Chinese Authorities Promise to Enact Countermeasures After CIA Announces That It Will Restore Spy Networks in China

On July 24, 2023, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that China would enact countermeasures as a response to the CIA announcing it’s taking steps to rebuild spy networks inside of China. This announcement came after the US lost intelligence assets in the country over the past decade, largely the product of the Chinese state taking heavy-handed measures against foreign influence in the country. 

CIA Director William Burns made these remarks at the Aspen Security Forum. “We’ve made progress, and we’re working very hard over recent years to ensure that we have strong human intelligence capability to complement what we can acquire through other methods,” he stated, per The South China Morning Post.

In response to Burns’ comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning stated, “This is rather concerning. The US on the one hand keeps spreading disinformation on so-called ‘Chinese spying and cyber attacks,’ and on the other hand tells the public about its large-scale intelligence activities targeting China.” She continued by noting that China will “take all measures necessary to safeguard national security.”

Dave DeCamp of cited a 2017 report from The New York Times, where China busted up an American spy ring by killing or imprisoning more over a dozen CIA sources between 2010 and 2012. In 2018, Foreign Policy published a report indicating that the Chinese government caught roughly 30 CIA assets and revealed that the spy ring was discovered because of a flawed communication system.

Under Burns’ directorship of the spy agency, the CIA has dialed up its focus on China by creating a new unit that’s solely tasked with focusing on the country. CIA officials have also stated that Taiwan is a key issue for the unit specializing in China. Burns revealed that the agency is working to provide early warnings if China ever opts to carry out a full-fledged invasion of Taiwan.

The pivot to China is clearly going down, despite the US’s huge focus on fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian in Ukraine. Sadly, foreign policy decisionmakers have not learned the lessons of last few decades of interventionism abroad. 

Instead, they’re going full steam ahead with this dual containment project against Russia and China. With respect to China, America should pursue a more rational, America First strategy of restricting immigration and trade from China. These measures will do more to reduce Chinese influence in the country than any bellicose measure used against it, which will likely result in a nuclear catastrophe. 

However, for such rational policy alternatives to become a reality, the US will need a totally different ruling class at the helm.

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