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China’s Role In America’s Unrest

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By Katrina Trinko, The Daily Signal | March 14, 2024

China knows that a weakened American society will mean an easier path for China to triumph on the international stage.

In his explosive new book “Blood Money: Why the Powerful Turn a Blind Eye While China Kills Americans,” Peter Schweizer chronicles China’s surprising ties to the Ferguson protests and the 2020 riots. “Blood Money” also exposes how China is pushing fentanyl to the United States, knowing it will devastate our country, and how a Chinese billionaire is spending significant money to promote transgenderism in the United States, even as China remains an unfriendly place for LGBTQ Chinese. Finally, China is exporting a tool to the United States that increases the likelihood of mass shootings.

To discuss all this and more, Schweizer joined “The Daily Podcast.” Read a lightly edited transcript of our conversation below.

Katrina Trinko: Joining me today is Peter Schweizer, author of the new book “Blood Money: Why the Powerful Turn a Blind Eye While China Kills Americans.” Peter is also the president of the Government Accountability Institute and hosts a podcast, “The Drill Down.” Peter, thanks for joining us today.

Peter Schweizer: Great to be with you. Thanks so much for having me.

Trinko: So I found one of the most interesting things in “Blood Money” was how you chronicled how China is really affecting the United States through social media, through political organization, through protests, in a way that really isn’t perceived by most Americans. It’s very hidden.

And it’s affected a lot of unrest in the United States, from Ferguson to the George Floyd riots to the trans movement to even the recent Israel-Hamas fights and protests. So I want to get into all those issues with you, but first of all, why is China so interested in creating social unrest in the U.S.? What’s the end game for them?

Schweizer: Well, it’s a great question. They want to defeat the United States, but they don’t want to fight a kinetic war. So they have adopted a strategy called disintegration warfare, which, as the name implies, their goal is to see the disintegration of the United States.

It’s not to say that they cause all of our internal problems, but absolutely they exacerbate them, they add accelerants to them. And so this is part of their strategy. Their hope is they can defeat the United States without actually having to fight a kinetic or fighting war.

Trinko: So, going into those examples of protests I mentioned, let’s start with Ferguson. So that was back in 2014. Of course, in Ferguson, a black man, Michael Brown, was shot by a police officer. There was extensive rioting and protests. Of course, this was exactly the kind of story that we found out more facts as the story developed that showed what had happened was very different than how it was originally reported. But what role did China play in the unrest after Ferguson?

Schweizer: Yeah, I think the important thing that people don’t understand is there are two groups very tightly linked to Beijing that are behind a lot of the protests on racial unrest and also today also related to Hamas. These are FRSO (Freedom Road Socialist Organization) and PSL (Party for Socialism and Liberation). These are groups that are ideologically beholden to China. They have pledged their loyalty to the [Chinese Communist Party]. There is an interchange between the leaderships. There’s even the flow of money indirectly.

And these groups got involved very early on in Ferguson and then, of course, in 2020 during the BLM protests. So these are the organizations that are seeking to really radicalize these protests. It’s one thing for people to come out and say, “We’re concerned about civil rights issues.” What these groups are saying is, “All police are racist. The police need to be abolished.” And they’re creating a violent protest scenario. They started in Ferguson, and it has just caught fire since then.

Trinko: So these two groups you mentioned, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the Party for Socialism and Liberation, or they’re also known by their acronyms, so you mentioned they have ties to China. Now, are these people who are sympathetic to the communist movement? I think you mentioned indirect funding. Are they getting money from China? Are they getting training from China? Is it all shrouded in mystery? What exactly do we know about these two groups and how they’re connected to China?

Schweizer: Great question. There’s an absolute ideological commitment. These groups have pledged their loyalty to the CCP, but there’s also the flow of funds. And it’s kind of an interesting, indirect route, but I still think it has Beijing’s fingerprints on it.

In the case of PSL, two of the leaders of PSL run an organization called People’s Forum that is funded by an American who lives in China named Roy Singham. Roy Singham is an American businessman who sold his business to a investment firm partly owned by the Chinese government. He promptly moved to China. He has pledged his loyalty to the CCP, and he’s poured some $160 million into radical causes in the United States.

So you could say that it’s Roy Singham that’s funding this, but Roy Singham has pledged his support to the CCP. I think this is a very curious and effective way to avoid the direct flow of funds from Beijing to these American groups, but I still think they’re absolutely linked in financial terms.

Trinko: So, as you mentioned, they got involved in the Black Lives Matter riots and the Israel-Hamas stuff. Are they some of the main leaders of protests now? What are these two groups? What’s sort of their role? And do you think the people who they’re organizing are aware of their ties to China?

Schweizer: No, that’s a great question. I think the vast majority of the people that have been out protesting, whether it’s related to racial issues or related to the Middle East, are out there protesting because they feel passionately about a certain issue. What these groups do is they want to radicalize it.

So you have individuals who may, I would argue naively, say, “We want to cease-fire in the Middle East.” What these organizations do is push that further and say, “No,” that, “Israel is a terrorist organization. Hamas are freedom fighters. We need to not only push for a cease-fire, we need to be pro-Hamas.”

They also seek to make these protests violent. They want conflict. So they’re the ones that are likely to start throwing things at the police, to start breaking windows. That’s part of the divisive strategy that Beijing has. They want Americans fighting and feuding angrily at each other. They want them pushing the extremes.

I think most of the people in the street that are attending these rallies don’t really know about these organizations, or they don’t really know that these organizations are part of Beijing’s effort to radicalize America.

Trinko: So, speaking of violence, in the book “Blood Money,” you also talk about how China has a role to play in the mass shootings in the United States in recent years. Can you talk about that?

Schweizer: Yeah. There’s a device called a Glock switch or an auto-sear switch. This is a device that’s highly illegal in the United States. You can only get one with a federal permit, and certainly, if you are a felon, you cannot have one.

What a Glock switch basically does is you insert it into a Glock handgun, and it converts a Glock handgun to a fully automatic machine gun. This is something that China, beginning in 2018, started smuggling into the United States.

I obtained a lot of documents from the Department of Homeland Security [and] Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms that talks about China doing this. And explicitly, specifically, they were targeting these switches at organized crime and drug syndicates operating in the United States. So it gives those criminal elements more firepower than dealing with the police.

This is a massive problem. It has changed the equation on the street. You can go on YouTube and search for “Glock switch police,” and you will find numerous videos of police officers being subject to a barrage of machine gun fire because of these Glock switches. This is, again, part of China’s plan to destabilize America.

And the frosting on the cake, as it were, is they actually run stories in Chinese media about machine gun fire on the streets of America. What, of course, they omit is the fact that they were the ones that actually provided these to these criminal elements operating in the United States.

Trinko: Ah, how convenient. Well, I guess communist dictatorships are not known for free press. Speaking of unrest as well, you also write in “Blood Money” about China and how they’re using social media in the United States. And I think we’re all very familiar about China’s ties to TikTok, or at least many conservatives are, and how TikTok is dangerous for that, unless you want China to know everything about you.

But you talk about Twitter, or X. You also mentioned YouTube as a place where China is playing a role that is, again, hidden, but is having a large outsized impact. Can you talk some more about that?

Schweizer: Sure. I mean, I guess if there are some grounds for optimism in the book, it would be my contention that we are perhaps not as divided in this country as it seems, that it’s been magnified on social media.

And the Chinese government has a very sophisticated operation involving thousands of officials. And what these officials do in China is each one of these officials will control a thousand social media accounts. These could be on X, these could be on YouTube.

And essentially, what these programs do or what these profiles do is they pose as Americans. And half of these accounts essentially say, “America’s a hopelessly racist, bigoted society, and it’s never going to change.” And the other half are running stories and making statements that, “I only like white people.”

What they’re really trying to do is push the extremes and magnify the conflicts that already exist in American society. This is, again, part of a concerted effort. In 2020, there were hundreds of thousands of social media accounts on Twitter that were taken down because they were detected to be part of this campaign. But, of course, there are many of them that go undetected. And again, the goal here is to get Americans at each other’s throats, focused on each other rather than what China is doing against the United States.

Trinko: Which is fascinating and definitely gives me food for thought when I’m looking at Twitter replies like, “OK, maybe this is just a Chinese bot.”

Schweizer: Yes.

Trinko: So interesting to think about. Now, China, from my understanding, is not exactly welcoming to the LGBT community, and yet you write that a Chinese billionaire has been very involved in the trans movement in the United States. What the heck is going on there?

Schweizer: Yeah, this is probably the most surprising finding when I was researching “Blood Money.” There are two Chinese billionaires, China-based billionaires, who are among the largest funders of the trans movement in the United States. I mean, it kind of emerged out of nowhere. And I think this funding is part of the reason.

The first one is the previously mentioned Roy Singham, who’s poured $160 million into radical causes. That includes the trans movement. He’s, of course, an American that lives in Beijing, is very close to the regime. The second one is a guy named Joe Tsai. Joe Tsai was a co-founder and is the current chairman of Alibaba, which is the Amazon of China. Joe Tsai has put tens of millions of dollars into trans research and trans causes in the United States.

What’s curious about both of these gentlemen is that neither one of them are trans. It does not appear that any of their family members are. But the most curious aspect of it is they don’t actually advocate for these positions in China itself.

And as you mentioned, the situation there for the LGBTQ community is far more, let’s say, perilous than it certainly is in the United States. They even don’t want effeminate men on television because they feel it weakens their society. And yet, these two gentlemen are advocating for these causes in the United States, while remaining silent in China.

I personally believe this is partly because this is part of this effort to lead to the social destabilization in the United States, to exacerbate social conflict. And I think when you look at this issue and this cause, they’ve been quite effective, and I think their money has been very important.

Trinko: So you talked a bit about Singham and how his money can be traced back to China, but what about Tsai? Why do we believe that this isn’t just some billionaire acting independently?

Schweizer: No, great question. So, if you look at the history of Alibaba, there are scholars from Harvard and George Washington University who’ve studied the ownership structure of Alibaba. Joe Tsai is the current chairman. He was the co-founder. But those scholars believe, and many others do as well, that Alibaba is effectively a state-owned company in China. We know he’s very pro-CCP. He takes the CCP position on a variety of other issues. He’s gone on college campuses in America spouting the CCP line.

So this is the sort of thing that he absolutely would not be doing, except for the fact that the CCP is fine with him doing it or may even potentially be sanctioning it. But the company that he chairs, that he co-founded is effectively a state-owned company in China. Most people who have looked at the ownership structure concede that.

Trinko: Got it. Now you also talk about how China is very deeply involved in the fentanyl that we see just wrecking havoc on Americans right now, you know, so many deaths as a result of fentanyl. What’s China’s role in this?

Schweizer: Yeah. China is really the senior partner compared to the drug cartels. Most people, of course, focus on the drug cartels because we’re so used to them over the decades doing this, but were it not for China’s involvement, the drug cartels would really effectively not be in the fentanyl business.

China provides the precursors for the chemicals. We know that there are 2,000 Chinese nationals in northern Mexico that are helping the cartels turn these precursors into the actual fentanyl. To deliver the fentanyl, the drug cartels need pill presses, and they need molds to make the fentanyl into the pills so they look like the Adderall or the Vicodin. Because people that are dying of this poisoning don’t even really know they’re taking fentanyl. They think they’re taking some other drug. And those pill presses and those pill molds also come from China.

When the drug cartels are communicating amongst themselves, they need secure communications. They use Chinese apps, and they use Chinese-based communication devices because they know that China will not turn those over to U.S. law enforcement.

And then the final piece of the puzzle is the actual money laundering. Drug cartels have to launder a huge amount of money. Back in the days, when it was largely about cocaine, the drug cartels would use South American banks to launder their money. Today, they are using Chinese state-owned banks, and they often use Chinese students in the United States on education visas to launder the money. So this is effectively a Chinese operation with the Mexican drug cartels operating as the junior partner.

Trinko: So, Peter, you just outlined how China’s very involved in fentanyl right now, but in Blood Money,” you also detailed how China has a long history of basically waging drug wars against the United States. What’s that history, and why is China so fond of this strategy?

Schweizer: Yeah, they’re fond of the strategy because it’s worked. During the Vietnam War era, Zhou Enlai, the foreign minister, bragged to Egypt’s President [Gamal Abdel] Nasser that they were going to use opium heroin as a weapon against American soldiers in Vietnam, and they did. They ended up being hugely successful, from their standpoint, in reducing our military effectiveness and addicting American GIs to heroin.

So it’s been a successful strategy in the past. That’s why I think they’re emulating it. And they’re going to continue to do so because it’s successful. Right now, fentanyl poisoning is the leading cause of death among Americans age 45 and under. And I wouldn’t blame them to continue to use it, unfortunately, because it has worked so well.

Trinko: So we’ve talked about all these problems. What can the United States do? I mean, how do you handle so many different issues, from drugs to bots? What can be done?

Schweizer: I think the beginning is awareness, realize what’s going on. It’s not to say that China’s responsible for all these problems, but they’re absolutely engaging in this behavior, and we need to have leadership in Washington that recognizes it and holds China into account.

So what does that look like? Well, you need to raise these issues related to fentanyl not in an indirect way, the way that [President] Joe Biden has. Joe Biden says, “There won’t be any finger-pointing over this issue.” There absolutely needs to be finger-pointing. And as long as China is doing this, we cannot have a normal relationship with that government because they are literally killing Americans. So awareness is the beginning.

Then that awareness, I think, leads to better leadership in Washington and a desire to address these things. And once we start to address them, I think the solutions are pretty clear. There are a lot of things that China needs from us, our access to our commercial markets, access to our financial markets. They should have none of that until they’ve actually effectively addressed these issues. That’s where I think this all begins.

Trinko: And now this is, I believe, the second book you’ve written about China, both very well-detailed, very well-researched. What, in particular, surprised you when you were researching “Blood Money”?

Schweizer: I think to the extent of their involvement in so many of the problems we have in this country. Again, they didn’t cause them, but they’re exacerbating them. They’re quite successful. And I think, frankly, the lack of awareness by our political leadership.

Part of it, as I chronicle in the book, I think, is among a lot of our leaders, they just simply don’t want the heavy lift, the consequence that comes from acknowledging what’s going on. They want their jobs to be easier, not harder, and this certainly makes it harder. But then there’s a smaller subset of people who have commercial ties to China that makes it very difficult for them to address these issues without it blowing back on them. And that, I think, is of course, a deeper problem.

Trinko: And that’s a bipartisan problem, right?

Schweizer: Yes, that’s a problem with both Democrats and Republicans. I highlight this problem as it relates to Joe Biden, but also as it relates to Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate.

Trinko: Yeah, not an area that we want bipartisanship on necessarily.

Schweizer: Exactly right.

Trinko: Well, that is Peter Schweizer. Thank you so much for joining us. As I mentioned, you have a new book out, “Blood Money,” available wherever books are sold. It’s really well-researched, very interesting, an eye-opening look at China’s involvement in American lives.

Schweizer: Thanks for joining me, and thanks for having me on. Appreciate it.

Katrina Trinko is the director and editor-in-chief of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal Podcast.

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