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China is Penetrating America from Top-to-Bottom to Soften It Up for ‘Inevitable’ War

China has thoroughly penetrated America with espionage and influence campaigns, even as its top military brass believe war with the United States is “inevitable.”

The Chinese Communist Party has made significant inroads into U.S. institutions from the highest reaches of the federal government down to the smallest branches of local government.

The Chinese strategy to cultivate U.S. state and local leaders has been described by some analysts as “using the local to surround the central.”

China’s operations have been so widespread that they even targeted an elementary school in Utah, an Associated Press report recently uncovered.

After Chinese communist leader Xi Jinping sent a letter to a Utah school,  fourth-graders wrote back letters to Chinese Communist leader Xi Jinping filled with effusive praise.

“In 2020, China scored an image-boosting coup when Xi sent a note to a class of Utah fourth-graders thanking them for cards they’d sent wishing him a happy Chinese New Year,” the AP reported. Xi encouraged them to “become young ‘ambassadors’ for Sino-American friendship.”

The Chinese Embassy and the students’ Chinese teacher coordinated the letter exchange, emails obtained by the AP show. The students’ letters praising Xi received heavy coverage by state-controlled media in China.

A Chinese state media outlet reported the Utah students gushed: “Grandpa Xi really wrote back to me. He’s so cool!”

The Chinese dictator’s letter was even praised in Utah. A Republican legislator said on the state Senate floor that he “couldn’t help but think how amazing it was” that Xi Jinping had written Utah students the  “remarkable” letter. Another GOP senator gushed on his conservative radio show that Xi’s letter “was so kind and so personal.”

Dakota Cary, a China expert at the security firm Krebs Stamos Group, said that Utah lawmakers were essentially acting as “mouthpieces for the Chinese Communist Party” by pushing the CCP’s preferred narratives.

“Statements like these are exactly what China’s goal is for influence campaigns,” he said.

The AP focused its investigation on Utah in part because China “appears to have cultivated a significant number of allies in the state and its advocates are well-known to lawmakers,” the report said.

“In its annual treat assessment released earlier this month, the U.S. intelligence community reported that China is ‘redoubling’ its local influence campaigns in the face of stiffening resistance at the national level,” the Associated Press reported. “Beijing believes, the report said, that ‘local officials are more pliable than their federal counterparts’.”

“The National Counterintelligence and Security Center in July warned state and local officials about ‘deceptive and coercive’ Chinese influence operations,” the report added. “And FBI Director Christopher Wray last year accused China of seeking to ‘cultivate talent early—often state and local officials—to ensure that politicians at all levels of government will be ready to take a call and advocate on behalf of Beijing’s agenda’.”

As DNI cautioned in its report, “leaders at the U.S. state, local, tribal, and territorial levels risk being manipulated to support hidden PRC agendas. PRC influence operations can be deceptive and coercive, with seemingly benign business opportunities or people-to-people exchanges sometimes masking PRC political agendas. Financial incentives may be used to hook U.S. state and local leaders, given their focus on local economic issues.”

The AP found that China managed to achieve significant legislative and public relations victories in the State of Utah due to the communist country’s influence operations.

China-friendly lawmakers, for example, delayed action for a year to ban Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes at state universities. The Chinese language and cultural programs have been described by U.S. national security officials as propaganda outlets. The University of Utah and Southern Utah University reluctantly closed their institutes by last year.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang warned in early March that China and the United States are heading towards “confrontation and conflict” if Washington does not change course.

Qin questioned President Joe Biden’s assertion that the U.S. seeks competition with China, but not conflict.

“In fact, the U.S. side’s so-called competition is all-round containment and suppression, a zero-sum game,” he claimed.

“The U.S. side supposedly wants to put ‘guardrails’ on Sino-U.S. relations and not to clash,” Qin continued. “In fact, it wants China not to respond in words or action when slandered or attacked. That is just impossible.”

“If the U.S. side does not put on the brakes and continues down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can stop the derailment and rollover into confrontation and conflict,” he added.

China has held true to its word. On Sunday, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy ramped up its military operations in the Taiwan Strait.

The Chinese PLA sent 70 war planes, including fighter jets, reconnaissance planes, and refuellers, into Taiwan’s airspace on Sunday morning, according to Taiwan’s defense ministry.

As reported by The Guardian, Chinese state television reported that “multiple units carried out simulated strikes on key targets on Taiwan and the surrounding sea.” The Chinese military’s Eastern Theatre Command also “put out a short animation of the simulated attacks on its WeChat account, showing missiles fired from land, sea and air into Taiwan with two of them exploding in flames as they hit their targets.”

The rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait follows upon China sending a spy balloon sent across the United States to conduct espionage on nuclear missile silos and military installation sites. The Biden administration failed to shoot down the spy balloon until it had traversed the entire continental United States.

As CNN reported in early April, contrary to contemporaneous denials by the Pentagon, the Chinese spy balloon was able to capture imagery and collect some signals intelligence from U.S. military sites in real-time.

“Once the balloon was detected, the US government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information,” the Pentagon claimed. But according to reports, efforts to jam the spy balloon’s transmissions were not entirely successful. The White House has avoided further comment on the international embarrassment.

But there are U.S. lawmakers livid over the incident, according to public statements. Senators from Montana, where the spy balloon entered the lower continental United States, spoke out against the national security debacle.

“The administration’s explanation that the balloon had ‘limited additive value’ is little comfort to Montanans and the American people and weak spin on an issue the administration mishandled from start to finish,” Sen. Steve Daines said in a statement. ‘This is just the latest national security embarrassment from an administration that continues to project nothing but weakness on the world stage. Unfortunately, when it comes to national security, it has real world consequences.”

Fellow Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D), who is up for reelection in 2024, tweeted his own response to the report.

“I’ll keep holding the Biden Administration accountable to ensure Montanans’ freedom and privacy are protected,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers are focusing on the Chinese Communist Party’s targeting of the Biden family. The House Oversight Committee earlier this week subpoenaed financial records from six Biden-connected banks.

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.