The People’s Liberation Army (PLA), under the orders of the Chinese communist regime, has ventured into so many controversial fields that it brings to mind the Hydra. This mythical seven-headed beast plagued the seas of Ancient Greece.
While nations have traditionally boasted of their armies to allies and enemies alike, such displays have also been part of their deterrence strategy to maintain stability at home and abroad.
However, for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the primary objectives of its army have been overstepped under the alleged argument of national security. The CCP focuses on establishing “Unrestricted War” and has turned it into a psychopolitical instrument of many heads rather than a military instrument of combat used to challenge the rest of the world.
According to the former president of the Washington-based International Strategic Studies Association, Australian Gregory Copley, international relations have become so intertwined that the specter of a traditional-style “hot war” is receding ever further, and that if the CCP attempts to destroy the U.S. in that arena, it risks its defeat.
Hence, the effort by “… Beijing to project power without having to risk a hot war because a hot war would be disastrous for the People’s Republic of China. Just as a hot war was disastrous for Japan when it faced a similar one,” toward the end of World War II, Copley argued on Geopolitics & Empire two years ago.
Moreover, he recalled that in 2018, the CCP declared before its leadership war on the United States, whose supposed victory would be celebrated in 2049 for the 100th anniversary of the occupation of mainland China, and “… the new world rules based world order that would be under Beijing’s terms.”
However, it must be considered that many of the figures on the Chinese regime’s capabilities, number of soldiers, and quantities of weapons are not publicly accessible. As a result the truth of the information is not easy to determine, and a significant part of them could be part of its propaganda.
Given the above circumstances, it is understandable that the CCP is attempting world dominance using all available resources at its disposal, as determined by the “Unrestricted War,” a document issued in 1999 by Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. Their document spoke of developing “strategies” for fighting a modern war, during the tenure of CCP leader Jiang Zemin.
Already at that time, and knowing the inferiority of their military conditions, Qiao and Wang determined that the use of traditional warfare was obsolete. Updated resources were necessary, extending the field of combat everywhere and without respite “to force the enemy to submit to [the CCP’s] own will.”
The new resources to be used would include: “battlefield and non-battlefield, warfare and non-warfare, military and non-military which is more specifically combining stealth aircraft and cruise missiles with network killers, combining nuclear deterrence, financial wars and terrorist attacks,” among others.
They also argued that “the first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules, with nothing forbidden,” turning the entire society into the battlefield. Meanwhile, the public was deliberately kept distracted and unaware. This strategy is based on old deception tactics implemented by the Soviet Union.
In this regard, the CEO of the global intelligence and cyber advisory company, BlackOps Partners Corp, Casey Fleming, defined the CCP’s strategies as a system of “asymmetric hybrid warfare.” By which he means they would try to use a combination of conventional and unconventional tactics to achieve any number of objectives.
Creation of super soldiers
Although the CCP’s military is at a disadvantage compared to that of the United States, it is exploring other fields in its race for first place. One of the innovations would be the implementation of super-soldiers, genetically modified human beings, in contravention of ethics.
Towards the end of 2020, the then U.S. Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, was blunt in declaring: “If I could communicate one thing to the American people from this unique vantage point, it is that the People’s Republic of China poses the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War II.”
He further charged, “There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing’s pursuit of power. U.S. intelligence shows that China has even conducted human testing on members of the People’s Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities.”
In the realm of possibility, genetically enhanced troops would be able to heal quickly and would be able to display greater strength and endurance than regular soldiers. Genetically modified super soldiers would be endowed with superhuman strength and speed.
For their part, U.S. researchers Elsa Kania and Wilson VornDick referred to the Chinese military’s biotechnology studies, including the gene-editing tool known as Clustered Regularly Spaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR).
In their article for the Jamestown Foundation, they warn, “However, at a time when the Central Military Commission (CMC) Science and Technology Commission is also supporting research in human performance enhancement and ‘new concept’ biotechnology, the potential intersections of these interests merit concern and consideration.'”
They further explain that CRISPR can be used to increase the effectiveness of personnel in combat and that it has “great potential” in that field, being one of the top three “human performance enhancement technologies.” However, it was still experimental in those days.
Kania and VornDick highlighted in 2019 the PLA’s involvement in experimentation with that genetic modification technique: “Strikingly, PLA medical institutions, particularly the PLA General Hospital and also the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, are involved in five of the trials known to be underway at present.”
They also question the ethical implications of these experiments, particularly those conducted by the Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who announced at the end of 2018 the creation of the first genetically modified babies.
“Infamously, the first humans to be subject to genetic engineering were also born in China as a result of the research of He Jianqui, who removed the gene CCR5 to give twin babies immunity to HIV,” wrote Kania and VornDick.
They added: “This breach of ethics has been condemned by the scientific community within China and worldwide, while also prompting the development of a new law on human gene editing.”
In the same report, these researchers mention others of the CCP’s fields of action: “Today, the PRC is actively exploring new frontiers of such biological cross-disciplinary technologies: from these prominent developments in CRISPR to bionic robotics, intelligentized exoskeletons, and techniques for human-machine collaboration.”
On the other hand, this aspiration to obtain beings with exceptional combat capabilities contrasts sharply with notions about the possible physical and emotional limitations attributed to regular PLA soldiers.
The characteristics of the members of the armed forces of the Chinese regime are substantially influenced by the one-child policy. That policy has resulted in those who manage to grow up in the family becoming the center of attention—not only of their parents and grandparents—but also of the other members of the family nucleus, who shower them with pampering and care.
In 2012, expert Liu Mingfu of China National Defense University stated that at least 70% of Chinese soldiers are only children, and the percentage is 80% for soldiers who directly wield weapons.
These children then join the army and become soldiers. They find it challenging to endure the strict disciplinary conditions, when military experts have always claimed that “discipline is the strength of the army,” thus becoming the PLA’s Achilles heel.
According to SCMP, due to the severe shortage of troops, Chinese military officers have to learn to compromise and make concessions to young Generation Z recruits (born between 1995 and 2010) to secure their numbers, which is one of their most significant weaknesses.
The PLA has numerous regular troops however, on Chinese territory, there are at least 4.3 million former members of the CCP army and police in the service of the country’s 5,000 security companies, of which about 20 are allowed to hire abroad.
Among these, the company DeWe Security, founded in 2011 by former military and police officers of the Chinese regime, stands out, with 352 Chinese employees living abroad, which have links to about 3,000 local employees.
However, the term “private security company” is “misleading and inaccurate in the Chinese context.” Moreover, the CCP requires all companies to obey its directives, hence the slogan: “as the state advances, the private sector retreats” (guo jin, min tui)” published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in June.
As a result, dealing with some of the Chinese companies carries risks, “moreover, Chinese security contracting comes with many of the same risks associated with some Chinese SOEs, including a lack of transparency, weak national controls, undue influence on regime elites, and social tensions.”
In addition, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies believes that the numerous: “… proliferation of foreign security firms has important policy implications for Africa as it undermines the regimes’s role as the primary security provider within a country and heightens the risk of human rights violations.”
Also, “few doubt that the groups are solidly under the control of China’s national security bureaucracy,” according to Andrew Davenport, chief operating officer of RWR Advisory Group, a risk consultancy, who sees them as part of a “parallel security strategy.”
The strategy of hiring mercenaries in the countries where it has a presence is another of the practices that increase the armed influence of the CCP, and the concern expressed in Argentina a few months ago serves as an example.
In this country, the hiring of mercenaries by the company China Overseas Security Group (COSG), has raised concern because Argentina is not linked to this great project of the CCP that connects more than 71 countries. COSG is usually used in the countries that are part of the Belt and Road (BRI) project,
The company, which presents itself as a “private security” company, “raised endless questions regarding the motives behind the hiring of paramilitary troops in the national territory,” reported the Argentine media Perfil on Nov. 20.
Another of the strategic fields in which the CCP is involved is cyber warfare, which involves actions to attack and attempt to damage another country’s computers or information networks by using computer viruses or blocking access to its information services.
Given the high current dependence on computer systems for both simple and complex tasks, attacks against them are often traumatic for the normal functioning of any country.
The specialized field of cybernetics links several disciplines in studying the structure of regulatory systems; that is, it studies energy flows closely linked to control theory and systems theory, so it is also a field of action for the PLA, driven by its leader Xi Jinping.
The PLA views military-specific information operations (I.O.) as a means to achieve information dominance in the early stages of a conflict and continues to expand the scope and frequency of I.O. in training exercises for its troops.
Additionally, “China presents a prolific and effective cyber-espionage threat, possesses substantial cyber-attack capabilities, and presents a growing influence threat.” the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, reported in the 2021 Annual Threat Assessment.
One such application would be similar to the catastrophic cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline that supplies the East Coast of the United States, which drastically limited gasoline purchases in 17 states last year, both for cars and planes, nearly paralyzing that region of the country.
There are many more controversial projects involving the PLA, which will indeed be addressed in later writings. But, for now, a few more will be mentioned in which it is no longer other nations that are targeted but the Chinese people themselves.
Human Organ Harvesting and the PLA
While armies are often linked to controversial missions with obscure and dubious results, one of the actions most rejected by all peoples are those in which the security corps specially trained and equipped to protect it turns against it; continuing with the simile presented initially, this would represent one of the most poisonous heads of the Hydra.
That is one of the accusations tainting the PLA according to investigations by various independent research groups, which have uncovered an extensive network of trafficking in human organs for sale, involving CCP military hospitals.
The forced organ harvesting crimes were first exposed in 2006 by two Canadian lawyers, David Kilgour, Canada’s former Secretary of State for the Asia Pacific, and David Matas, a human rights lawyer in a lengthy report entitled “Bloody Harvest.”
Likewise, the China Tribunal, made up of lawyers and doctors from different parts of the world, reached the same conclusions in March 2020.
The victims are mainly practitioners of Falun Dafa, an ancient discipline of the Buddha School persecuted in China since 1999. However, recent reports indicate that Uyghurs in Xinjiang province are also targeted for organ harvesting.
On the other hand, according to the 2019 research findings of scientists Matthew Peter Robertson, Raymond L. Hinde, and Jacob Lavee, official data provided by the Chinese regime on voluntary organ donations have been severely manipulated.
“Provincial Red Cross data was found to exhibit various anomalies including implausible rates associated with transplants and inconsistencies with hospital-based donation reports. Some of the anomalies strongly imply significant use of nonvoluntary donors,” the scientists note after analyzing the data thoroughly.
They add: “One of the most troubling consequences of the data falsification and continued use of nonvoluntary organs in the official allocation mechanisms is that it is based on trust. That trust which our analysis seems to indicate has been violated and is therefore no longer warranted,” the authors conclude.
No less torturing for the Chinese people is the repression and genocide of which many countries and international organizations accuse the CCP, which are carried out by the military and other administrative or security institutions.
From the long list of outrages committed by the CCP, we will only mention the stripping of democratic freedoms in Hong Kong, which it reached after violating the international treaty it signed with the United Kingdom which it promised to guarantee.
After violently repressing citizens who defended their rights and persecuting them even abroad, it generated a historic exodus last year when almost 90,000 residents left the city.
On the other hand, the outrages and human rights violations against racial and religious minorities such as the Uighurs and Falun Dafa practitioners are no less scandalous.
International organizations estimate that millions of Uighurs are interned in “re-education” camps to be exploited for labor. In addition, their women are forced to have abortions, and their children are separated from their culture, in maneuvers that have been qualified by countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada as genocide.
Continuing with another analogy from Greek mythology, we could take that of the sword of Damocles, which hangs over the heads of the powerful, implying that their fate hangs in the balance; in the case of the CCP’s army, the threats are no lesser, starting in this case with those represented by its leaders.
One of them, and not a minor one, is the corruption within the ranks of the CCP that undermines its attack and defense systems and reflects a practice that harasses the different levels of this type of political system not elected by the people crosses the boundaries of ethics.
As recently as Feb. 25, at least 14 Chinese officials located in 11 regions of the country were removed from office, and some of them were sentenced to prison, including the former vice-chairman of the Hengyang Municipal Committee, Huang Baojin, sentenced to life imprisonment following an accusation of accepting bribes worth $10.2 million, Beijing officially reported.
Other offenses committed by the dismissed officials were their involvement in illegal employment activities and paid to broker deals after retirement, transferrence and concealment of evidence, abuse of official position to conduct power and money transactions, violation of disciplines and laws, causing significant economic losses to the state. Some of those convicted were expelled from the CCP.
Expanding the context, since 2013, more than 160 military generals of the Chinese regime have been investigated, according to Dr. Wang Youqun, former supervisor of the CCP’s Central Discipline Commission.
These crimes have been recorded for decades and extend to all fields of the Chinese regime. For example, a report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in 2014 described that among the 22,000 clients with residency in China and Hong Kong and overseas investments were the family members of top CCP leaders.
Moreover, Foreign Policy records in a 2009 article in which it looked at the trajectory of this phenomenon over 14 years:
“Dishonest officials today face little risk of serious punishment. On average, 140,000 party officials and members are caught in corruption scandals every year in the 1990s, and only 5.6% of these were criminally prosecuted.”
It adds: “In 2004, 170,850 party officials and members were implicated, but only 4,915 (or 2.9%) were subject to criminal prosecution. The culture of official impunity is thriving in China.”
Long-term cultural impact
After developing a great civilization enlightened by wisdom emanating directly from the Gods, Chinese society became a cultural beacon for the rest of the world, which appreciated and admired works of art in disciplines such as painting, sculpture, music, dance, poetry, and literature, among others.
Scientific achievements such as the printing press, the compass, and gunpowder, as well as the profound advances in astronomy, also stood out. These achievements were supported by the profound insights and recommendations of philosophers and emperors who ruled for millennia.
However, in a matter of a few years, the revolutionary winds that arose at the beginning of the last century initiated the collapse of classical Chinese culture and, even more seriously, the destruction of the wisdom, principles, and altruistic values that animated the spirit of that nation.
The new communist regime imposed the violence of arms, copied from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), reinforced by the repression of the Cultural Revolution. Thus began the systematic destruction of everything built by Chinese classical culture, opening for its nation a dark environment at odds with ethical values.
While it is true that the national security of all countries imposes the highest standards to guarantee the stability and progress of nations, it is becoming more and more frequent for some governments to exceed the limits imposed by the constitution and laws.The CCP surpasses them all using the long tentacles with which it has endowed its controversial army.