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The Lure of the Golden Dragon - China’s Elite Capture Program

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

By Jason Ickes

The State of Michigan is in moral decay, leadership in the government and industry sold out to China. We The People are asking the question; How did we get here? The answer is simple, the story is complicated. Simply turning our backs on God for the love of money, prestige or favor is the easy answer. The more complex story behind it involves going back to the 1970’s or more. For now, let’s focus on a single campaign of subversion operated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP): Elite Capture (EC) and its most recent developments.

"Elite capture" is a term used to describe how a foreign government or organization can exert influence over political or economic elites within a country. The elite capture program typically targets influential figures in politics, academia, business, and technology sectors, among others. By fostering close relationships with these individuals, China aims to gain access to sensitive information, decision-making processes and other strategic advantages. The methods used in elite capture can include:

  1. Financial incentives: Providing funding or lucrative business deals to create dependence on Chinese investment and/or to gain leverage over the targeted individuals.

  2. Professional advancement: Offering prestigious positions, academic appointments or other opportunities to build the targeted individuals' careers and reputations, making them more sympathetic to Chinese interests.

  3. Social connections: Establishing personal relationships and building networks that include high-ranking Chinese officials, which can lead to increased influence over targeted individuals.

  4. Compromise and blackmail: Gathering compromising information on targeted individuals, which can then be used to pressure them into cooperating with Chinese interests.

U.S. authorities have been increasingly concerned about the impact of the CCP's elite capture program, as it is undermining the country's national security and eroding the integrity of our institutions.

In recent years, the U.S. has taken steps to counter Chinese influence operations, including the establishment of the Department of Justice's China Initiative in 2018, which aims to protect national security by investigating and prosecuting cases related to Chinese espionage, intellectual property theft, and other forms of economic and political influence.

As the world’s attention turned to Ukraine after the 2020 election and the then-pending invasion by Russia, the United States Justice Department (DOJ) took the opportunity to make a quiet announcement of its own: the DOJ is officially ending the China Initiative. The announcement came on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, following a multi-month review initiated by Matthew G. Olsen, the Biden administration’s Assistant Attorney General for the DoJ’s National Security Division. For those of us who have been following the China initiative, the Biden administration’s decision to cancel the program comes as no surprise. Biden felt the pressure to end the program even before he took office.

In January 2021, a full two weeks before the inauguration, Asians Advancing Justice, the Brennan Center for Justice, and APA (Asian Pacific American) Justice issued a joint letter to Biden to express their “deep concern” with what they referred to as the federal government’s “racial, ethnic, and national origin profiling and discriminatory investigations and prosecutions of Asian Americans and Asian immigrants.” NAS Communications & Research Associate David Acevedo published a detailed rebuttal to the letter several days later that is very much worth reading. The pressure mounted as concerns over anti-Asian hate grew in the summer of 2021 (though the Biden administration has been entirely unfazed by the blatant discrimination against Asian Americans in admissions offices across the country).

It's difficult to predict the specific individuals that China might prioritize for its elite capture program in Michigan, but we can create a reasonably hypothetical list of types of individuals who could be targeted based on their positions and influence. Please note that this list is speculative and does not imply any real-world connections or accusations. China may prioritize:

  1. The Governor of Michigan: As the highest-ranking state official, the governor holds significant political power and can influence state policies that could benefit China.

  2. State legislators: Key state legislators, particularly those in leadership positions or serving on committees related to trade, technology, or foreign affairs, can shape legislation and policies that impact China's interests.

  3. Influential Mayors: Mayors of major cities in Michigan, such as Detroit, Grand Rapids, or Ann Arbor, have significant influence on local policies and economic development.

  4. Top University officials: High-ranking officials at Michigan's prominent universities, such as the University of Michigan or Michigan State University, can impact academic research, collaboration, and policies.

  5. Leading researchers: Professors or researchers in cutting-edge fields, such as advanced manufacturing, automotive technology, or artificial intelligence, can provide valuable information and intellectual property.

  6. Business leaders: Executives of major Michigan-based corporations, particularly those in industries with strategic importance, such as automotive, aerospace, or advanced manufacturing.

  7. Prominent investors: Influential venture capitalists or private equity investors who can shape investment decisions in key industries.

  8. Media figures: Well-known journalists or media personalities who have the power to shape public opinion and narratives in Michigan.

  9. Think tank experts: Analysts or researchers at influential policy institutions in Michigan who can impact policy recommendations and public discourse.

  10. Lobbyists or political consultants: Individuals with strong connections to Michigan's political scene and the ability to influence lawmakers and policy decisions.

This hypothetical list is meant to illustrate the types of individuals who could be targeted by an elite capture program, based on their positions and potential influence. It's important to emphasize that this list does not imply any real-world connections or accusations against specific individuals.

Now let’s take a look at something that might have helped China narrow the list. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach, which took place in 2014-2015, exposed the personal information of millions of U.S. federal employees, including sensitive information from background investigations. The potential exploitation of the data breach could theoretically help China in its elite capture efforts in Michigan in several ways:

  • The data breach may have provided China with information on individuals who hold positions of power or influence in Michigan, either through direct employment by the federal government or through connections with federal agencies.

  • The exposed data could give China insights into individuals' personal lives, financial situations, and other sensitive information. This knowledge could be used to identify vulnerabilities that can be exploited for blackmail or manipulation.

  • It could help China understand the social and professional networks of influential individuals in Michigan, revealing connections that can be used to further the elite capture campaign.

  • Access to detailed personal information could enable China to design more effective influence operations, as they can better understand individuals' motivations, preferences, and vulnerabilities.

  • The data breach exposed information on individuals with security clearances. China could potentially use this information to identify individuals with access to sensitive information or systems and attempt to compromise them.

It's important to note that these are hypothetical scenarios based on the potential exploitation of the OPM data breach. The breach has undoubtedly raised concerns about the privacy and security of U.S. federal employees and the potential risks posed by foreign adversaries seeking to leverage the exposed information for their own purposes.

It's challenging to pinpoint specific defense contractors in Michigan that were most impacted by the OPM data breach, as the breach affected millions of current and former U.S. federal employees and their families. However, some of the largest defense contractors with operations in Michigan, which may have had employees affected by the breach, include:

  1. General Dynamics: A global aerospace and defense company with various business units, including land systems, which is headquartered in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

  2. Lockheed Martin: A major aerospace and defense company with operations in various locations across Michigan, including Grand Rapids.

  3. BAE Systems: A global defense, aerospace, and security company with operations in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

  4. Raytheon Technologies: A prominent aerospace and defense company with facilities in Michigan, including Troy.

  5. L3Harris Technologies: A leading aerospace and defense technology company with operations in several locations across Michigan, including Grand Rapids and Muskegon.

  6. Northrop Grumman: A global aerospace and defense technology company with a presence in Michigan, including locations in Auburn Hills and Plymouth.

These are some of the largest defense contractors with operations in Michigan. It is important to note that the OPM data breach affected a wide range of individuals and organizations, so the impact on specific defense contractors is difficult to determine. The companies listed above, like others in the industry, may have taken steps to address the potential risks associated with the breach by implementing additional security measures and providing support to affected employees.

(Editors Note: It is essential to differentiate the Communist Chinese Party from China as a whole. The CCP's membership is currently estimated to be only around 100 million while China's population numbers over 1.4 Billion. As we are writing legislation, it is vital to consider the vast difference between the hard-working, freedom loving Chinese, with a Christian population that could be as high as 300 Million, from the Communist Chinese Party (CCP). We, as freedom-loving Americans, must be largely concerned with freeing the Chinese people from their CCP-captors as opposed to going to war with the nation of China.)

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