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This article appears in the June 25, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]

China Briefs

China’s Shenzhou Astronauts Have Arrived at Chinese Space Station

The three crew members of the first crewed mission to China’s space station have arrived for a 90-day trial of the first element of the station—the core module. Their mission includes very specific objectives, including unpacking the supplies delivered earlier by a cargo ship; activating and testing the life support systems; donning EVA suits previously delivered, and starting to conduct some scientific experiments. The three astronauts will also test the performance of a large robotic arm, and verification of a regenerative life support system.

This mission will last three months; crews following this one will remain six months on the station. It has been more than five years since China’s last manned mission, and a lot of new technology has been developed over that time, which can only be tested in space.

A number of countries have already applied to have their experiments on the completed Tianhe space station. Six experiments have been accepted and three more are awaiting approval. POLAR-2, provided by a consortium of the University of Geneva, the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, and the Institute for High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Science, will seek to measure the polarization of gamma-ray bursts in space. The “Tumors in Space” experiment will study early mutational events due to cosmic radiation and microgravity, using healthy and cancerous human organoids.

China Denounces NATO Statement

The Chinese mission to the European Union on June 15 denounced NATO’s “Brussels Summit Communiqué” that declared Beijing policies “systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to Alliance security.” The Chinese news release said the NATO communiqué was “slandering China’s peaceful development and misjudging the international situation and its own role. It represents a continuation of the Cold War mentality and bloc politics.”

The mission further maintained that Beijing’s spending on its military is considerably less than that of NATO members; and it accused the organization of conjuring up a military threat from China in order to justify its own agenda: China will “never give up our right to uphold peace, and will stand firm in defending our sovereignty, security and development interests. We will follow very closely NATO’s strategic adjustment and its policy adjustment towards China. China will not present ‘systemic challenges’ to anyone, but we will not sit by and do nothing if ‘systemic challenges’ come closer to us.” It described Beijing’s military establishment as purely for defensive purposes, and said that its military modernization was “justified, reasonable, open and transparent.”

“China always follows the principle of no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstance, and committed itself unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. I would like to ask whether NATO and its member states, which are striving for ‘peace, security and stability,’ can make the same commitment as China?”

China-Russian Nuclear Cooperation Includes Collaboration on Fusion

A report on CGTN confirms that the nuclear agreements signed between Russia and China also include cooperation on the development of fusion energy. Russia’s fusion research, which had been on the leading edge in the world in the 1970s, has been largely dormant during the recent decades. Yet their recent construction of the highly modern T-15MD reactor—an overhaul of their older T-15 reactor, which they powered up for the first time in May—will contribute to solving the most pressing problems of ITER.

Both China and Russia also cooperate in the international ITER research in France. Russia’s ITER Project Manager Anatoly Krasilnikov told CGTN that Russia has also been working on the Chinese reactor in Hefei, which recently broke a number of records for duration and temperature of fusion burn, and with the new reactor center in Chengdu. Years ago, China began its fusion research with the gift of a tokamak from Russia.

Marines Whistleblower Warns of Danger of Playing ‘Taiwan Card’

An op-ed in Global Times this past April 27, headlined “Why U.S. Will Lose a War with China over Taiwan Island,” was written by a science advisor to the U.S. Marine Corps working in the Pentagon and former Marine officer, Franz Gayl. Gayl told the Washington Post June 13, “They [GT] actually toned it down, if you can believe that.” The unusual whistleblower lost his security clearances after a second Global Times op-ed in May, and is resigning from his job for the Marines; nonetheless, as the Post quoted him, “I’m glad that I did it … but it was probably a step too far for the Marine Corps.”

Gayl commented to the Post about the unreality of Pentagon strategy and all-of-government geopolitical ideas. “If we don’t talk about this now, we are going to sleepwalk into this conflict” between the U.S. and China, he says. And he elaborates: “Any reasonable man or woman would say that it’s outrageous for a civil servant working inside the bowels of the Pentagon to write on a communist news site, right? Under any other circumstances, I’d say yeah. But I needed to get this thing elevated.” His letter submitting the op-ed to Global Times, after it was rejected by many American publications, commented: “I will probably get in some trouble for reaching out to an authoritative Chinese publication to raise issues that counter bad U.S. policy. But the imminent war will be a tragedy we will all regret.”

Gayl is 64, married with three grown children, and has spent his life with the Marines. His previous trouble with military brass was from a whistleblowing episode in 2007, and involved Gayl observing long delays in up-armoring the armored vehicles called MRAPs in Iraq, which resulted in many U.S. service members’ deaths. Several U.S. Senators praised him as a hero for it, including then-Sen. Joe Biden. This time no one is calling him a hero, because he’s blowing the whistle on an insane war policy whose ideological grip spans both Houses and both parties in Congress as well as the Executive and military leadership and much of academia.

In his later, May 27 Global Times piece, “U.S. ‘Othering’ of Chinese Could Be Prelude to Taiwan Conflict,” Gayl warned: “The heaviest burden of the tragedy of war will fall on the young, patriotic men and women who volunteered to serve in the U.S. military in the faith that an assigned cause is legitimate and worthy of their sacrifice. Unfortunately, a war between the U.S. and China over the island of Taiwan would be a complete betrayal of their good faith.”

Some in Congress are asking that Gayl be fired by the Marine Corps as a science adviser because he published his critique in the “communist” Global Times. Gayl justified his choice by the fact that he knew it wouldn’t be published by any major paper in the United States, and “I knew the things I was saying weren’t going to get approval, but … we are running out of time as a country.”

FBI Agent Framed Chinese-American Scientist As Part of FBI ‘China Initiative’

An FBI agent, Kujtim Sadiku, admitted in court in Knoxville, Tennessee that he wrongfully accused a Chinese-American professor, Hu Anming, of hiding his part-time work for a Chinese university. Sadiku acknowledged his charge was based on bogus information. The FBI was charging Hu with federal counts of wire fraud and making false statements. Sadiku also admitted that he used the accusations in order to convince Hu to become a spy for the United States. No evidence was ever discovered that Hu, an internationally recognized welding technology specialist, had actually done anything wrong. Sadiku admitted to telling university officials that Hu was a Chinese military operative, despite having no evidence to back up that claim. He never followed up with the officials to clarify that his statements were false.

The investigation was a part of the FBI’s controversial China Initiative, where the agency is much too eagerly looking for “Chinese spies” in particular among Chinese or Chinese-American scientists, reminiscent of the type of “witch-hunts” launched under the notorious Sen. Joe McCarthy, and stopped by the intervention of President Dwight Eisenhower.

The intensity of the anti-China drumbeat in the media and by Congress and the Administration has created a situation in which upright citizens or visiting professors are subject to extreme surveillance and harassment. Some scholars have even committed suicide under the pressure.

The case against Hu Anming was declared a mistrial by the judge in Knoxville after the jury refused to convict. He has not yet ruled on Hu’s defense motion to dismiss the case. The FBI has not decided whether it would move for a re-trial. Some members of Congress are asking for a formal review of the entire case, since they are “deeply troubled” by the FBI’s treatment of Hu.

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