101 EAST

 

 

CHINA – SPIES, LIES AND BLACKMAIL

 

 

POST-PRODUCTION SCRIPT

 

 

DURATION:         26’00”

 

 

 

AL JAZEERA ENGLISH

 

                                             

 

 

 

 

 

POST PRODUCTION SCRIPT PREPARED BY:

 

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101 EAST

CHINA – SPIES, LIES AND BLACKMAIL

                                                                       

 

TIMECODE

DIALOGUE

10:00:03

GFX:

101 EAST

10:00:08

STEVE CHAO:  In China – those seen to be challenging the government, quickly feel the heavy hand of State security. 

10:00:16

CHEN YONGLIN:  The Chinese Government has two tools to manipulate the people.  One is the violence, brutality.  The other is propaganda.

10:00:32

STEVE CHAO:  Now democratic countries warn, China is carrying out its system of control and censorship worldwide.

10:00:39

GFX:

GLOBAL THREATS & NATIONAL SECURITY

SEN. MARCO RUBIO

R-FLORIDA

10:00:40

US SEN. MARCO RUBIO: The biggest issue of our time in my view is China. 

10:00:43

STEVE CHAO:  For the first time, the FBI and CIA accuse China of using a global web of spies and informants to harass, intimidate and neutralize anyone daring to speak out.

10:00:59

STEVE CHAO:  I’m Steve Chao, on this episode of 101 East, we ask how far will China go to silence its critics?

10:01:08

GFX:

CHINA: SPIES, LIES & BLACKMAIL

A FILM BY STEVE CHAO

10:01:16

STEVE CHAO:  Toronto, Canada is a world away from China. 

10:01:19

GFX:

SHENG XUE

DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST

10:01:20

STEVE CHAO: When democracy activist, Sheng Xue, fled here seeking asylum.  She believed she was finally free from the watchful eye of Chinese authorities.  Now she says, she was wrong.

10:01:35

SHENG XUE:  I thought that I’d escaped from the fear and I was going to enjoy freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law.  But I realised that they are there, their people, their network, their power – everything is here.

10:01:57

STEVE CHAO:  Xue became one of China’s loudest critics after witnessing the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, where Chinese leaders ordered the killing of thousands of student democracy demonstrators.  Her relentless activism quickly won her international acclaim and China’s attention.

10:02:25

STEVE CHAO:  She says Chinese agents contacted her repeatedly, warning they were tracking her every movement.  They threatened to kill her if she didn’t stop criticising China’s leaders. She began getting late night visits to her home.

10:02:43

SHENG XUE:  One time about 1.30, I was working on my computer and I saw a car just passing by.  It’s okay.  But then the car coming back and but then he make a turn in our driveway so I was very nervous.  I thought 1.30 am?  Why?  Why is there a car around here?  Then some days after, again about 2 o’clock a car goes by our driveway and they even stopped at our front and but then I said to my husband, I’m scared.

10:03:41

SHENG XUE: [at computer] Yeah, I want to show you this. 

STEVE CHAO:  The intimidation also went online. Xue was targeted by a vicious smear campaign.

10:03:50

SHENG XUE: This is a photoshop.

STEVE CHAO: Her face has been pasted onto hundreds of lurid photos and then posted to escort sites, along with her phone number and address.

10:04:02

SHENG XUE:  They said that I was working for a night club, and I was offering sex service.  I receive hundreds of phone calls per day. 

10:04:14

STEVE CHAO:  There are also tens of thousands of online postings, accusing her of fraud and questioning her integrity.

10:04:22

SHENG XUE:  I’m a liar and I have stolen money from our humanitarian actions, and I’m very ugly. I’m very… it’s everything!  What you could think about a person is bad, everything.

10:04:42

STEVE CHAO: The sheer volume of the material makes her believe the Chinese Government is behind the attacks.

10:04:48

STEVE CHAO: So, when you started seeing all this, all these accusations, all these nude photos, them calling you a prostitute, how did that affect you?

SHENG XUE: Do you need to ask?

STEVE CHAO: It hasn’t been easy?

SHENG XUE: [holding emotion]

10:05:15

GFX:

CHENG YONGLIN

DEFECTOR

10:05:17

STEVE CHAO: I’m meeting an insider who knows how China’s system of control works.  Cheng Yonglin helped build the country’s strategy of crushing dissent abroad.  Later, as a high-level diplomat, he put those policies into practice.

10:05:34

CHEN YONGLIN: Most of Chinese immigrants are still scared, most, because they know the Chinese regime may go to extreme means.

10:05:47

STEVE CHAO:  Since defecting to Australia, Chen speaks openly, saying there are no limits to what China will do to its critics.

10:05:56

CHEN YONGLIN:  If they are getting involved in any anti-communist group, they will definitely be harmed.  No buts in that at all, not at all.  Beyond extreme.

10:06:10

[FERRY HORN]

10:06:16

GFX:

TENG BIAO

HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER

10:06:18

STEVE CHAO:  There are many who say nowhere is safe – even in the land of freedom and liberty.  Teng Bio was one China’s most prominent civil rights lawyers.  He fled to New York in 2014 but he says he hasn’t escaped China’s reach.

10:06:35

STEVE CHAO:  Hey Teng Biao.

TENG BIAO:  Hi. 

STEVE CHAO:  Good to see you again.

TENG BIAO:  Yes, it’s good to see you. 

STEVE CHAO:  It’s been a long time.

TENG BIAO: Yes.

10:06:41

STEVE CHAO:  I first met Teng Biao years ago in Beijing when he was a lawyer defending the rights of those persecuted by the State.  Today, he continues to speak out against injustices in China.

10:06:52

TENG BIAO:  I want to show you this.

10:06:55

STEVE CHAO:  It’s led to threats on his life.

10:06:58

TENG BIAO: His I.D. is CCP forever.

STEVE CHAO:  And what does it say?

TENG BIAO: Teng Biao take care of your life because you will be murdered.

STEVE CHAO: They actually said murdered.

10:07:12

STEVE CHAO:  Teng Biao believes the Twitter account belongs to a known agent of China’s State security.

10:07:18

STEVE CHAO: What went through your mind when you saw this?

TENG BIAO:  It’s a direct threat to my life.  I live in the United States and it’s a free and democratic country, but I can still feel the threat and harassment from the Chinese Government.

10:07:43

STEVE CHAO: Since Chinese Leader Xi Jinping assumed power in 2012, Teng Biao says he’s witnessed an increasing crackdown on dissent.  Before he fled, he was seized by authorities and tortured three times.

10:08.00

TENG BIAO:  I was kidnapped by Chinese Secret Police. I didn’t know where I was detained and then I was physically tortured.  They beat me.  The hardest part of disappearance is not the physical torture, but the uncertainty.  So, I didn’t know, I had no idea how they would treat me the next hour, the next day.  I didn’t know what they, what they would do.

10:08:40

STEVE CHAO:  After Teng Biao left China, authorities turned their attention to his family, refusing to let them leave the country.  Fearing they too would be jailed or even tortured, he devised a dangerous plan to get them out.

10:08:56

TENG BIAO:  We decided to smuggle them out so my wife and my daughter escaped China through Burma and Thailand, and then Laos and then Thailand again so it’s really risky.

10:09:16

STEVE CHAO:  Teng Biao’s experience is not unique.  He’s documented more than a hundred cases he says proves China’s spreading its system of control and intimidation globally.  He compares China’s actions to Nazi Germany.

10:09:33

TENG BIAO: Some people may think it’s unfair to compare China to Nazi Germany, but the current system in China is really close to totalitarianism. The Secret Police, one party rule and the total control of society, and internationally China becomes more and more aggressive.

10:10:00

STEVE CHAO: And now he says China is trying to exert that control on top American institutions.

10:10:07

TENG BIAO: So when I was a teaching scholar at Harvard Law school, I was invited by American Bar Association to write a book to discuss China’s legal system, political system and society through my own experience.

10:10:27

STEVE CHAO: But a month later, Teng Biao says the Bar Association abruptly scrapped the deal.  Publicly the ABA says it didn’t think the book would sell, but Teng Biao received an email from the group offering a different explanation.

10:10:40

GFX:

APPARENTLY, THERE IS CONCERN THAT WE RUN THE RISK OF UPSETTING THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT BY PUBLISHING YOUR BOOK

10:10:43

TENG BIAO: The reason they gave me on their email is they, they don’t want to anger Chinese Government.

STEVE CHAO:  When they said that to you, what did you think?

10:10:55

TENG BIAO: I think it’s really ridiculous.  In China because of my human rights activities, I was banned from teaching, I was disbarred, I was you know kidnapped and disappeared and tortured and America is the model of liberal democracy, freedom of speech and ABA helped Chinese Government to marginalise me, to silence me.

10:11:37

STEVE CHAO: Today, Teng Biao is meeting with exiled activists to hear their stories.  But only a few show up.  Those who do explain their friends are too afraid to speak openly.

10:11:49

GANG LI [SUBTITLE]:  The Chinese Communist Party’s reach has become very long.

HE ANGUAN [SUBTITLE]:  The number of overseas Chinese participating in civil rights activities… is continually dwindling.  Is this related to China’s suppression? Yes. 

10:12:06

STEVE CHAO:  Everyone here has had family jailed or threatened in China.

10:12:11

CHUANGCHUANG CHEN [SUBTITLE]: The local police also paid my family a visit… to investigate my activities. 

10:12:17

STEVE CHAO:  For Wen Yunchao, a well known Chinese blogger, the threat has been much closer.

10:12:22

WEN YUNCHAO [SUBTITLE]:  It was in Queens, New York.  Chinese authorities took photos of my son while he was on his way to school.  They wanted to let me know that at any time they can harm my child… forcing me to do what they want.

10:12:38

STEVE CHAO:  Do you feel safe in the Western world?

GANG LI [SUBTITLE]:  There are lots of eyes closely watching us.

CHUANGCHUANG CHEN [SUBTITLE]:  I can’t say we’re absolutely safe in America.

10:12:45

STEVE CHAO:  Or safe anywhere. The group points out several outspoken critics like Swedish citizen, Gui Minhai, has disappeared from southeast Asia, kidnapped they say by Chinese authorities.

10:12:59

HE ANGUAN [SUBTITLE]:  I believe our situation is only getting worse.  For critics of Chinese communism, our space to speak out is continually shrinking.  It’s increasingly being suppressed.

10:13:16

STEVE CHAO:  Adding to their fears is a belief Western leaders are only interested in trade with China and not in defending human rights.  They see the tone of Trump’s meetings with China’s leader as proof.

10:13:30

US PRESIDENT TRUMP:  We have developed a friendship, I can see that, and I think long term we’re going to have a very, very great relationship and I look very much forward to it. 

10:13:48

HE ANGUAN [SUBTITLE]:  Trump only pressures China on trade and economics.  So when the West raises human rights… is it just a negotiation tactic to gain more economic benefits for themselves?

10:14:02

STEVE CHAO: But recently in Washington, Congressional hearings reveal rising concerns over China.

10:14:04

GFX:

GLOBAL THREATS & NATIONAL SECURITY

SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE

HART OFFICE BUILDING

10:14:08

US SEN. MARCO RUBIO:  I do believe that Russia, Vladimir Putin and particularly his efforts around the world are very important, but the biggest issue of our time in my view is, is China and the risk they pose.  I’m not sure in the 240 some-odd year history of this nation we’ve ever faced a competitor and potential adversary of this scale, scope and capacity.

 

GFX:

GLOBAL THREATS & NATIONAL SECURITY

SEN. MARCO RUBIO

R-FLORIDA

10:14:27

FBI DIRECTOR WRAY:  And one of the things that we’re trying to do is view the China threat as not just a whole of government threat, but a whole society threat.  It is something that we’re watching warily.

 

 

GFX:

GLOBAL THREATS & NATIONAL SECURITY

CHRISTOPHER WRAY

FBI DIRECTOR

10:14:39

STEVE CHAO:  One of the most pressing threats says the FBI is on American campuses.  At the University of Massachusetts in Boston, we’re invited to a Chinese New Year celebration put on by the Confucius Institute. China spends an estimated ten billion dollars a year running five hundred of these centres in universities globally – staffing them with Chinese Government approved teachers.

10:15:11

STEVE CHAO:  The Institute teach students Chinese culture and language, but Chinese Government defector, Chen Yonglin, says they are tools for propaganda and censorship.

10:15:22

CHEN YONGLIN:  On campus, the whole society they can build up a friendly network to China.  They can influence the future generations of the Western countries.  Political sensitive topics are banned.  Topics like Falun Gong, democracy and freedom, humans rights in China – all banned.

10:15:50

STEVE CHAO:  It’s a charge organisers here deny.

10:15:52

STEVE CHAO:  What do you say about the concerns of censorship and concerns that the Confucius Institute is just an arm of the Chinese Government?

10:16:03

BEIFANG SUN: They really do not have the right information about us.  Every Confucius Institute is working to be a bridge between US and China.  We have nothing to do with the Chinese Government’s censorship.

 

GFX:

BEIFANG SUN

CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE

10:16:19

STEVE CHAO:  Outside, protestors have a different view.

PROTESTOR:  I find it outrageous that a foreign government, especially one like the Chinese Government, one of the most oppressive regimes in the world, is dictating and deciding what American students are learning on campus. 

10:16:35

STEVE CHAO:  Every university that agrees to host a Confucius Institute must sign a contract with the Chinese Government.  After weeks of requests, the protestor’s got hold of UMASS Boston’s deal.  It reveals a clause that worries them. The Institute must adhere with Chinese law.

10:16:54

GFX:

5.  THE INSTITUTE ACTIVITIES MUST BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS, AND ALSO RESPECT CULTURAL CUSTOM, SHALL NOT CONTRAVENE THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS, BOTH IN THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA.

10:16:58

STEVE CHAO: What is your concern with the contract that the University of Massachusetts has signed with the Confucius Institute?

YANGCHEN NANGPA: I’m shocked to see UMASS Boston, a state institution, is agreeing to follow rules and regulations of Chinese Communist Party and is compromising people’s freedom of speech in this country.

10:17:22

KALSANG NANGPA:  It’s just showing that you know China’s, the Chinese Government soft power is rising year by year and it’s very scary.

10:17:32

STEVE CHAO: With the Confucius Institute suppling millions of dollars to UMASS Boston, we ask a senior school official what impact that has on the teaching here.

10:17:42

STEVE CHAO:  Can students talk about the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre?  Can they talk about human rights violations in Tibet?

CHERYL NIXON: I would assume that in their classes that they’re having that are on those topics that they can talk about those issues.  I think that that’s kept pretty separate from the type of ideas that we see the Confucius Institute undertaking,

 

GFX:

CHERYL NIXON

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS BOSTON

10:18:05

STEVE CHAO:  With the agreement with the Confucius Institute, does that mean that there is a degree of censorship?

CHERYL NIXON: I think I’d have to research it a little more. So, if you understand what I mean, I feel like we’re getting into a territory that I need to understand a little bit more what you’re questioning me about.

10:18:24

GFX:

GLOBAL THREATS & NATIONAL SECURITY

SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE

HART OFFICE BUILDING

10:18:25

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Last week I wrote a letter about the Confucius Institutes which are funded by Chinese Government dollars at US schools and it’s my view that they’re complicit in these efforts to covertly influence public opinion and to teach half-truths designed to present Chinese history, government or official policy in the most favourable light.

 

GFX:

GLOBAL THREATS & NATIONAL SECURITY

SEN. MARCO RUBIO

R-FLORIDA

10:18:43

STEVE CHAO:  We put the question of covert influence and intimidation to Chinese authorities.

BROWN:  What do you say to these accusations?

10:18:50

CHUNYING [SUBTITLE]:  Regarding those groundless accusations… we really do not want to waste time responding to them one by one.  We hope that relevant people can abandon… the Cold-War mentality and zero-sum game mindset… and create favourable conditions for the sound development of our relations.

10:19:11

STEVE CHAO: Back in New York, we meet up again with blogger Wen Yunchao.  In 2016, he says he was writing commentary critical of China when he became the target of one of the largest online attacks ever recorded on an individual in the US.

 

GFX:

WEN YUNCHAO

BLOGGER

10:19:28

WEN YUNCHAO [SUBTITLE]: In one hour, two gigabytes of email poured in… and in one day it was 100. 

10:19:31

STEVE CHAO:  The volume of incoming data shut down the internet in his New York neighbourhood.

WEN YUNCHAO [SUBTITLE]: Their attack blocked all of Oakland Gardens… the front and back ten blocks… and over that way and this way ten blocks.  The entire network collapsed.

STEVE CHAO [SUBTITLE]:  Really?  That big an area?

WEN YUNCHAO [SUBTITLE]: You can just imagine how big their attack was. 

10:19:57

STEVE CHAO: It was so big the FBI’s cyber unit took notice.

10:20:03

WEN YUNCHAO [SUBTITLE]: The attack at my home got the attention of the American government… and they came to ask what happened. 

10:20:13

STEVE CHAO: After facing a number of such attacks, Wen Yunchao was called before Congress to testify.

10:20:20

WEN YUNCHAO [SUBTITLE]: I believe the hacking was politically motivated… and could only have come from the government.

10:20:29

STEVE CHAO:  Following the testimony, Wen says US authorities expressed concern for his safety.

WEN YUNCHAO [SUBTITLE]:  The American government asked me if I needed special protection.  I said no… but I noticed that police patrolled my neighbourhood more frequently… and a police car regularly parked near my house.

10:20:51

STEVE CHAO: When the cyber attacks didn’t stop Wen Yunchao’s writing, he says Chinese authorities grabbed his parents and younger brother.

WEN YUNCHAO [SUBTITLE]: Angry?  I can’t say I’m angry, but I feel helpless.  I never imagined they’d use such horrible tactics to deal with me.

10:21:12

STEVE CHAO:  Wen sent details of the attack to a specialised cyber unit at the University of Toronto.  The Citizen Lab is a group of anti-hackers who expose State-sanctioned cyber espionage.

10:21:28

RONALD DEIBERT:  So here we are based in Canada, but we’ve done reports on just about every region of the world including a lot on China. 

10:21:37

STEVE CHAO:  Ron Deibert leads the group.

10:21:39

RONALD DEIBERT:  There is no doubt in my mind that the Chinese government is, I would say, relentless in terms of its targeting of civil society groups abroad that they consider to be adversaries.

10:21:53

STEVE CHAO: Over the past decade, Deibert says he’s watched China become more sophisticated in controlling the on-line sphere.

10:21:59

RONALD DEIBERT:  Here is a Canadian based account of WeChat, one of the most popular social media chat applications that’s based in China.

10:22:09

STEVE CHAO:  He and his team demonstrate how China blocks information of sensitive topics from being shared globally

10:22:15

ASSISTANT:  So, if I say something regular like hello in English, it will get through just fine and you would be able to see that.  If I switch to Chinese input…

STEVE CHAO: He then types in the name of a religious group banned in China.

ASSISTANT:  And I put in something like Falun Dafa and I send it…

ROALD DEIBERT:  Nothing appears on my device.  So, if we’re having a conversation and it just doesn’t appear, that’s really an insidious form of censorship.

10:22:46

STEVE CHAO:  The Citizen Lab has uncovered tens of thousands of words and phrases that are blocked.

10:22:51

RONALD DEIBERT:  There are certain categories that are almost always filtered.  Falun Gong, Tiananmen Square, anything Tibet related – things to do with human rights.

10:23:03

STEVE CHAO: And it’s not just text.

10:23:05

RONALD DEIBERT:  In a context like China, people try to circumvent censorship by sending pictures or caricatures.  And what we have found is that there is targeting of images in messaging applications.

10:23:18

STEVE CHAO:  Again, they show us how this works.

10:23:21

ASSISTANT:  If I select a controversial photo such as this one of Xi Jinping, the photo will show up but in about 10 seconds the photo will get deleted. 

STEVE CHAO:  It’s gone!

10:23:41

STEVE CHAO:  Researchers here have never seen this type of censorship software in action before.  Deibert says it’s stopping the free flow of opinion on line.

10:23:51

RONALD DEIBERT:  I’m pretty pessimistic about the landscape overall and the trendlines.  If you look at some of the core elements of Liberal democracies and how they’re being suddenly eroded and how alternative models that are non-democratic are actually flourishing in the current communications environment, it really gives me pause.  It makes me greatly concerned.

10:24:15

CHEN YONGLIN:  The Cold War has never stopped.

10:24:18

STEVE CHAO:  With his insider’s knowledge, Chen says China sees itself at war with the West, a war of ideology, that it believes it can win.

10:24:30

CHEN YONGLIN:  The Chinese care more about if China is superpower, is control.  That’s what China cares. China care about its position, its power.

10:24:48

STEVE CHAO:  For Teng Biao, his greatest fear is what could happen to his children.

10:24:54

TENG BIAO: It’s possible that Chinese government, Chinese Secret Police harass, intimidate my children and even attack them.  It’s possible.  But I think it’s of no use to live in fear.  So, I will try my best to protect them.

10:25:19

STEVE CHAO:  Teng Biao says rather than bow to China, the West needs to stand up for freedom and human rights, but until they do, he says brave individuals will continue the fight – no matter the sacrifice.

10:25:35

TENG BIAO: There are always activists and heroes willing to sacrifice themselves to speak out, to fight against these atrocities and the dictatorship so for a long run, democracy and human dignity will prevail.

10:25:55

GFX:

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