Media Reports Show China Did Not Attend Meeting in which Rumored Chinese Defector Was Shown Present
Simone Gao: Welcome to Zooming In China. I’m Simone Gao.
The world is looking for one man: Dong Jingwei, vice minister of the Ministry of State Security for the Chinese government.
China claims that he still resides there and serves in his post, offering meeting minutes and a brief video alleged to be from a meeting he recently attended. Online news sources, including RedState, say differently. Claiming that Dong defected in mid-February under the pretense of visiting his daughter, who is attending college in California.
U.S. officials from multiple agencies have denied the rumor or indicated that the defection story was inaccurate, but did not confirm the whereabouts of Dong Jingwei.
Although we can not independently confirm Dong Jingwei’s defection and his current residence in the U.S.. Based on our own research, however, I have concluded that it is very likely that the China Central Television's report about Dong Jingwei attending a meeting in China was fake. Let me tell you why.
On June 24, China Central Television aired a news piece that showed Dong with a seat at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's national security secretaries 16th meeting. The news said the Deputy Minister of Public Security of China Zhao Kezhi attended the meeting virtually and made a speech. However, in the footage, they not only showed Zhao Kezhi, but also Dong Jingwei at the table with Zhao Kezhi, indicating that Dong also attended the meeting. Most seem to believe this as evidence that Dong did not defect to the U.S..
However, this clip raises more questions than it answers.
First of all, since CCTV did not offer a meeting location, or list of those attending, we reviewed the Shanghai Cooperation Organizations’s website and found that there was no information about this meeting whatsoever. However, they had coverage of the previous national security secretaries meetings every year.
Other news organizations from India, Pakistan and Russia did report on this year’s meeting, and did have detailed information about who attended and what they discussed.
There was no mention of China’s presence among all these reports. There was also no mention of a virtual session of the meeting that CCTV reported that China attended. Actually, Yahoo India said China did not attend the meeting.
In the group photo taken at the end of the meeting, no Chinese person is to be found.
Furthermore, in their coverage of that meeting, the background is very different from the video provided by the CCTV. Theirs are consistent and showed the ministers met in a hotel ballroom like location. Whereas the CCTV video showed a large blue background with the name and date of the meeting written on the wall.
In fact, the CCTV background is very similar to the one from the 2020 session of that meeting which was held virtually due to the pandemic. In Particular, Dong Jingwei looked exactly the same as last year. Only the color of his tie from last year was purple, but dark gray this year. There are small details that are different too, such as the color of the teapot on the table and other small items on the table are positioned differently as well. But those items are static.
Also, due to the pandemic, attendees were seated six feet apart in the 2020 virtual meeting. It is exactly the same for the 2021 meeting. However, other reports on the SCO website show that in 2021, in various SCO meetings, people are not exercising social distancing at all.
Although no source confirms a virtual session of the meeting. We contacted India Today, the news outlet that reported on this meeting, to confirm whether or not a virtual session was allowed for China but have not yet received a response.
Since CCTV reported that the deputy minister of Public Security of China Zhao Kezhi made an important speech at the meeting, I would assume this would be considered his input into the meeting and therefore the final declaration of the meeting should include him as a contributor. But when other news outlets reported on the discussion and the final declaration the ministers produced, China was not mentioned at all.
So, China definitely did not attend the meeting physically, and very likely, there was no virtual session for them to attend either.
Why would China not attend this meeting? This fact itself is worth considering. Since China is one of the founding nations of this organization, it attended this meeting every year in the previous years. In particular, Dong Jingwei attended every year. Why would China not attend this year? Is it because of Covid? If so, how do you explain that China allowed zero social distancing at the SCO meetings in China? Or are there other reasons? Could it be that someone defected and they don’t want people to know about it? Or they fear others will defect on an occasion like this? I will leave it for you to decide.
Next, let’s talk about China’s reaction to the Dong Jingwei defection story other than the CCTV report.
In an early indication that Dong’s defection have truth to them, China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection recently published an article titled: “Reviewing the classics and moving forward: Never betray the party is more than just an oath” on their website. By “the classics,” they are referring to a notice issued on May 21, 1931 following the defection of Gu Shunzhang.
Gu was an early leader of the Communist Party of China, trained as a spy and tasked with eliminating those who betrayed the CCP. On a mission, while assigned to assassinate Chiang Kai-shek in Wuhan, he was identified by special services, arrested and pressured to defect from the Party. He did so and, as a retribution, Party leaders ordered the deaths of his immediate and extended family members. Only his young daughter and a nephew were spared.
The article, then, was a clear message to Dong and any who might be considering defecting from China: the CCP fights against all traitors.
In fact, the CCP has been particularly alert to officials defecting in recent years. According to religious liberty and human rights magazine Bitter Winter, the number of those forced to surrender their passports has expanded and now includes government officials, employees of state-owned enterprises, schoolteachers, and hospital employees, often even after those employees have retired.
To be granted a license to travel, they must now submit an application which will be reviewed for “political reliability, clear history, love of socialism, and the motherland, etc.” The application review will involve the applicant and their family members, a clear tie back to the idea that family members will be subject to prison, torture or even death if the traveler betrays the Party.
Following approval of an application, travelers are now required to write a “letter of understanding” before their travel, agreeing not to participate in any overseas organizations, making negative comments about China or disclose any Chinese government secrets.
Although the Party has tightened up the control of its people, the desire to defect keeps rising. Because in China, if you choose the wrong side of Xi Jinping or can not control your mouth, you will not end up well.
A good example of this is Ren Zhiqiang, a princeling but an outspoken critic of the party and Xi Jinping. He was jailed for 18 years for the crime of mocking Xi Jinping. Jack Ma is another notable and more current example of someone who was harshly punished for challenging the State. In his case, it was his wealth and power that was seen as a threat to the State.
But the punishments are creeping closer to home for Xi Jinping, suggesting a high-level power struggle and chaos within this dangerous regime. In late April 2021, Dong Hong, the right-hand man of Xi Jinping’s Vice President, was formally accused of taking bribes during his tenure as the anti-corruption inspector. Dong was jailed, and speculation is circling that the real target is his boss Vice-President Wang Qishan.
There is no question why, in that context, Dong Jingwei would risk his life to flee China for the U.S. and to bring key CCP secrets with him. Exactly what secrets he will reveal, and exactly what that will mean for the U.S./China relations, remains to be seen. What is becoming more and more clear is that Dong is most likely no longer in China, and the “terabytes of data” he is said to have provided to the DIA are no longer CCP secrets.
This concludes today’s program. Please like, share and subscribe to my channel if you like our production. Also don’t forget to register for my membership website: Zoomingin.tv. $5 dollars a month and cancel any time. The Full length of my exclusive interview with Repulican National Committeeman Solomon Yu about Dong Jingwei is on my membership website right now. Last thing, you can also donate to me on my website. Thanks for watching, I am Simone Gao. and I will see you next time.