The Senate investigation revealed that the Chinese government carried out a secret “China Plan” by “high-level [People’s Republic of China] government officials” to “increase China’s influence over the U.S. political process and to be implemented by diplomatic posts in the U.S.,” the report said.
The program involved a “broad array of Chinese efforts designed to influence U.S. policies and elections through, among other means, financing election campaigns,” the report said.
The plan involved legal and illegal Chinese influence activities, including a “seeding strategy of developing viable candidates sympathetic to the PRC for future federal elections; the creation of a ‘Central Leading Group for U.S. Congressional Affairs’ to coordinate China’s lobbying efforts in this country; and PRC officials discussing financing American elections through covert means,” the report said.
A lesser-known Chinese influence-buying operation was brought to light after the 2003 arrest of Chinese double agent Katrina Leung, a Los Angeles businesswoman who was an FBI informant since the 1980s but who also secretly collaborated with Chinese intelligence.
Leung was recruited by the FBI and had affairs with two senior FBI counterintelligence officials until she was arrested on spying charges. She pleaded guilty to lesser charges in 2005.
A declassified FBI report made public in the case revealed that China’s Minister of State Security (MSS) Jia Chunwang and Chinese President Jiang Zemin discussed a plan in 1991 to influence the administration of President George Bush by bankrolling Leung’s membership in a Republican donors group.
The FBI report, dated March 15, 1991, stated that Leung was questioned by her MSS handler, Mao Guohua, on “how can you actively participate in this [upcoming 1992] election.” Leung replied that she could gain access to the “inner circle” of the Republican Party by making $10,000 donations.
Leung then reported meeting with the Chinese president and Mr. Jia on March 4, 1991, at the leadership compound in Beijing called Zhongnanhai. According to the report, Mr. Jiang asked Leung whether Mr. Bush would be re-elected and said the communist leadership was concerned about another candidate winning because “we don’t know if a new president would be as friendly as Bush.”
Leung reported that Mr. Jiang told her that “we do not expect you to go into politics, but we take every opportunity to support people we like because we do not have an organized lobbying effort.”
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