- Beijing operates covert police stations in foreign countries to suppress dissent and spread influence
- These stations spy on Chinese nationals, infiltrate civil society, and collaborate with organized crime networks run by the Chinese diaspora
- Chinese banks, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Bank of China, are implicated in aiding tax evasion and money laundering
- Criminal organizations serve as the Chinese Communist Party’s “eyes and ears” overseas, posing security risks
- Beijing is starting to cooperate with Southeast Asian counterparts to combat transnational crime
- Despite reputational damage, the alliance with the underworld remains mutually beneficial
It caused quite a stir when it came to light that Beijing runs a network of covert police stations in foreign countries. These clandestine outposts are used to carry out the Chinese Communist Party’s two main agendas – suppress dissent and spread influence. To achieve these goals, the “police stations” spy on Chinese nationals, especially political dissidents, and infiltrate all rungs of civil society to indoctrinate and sway public opinion.
But, there is so much more to Beijing’s efforts to control the course of events far from its shores. The government is working with or turning a blind eye to organized crime networks run by the Chinese diaspora in other countries. The depth and scope of covert alliance is gradually catching the world’s attention.
The Chinese government “takes the most powerful, richest, most successful figures overseas and recognizes them as the nobility of the diaspora,” said Emmanuel Jourda, a French scholar on Chinese organized crime. “And it doesn’t matter how they made their money. The deal, spoken or not, is: ‘You gather intelligence on the community, we let you do business. Whether legal or illegal.'”
Mafia setups, often run by Chinese nationals wanted for crimes at home, are used to infiltrate the Chinese communities in countries from Myanmar to Italy. These crime syndicates also played a vital role in setting up the “police stations” far from the Chinese mainland. The covert alliance between the government and the underworld protects the mobsters, as is evident from China’s repeated refusal to cooperate with foreign intelligence agencies on investigations into Chinese organized crime syndicates.
And it is not just about surveillance or enhancing influence. There is money and illicit drugs involved, and a lot of it. European drug cartels use unregulated Chinese money brokers’ hidden networks to transact payments across borders. The cartels deposit money with a broker in one country, and another agent located in a different country pays the intended recipient the same amount, completely bypassing the international banking system.
These networks are difficult to trace yet facilitate quick and massive payments. Italian officials are investigating drug gangs and Chinese payment networks regarding suspected payments to drug suppliers in Latin America, Morocco, and Spain. Money laundering by such setups is pumping billions of dollars into China.
That the Chinese government is in the know and complicit is explicitly clear from the involvement of the country’s banking sector. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, a state-owned institution, was caught red-handed in Spain, aiding and abetting tax evasion and money laundering. Another financial institution, the Bank of China, had to pay a $4 million fine to the French authorities and a $22 million penalty to Italian authorities to settle similar cases.
Functioning as the Chinese Communist Party’s “eyes and ears” overseas, these criminal organizations carry out operations that Beijing cannot. However, these networks threaten law and order and the national security of the countries they operate in.
With the activities of the Chinese underworld dons abroad now on the radar of foreign law enforcement organizations, Beijing is showing signs of reining them. The Chinese authorities are cooperating with their Southeast Asian counterparts to tackle transnational crime, money laundering, and illicit drug production.
With many fingers pointing to the country’s top echelons of power, Beijing is taking a hit to its reputation. But, it is safe to assume that China will be highly selective; after all, the alliance with the underworld is mutually beneficial, which Beijing would be loath to wipe out.
Geopolitics And Geoeconomics
One of Ukraine’s staunchest allies, Poland, has said it is no longer supplying weapons to its neighbor as a diplomatic dispute over grain escalates.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Poland’s focus was instead on defending itself with more modern weapons.
Poland has already sent Ukraine 320 Soviet-era tanks and 14 MiG-29 fighter jets and has little more to offer.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attended the same session of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.
Still, they avoided being in the room simultaneously, as the war between their countries was well into its second year with no end in sight.
Zelenskyy, making his first in-person appearance at the U.N. headquarters in New York since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, called for Moscow to lose its veto power as one the five permanent members of the world body’s most powerful panel.
Ukraine destroyed state-of-the-art Russian air defenses in Crimea and captured two key towns near the eastern city of Bakhmut in the 82nd week of the war.
Ukrainian forces may also have put three modern Russian warships out of action, demonstrating an increasing ability to attack enemy assets at range.
Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted Chinese President Xi Jinping’s invitation to visit China in October for an international forum on Beijing’s Belt and Road global infrastructure initiative.
In a meeting with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi in St. Petersburg, Putin expressed his support for the infrastructure project, which marks its 10th anniversary this year, saying it “harmonizes our ideas to create a vast Eurasian space” and is fully in line with the interests of Moscow and Beijing, the agency said.
Both sides have suffered heavy losses since the war in Ukraine began in February 2022, with an estimated 500,000 Russian and Ukrainian troops killed or wounded.
As of mid-September, the two sides have lost a combined total of more than 16,000 weapon platforms, according to open-source data.
This includes almost 3,000 tanks, over 5,500 armored vehicles, and 1,500 artillery pieces.
Ethnic Armenian forces have agreed to a Russian ceasefire plan 24 hours after Azerbaijan began an offensive in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Under the agreement, confirmed by both sides and effective from 09:00 GMT on Wednesday, separatist forces will disband and disarm, and talks on the region’s future and the ethnic Armenians who live there will start on Thursday.
President Joe Biden’s aides have asked that Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, stop posting messages on social media taunting Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Emanuel’s staff was told that his comments risk undermining the administration’s efforts to mend deeply strained relations with China, including a possible meeting between Biden and Xi this fall.
A Chinese blockade on Taiwan would be a “monster risk” for Beijing and likely to fail. At the same time, a military invasion would be extremely difficult, senior Pentagon officials told the U.S. Congress.
The growing worries come as China has ramped up military pressures on Taiwan, holding large-scale wargames simulating a blockade on the island while conducting near-daily warplane incursions and sending Chinese vessels around its waters.
China’s generosity to the electric vehicle sector when handing out subsidies has been scrutinized since the European Commission announced an investigation into the matter.
Among more than 5,000 mainland Chinese listed companies, five of the top 10 recipients of government grants during the first half of this year were local manufacturers of EVs or the batteries that power them, according to data compiled by Chinese information provider Wind.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrived in the east Chinese city of Hangzhou, kicking off his first visit to the Asian nation since 2004 as he makes further strides to end over a decade of diplomatic isolation amid Western sanctions.
Assad is due to attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Games along with more than a dozen foreign dignitaries, the foreign ministry said earlier.
In 2020, the United Kingdom set an ambitious target that by 2030, every new car sold in the United Kingdom will need to have zero local emissions.
But British media outlets are now reporting that delaying the ban on new combustion-powered cars by five years is one of about seven policy changes that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will announce in the coming days.
If the report is accurate, Sunak will announce it on September 22, 2023.
12. MBS: We will get nuclear weapon if Iran does; Saudi ‘closer’ to Israel normalization – Al Arabiya
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has warned that the Kingdom will pursue a similar course of action if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon.
If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, “we have to get one,” the Saudi leader, commonly referred to as MBS, told Fox News in an interview aired on Wednesday.
India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens amid an escalating row over the killing of a Sikh separatist on Canadian soil.
Visa service provider BLS posted a message from India’s mission blaming “operational reasons” for the decision.
Tensions flared this week after Canada said it was investigating “credible allegations” linking India with the murder of the separatist leader. India angrily rejected the allegation, calling it “absurd”.
South Korean researchers have created a material that allows lithium-ion batteries to hold more energy and charge faster. Anodes using manganese ferrite nanosheets can boost lithium ions by 50%.
The key was synthesizing the manganese ferrite into nanometer-thick sheets — this increases its surface area, allowing for the storage of more lithium ions.
A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, 50,000 times thinner than a human hair.
The researchers say using their material for anodes would increase the capacity of EV batteries and cut charging times from several hours to just six minutes.
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Republished with permission from TIPP Insights