I researched a lot about China when I wrote DEADWATER DEEP, set around the handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese government in the late 1990s.
Even then it was clear that the West was beginning to forget that the country is still a very authoritarian Communist state. It has arguably the largest armed forces in the world and more land disputes with its neighbours than any other nation
Because of all the cheap, yet good quality goods that have poured out of China and many of its people are clearly starting to enjoy the good life, we forget that thousands of political prisoners languish in gulags at the pleasure of their own people.
It’s still one baby per family and “all animals are equal, except that some are still more equal than others”.
The omnipotent People’s Liberation Army (PLA) runs covert psychological warfare operations to influence and dupe foreign military and political leaders. According to the Sunday Times, one such is the China Association for International Friendly Contact (CAIFC), which is an organisation that sets itself up as a forum for discussion with overseas nations. Its figurehead president is Li Zhaoxing, a former foreign minister.
Others serving on the board of the CAIFC are members of the PLA’s secret and powerful Liaison Department, or Lian Luo Bu, an innocuous-sounding unit whose mission is to wage “psychological, media and legal” warfare against China’s adversaries.
Sunday Times reporter Michael Sheridan says some of those attending CAIFC events last year included former leaders of the both the UK and USA.
The West has to be careful what it selects from the Chinese menu. It’s not always what it seems. Some stuff might seem sweet but ends up with a very sour after taste.

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