The TownhallPolitics

Don’t expect a Chinese defector to do our dirty work

By Matthew Delaney 

Recently, reports came out that a top Chinese official, Dong Jingwei, fled the country and is now meeting with U.S. intelligence about how Covid-19’s spread was intentional.  

[Pause for collective gasp] 

Save your bald eagle boners for July 4th though. No matter how revelatory Dong’s information could be — and the potential is clearly very high — he’s not introducing anything new to the equation. We already blame China for this pandemic. Are we going to blame them harder? The difficult part is summoning the courage to do something about it, because anything of real consequence to China will have to come at the expense of our beloved lifestyle they support. 

Let’s start from the beginning.  

Dong is a longtime vice minister at China’s Ministry of State Security where he oversees counterintelligence, or spy catching. Basically, he’s the Chinese equivalent of the FBI’s deputy director. Him going missing, especially under the auspices that he was going to share how the outbreak in Wuhan was handled, would be massive. 

His disappearance first made news about a month ago. 

Former Fox News journalist Adam Housley reported on June 4 that there’s “increased pressure on China due to a defector with intimate knowledge” who was in the U.S. He went on to say FBI Director Christopher Wray didn’t even know about this defector right away because “they wanted to make sure they got all they needed before telling him.” 

Later reporting from conservative news outlet RedState said the defector was put into Defense Intelligence Agency’s Clandestine Services because “DIA leadership believes there are Chinese spies or sources inside the FBI, CIA, and several other federal agencies.” 

We wouldn’t find out it was Dong until nearly two weeks later when left-leaning blog SpyTalk gave us even more specifics. It said he left the country on Feb. 10 through Hong Kong with his daughter Dong Yang.  

SpyTalk went on to report that a former Chinese defector, Dr. Han Lianchan, had cited his own unnamed source “inside China.” This came after he alleged high-ranking Communist Party officials demanded that the U.S. return Dong during a summit back in March. According to Han’s source, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken refused. 

Raising even more suspicion was how sketched out China was acting.  

The Daily Beast, a solidly left-wing outlet, co-reported with SpyTalk about the rumor of Dong defecting. Additionally, they wrote how Chinese state media said Dong was at a Ministry seminar where he told officers to “crack down on enemy spies,” per the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.  

Though, as the Daily Beast noted, “the reports did not say where the seminar took place, nor did they include photos or video of Dong’s supposed appearance, further raising suspicions about his status.” 

Of course, our media couldn’t stay unified forever. Once they realized this is another political football, both sides tapped into their unnamed sources to begin crafting narratives. 

A day after their first report on Dong, the Daily Beast spoke to their own intelligence source who said, flat out, Dong being in the U.S. isn’t true. This official said that they don’t know where he is, but they know he’s in China.  

The reason, according to the Daily Beast, was two-fold. One, to quash a rumor that could sour the U.S.-China relationship. Secondly, to repel a virile Republican talking point that absolves former President Donald Trump’s blame for the virus’ spread. What completely unbiased reasoning! 

Newsweek came out soon after and said there was no basis to the rumor. The outlet even appeared to take Chinese media at face value for its photo of Dong at a conference, despite some claiming it’s photoshopped

Meanwhile, RedState reported that Dong has tons of juicy secrets about the Chinese military’s operation at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In addition, there’s models predicting the virus’ spread, its damage to the U.S. and the world, and — drumroll please — dirt on Hunter Biden’s Chinese dealings. 

Say it out loud — right-wing outlets think that a handsomely treated Chinese official suddenly grew a conscience, fled his country and shared secrets with us. All of which happen to be of the in-your-face-libtard variety they have wet dreams over. How plausible! 

Still, there was some merit in reporting. The American intelligence community already believed the initial virus spread was accidental, per journalist Adam Housley. But, according to him, the then-still-mysterious defector triggered the idea that the Chinese allowed it to spread and tried creating new variants to cover up that it came from a lab.  

RedState would later add the information Dong shared led to a “sudden crisis of confidence” in Dr. Anthony Fauci. That timeline seems to jibe with President Joe Biden and the American public’s own declining view of Fauci. This was due to the lab leak theory’s growing traction in mainstream circles. 

Remember: at the end of May, Fauci told us that the U.S. used taxpayer dollars to fund research at the lab about whether supped-up bat coronaviruses could spread to humans. It would appear they got their answer. Weeks later we’re watching Jon Stewart likely “red pill” people with his full-throated support of the lab leak theory. 

This isn’t to say Dong’s conversations with intelligence officials — if true — influenced Covid’s great unraveling over the past month and a half, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. 

One other thing to remember: Information only gets out because people want it to. Choosing to let the world know there’s a foreign agent in our country through an offbeat website and an ex-journalist are curious ways to spread the word. 

That’s why the right jumping on this story with both feet could very well end up making them look like fools. You know, in the same way they believe the left does over issues such as the racism found in banning certain swim caps

We have little reason to believe Chinese citizens-turned-informants are helpful to begin with. The former intelligence experts and observers that SpyTalk spoke with (and went on the record, mind you) said that if Dong did defect, it would be “potentially significant but not a game-changer” in terms of the U.S. approach to China.  

They’re right. Just look at the history of defectors.  

One of them helped uncover a Chinese mole inside the CIA back in the 1980s.  

Another is the brother of a failed Chinese politician who was advertised as the most valuable defector ever. That’s because he knew about the Communist Party’s nuclear weapons procedures and the security details for its top leaders.  

A third was a spy who defected to Australia. He talked about his role in infiltrating Hong Kong’s universities and media to counter the city’s pro-democracy movement. He was even assigned to fly to Taiwan and interfere in their upcoming election with a staunch, anti-China candidate on the ticket. 

There’s not a lot of evidence that these defections have improved our grasp over China. Besides, the Community Party has shown a knack for flipping our own former intelligence officers as well as planting spies in the circle of rising congressmen. So, I’d say we’re about even. 

Focusing on Dong and his great revelations misses the bigger point. Our problem with China isn’t this pandemic or what more we may learn about it, it’s how much we need them after it’s over. 

The fact that one wrong word can cost a business hundreds of millions of consumers is a force that both the NBA and Hollywood have shown us they’re at the mercy of. China is also a major producer of our plastics, electronics, clothing, and medical products. So, severing ties with them means more expensive Nikes, iPhones and Tupperware, to name just a few. 

China has already become the mark for Covid. Anti-Chinese sentiment has been rising throughout the Western world and its allies precipitously in the past 18 months. If the lab leak theory, considered a right-wing conspiracy theory 15 months ago, is now being touted by liberal golden boy Jon Stewart, you know it always had broad appeal. 

Discovering it was let out intentionally will only reinforce those feelings.  

Reality is, we’re cucked by what China provides us. From the material goods we dress ourselves in, to the entertainers we associate with as intellectuals, we’re loyal to it all. This totalitarian nation cost us a year of our lives and we’ll gladly ignore that so we can waste a paycheck on Amazon’s next Prime Day. 

Most importantly, we asked for this. Richard Nixon opening the country in the early 1970s made us dependent on the nation. 

The fascination with Dong Jingwei is emblematic of how we deal with all our problems as Americans. We’re expecting someone else — whether that be Robert Mueller, Donald Trump or the martyrdom of George Floyd — to save us from having to do some introspection that will elevate our lives.  

As we all know, the best remedy lies within. If we manage to show some detachment from the sense of comfort that’s put us in bondage, we might find the balls to punish China without the help of one of their own.

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Matthew Delaney


Matthew Delaney is a local journalist based in Washington, D.C. When he’s not questioning why he joined the media, he’s doing his part to restore some of its credibility with quality work

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