

“The Vietnamese team was asked to help Epoch Media Group — the umbrella organization for Falun Gong’s biggest U.S. media properties — set up its own Facebook empire, according to that email.

“But last year, The Epoch Times was barred from advertising on Facebook — where it had spent more than $1.5 million over seven months — after the social network announced that the outlet’s pages had evaded its transparency requirements by disguising its ad purchases.

“Since being barred from advertising on Facebook, The Epoch Times has moved much of its operation to YouTube, where it has spent more than $1.8 million on ads since May 2018, according to Google’s public database of political advertising.

“Where the paper’s money comes from is something of a mystery. Former employees said they had been told that The Epoch Times was financed by a combination of subscriptions, ads and donations from wealthy Falun Gong practitioners.

“Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist of the White House, is among those who have noticed The Epoch Times’s deep pockets. Last year, he produced a documentary about China with NTD. When he talked with the outlet about other projects, he said, money never seemed to be an issue. ‘I’d give them a number,’ Mr. Bannon said. ‘And they’d come back and say, We’re good for that number.’”

Daily Beast’s report exposes Biden

The report isn’t the first instance of the neoliberal media implicating Chinese dissidents in the electoral politics of the US. In a tit-for-tat response to the New York Post’s investigative reporting exposing Hunter Biden’s murky financial dealings with Ukrainian and Chinese oligarchs, the Daily Beast came up with a scoop on October 16 that the hard disks in which Hunter’s emails found were provided to Rudy Giuliani by a Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui on behalf of dissident members of the Chinese Communist Party.

Read more: ‘Enough is enough’: China attacks US at Security Council

According to the report, “Weeks before the New York Post began publishing what it claimed were the contents of Hunter Biden’s hard drive, a Sept. 25 segment on a YouTube channel run by a Chinese dissident streamer, who is linked to billionaire and Steve Bannon-backer Guo Wengui, broadcast a bizarre conspiracy theory.

“According to the streamer, Chinese politburo officials had ‘sent three hard disks of evidence’ to the Justice Department and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi containing damaging information about Joe Biden as well as the origins of the coronavirus in a bid to undermine the rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping …

“While Guo’s ties to Steve Bannon have long been known—Bannon was arrested for defrauding donors in August on a 152-foot-long yacht reportedly owned by Guo—the billionaire appears to have also joined forces with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in the former New York mayor’s relentless anti-Biden dirt-digging crusade.”

Read more: Pompeo warns of China risks ahead of US-India talks

Besides posting pictures of Rudy Giuliani and Guo Wengui “cavorting and smoking cigars together” and leveling unsubstantiated allegations that Giuliani has stakes in Guo’s fashion lineup, the Daily Beast hasn’t challenged the authenticity of Hunter’s emails but only questioned the source of origin of hard disks containing irrefutable evidence of the Biden family’s murky financial dealings and made a preposterous claim that dissident members of Chinese Communist Party were trying to sabotage Joe Biden’s electoral campaign.

The report further alleges: “Guo Wengui has been in the Trumpworld orbit pretty much from the beginning, paying the $200,000 initiation fee to become a member of the president’s Florida golf resort Mar-a-Lago, which Trump has dubbed the ‘Southern White House.’ But Guo’s membership soon became a headache for the administration in the run-up to Trump’s first summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2017, due to Guo’s fugitive status in China.

“At one point, Trump had reportedly considered deporting Guo after the Chinese government called for his extradition in a letter delivered to Trump by casino mogul Steve Wynn in 2017. After presenting the letter during a policy meeting, the president reportedly said, ‘We need to get this criminal out of the country,’ only for aides to remind him that Guo was a Mar-a-Lago member, eventually talking him out of the decision and ensuring the deportation was scuttled..

“Guo has framed himself as a stalwart critic of the CCP and China’s corrupt elite, but his efforts have divided China’s exile community. Guo has enthusiastically attacked other critics of Beijing as jealous poseurs, including most recently a Texas Christian pastor and Tiananmen protester named Bob Fu—who was imprisoned in China for his faith before escaping to the U.S.—whom Guo accuses of being a secret agent for the CCP. Fu has lobbed the same charge back at Guo and his followers.”

It’s noteworthy that not even once did the Daily Beast mention the name Falun Gong in its entire editorial. It simply referred to “Chinese dissidents” and “China’s exile community.” Apparently, the one-time permission was granted only to the New York Times to expose purported ties between the anti-communist cult and the Epoch Times in order to deter readers from trusting the content produced by the news organization by casting aspersions over its credibility.

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.