A “major leak” of official Chinese government records has uncovered a register of 1.95 million members of the Chinese Communist Party, with many members of the list working around the world, including in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The list includes names, dates of birth, national identification numbers, party positions, ethnicity, and in some cases, phone numbers.
Australia’s Sky News reported on Sunday that the database “lifts the lid on how the party operates under President and Chairman Xi Jinping.” The leak “shows that party branches are embedded in some of the world’s biggest companies, and even inside government agencies.”
“Communist party branches have been set up inside western companies, allowing the infiltration of those companies by CCP members — who, if called on, are answerable directly to the communist party, to the Chairman, the president himself,” stated Sky News’ Sharri Markson.
“Along with the personal identifying details of 1.95 million communist party members, mostly from Shanghai, there are also the details of 79,000 communist party branches, many of them inside companies,” said Markson.
Markson continued by insinuating that the security breach would be an embarrassment for Xi Jinping and “some global companies who appear to have no plan in place to protect their intellectual property from theft.”
According to the Daily Mail, Communist Party members swear an oath to “guard Party secrets, be loyal to the Party, work hard, fight for communism throughout my life…and never betray the Party.” Members of the Party are understood to have jobs in British consulates, with the Daily Mail stating that “Beijing’s malign influence now stretches into almost every corner of British life, including defence firms, banks and pharmaceutical giants.”
For example, analysis has revealed that Pfizer and AstraZeneca employed 123 “party loyalists,” and that “there were more than 600 party members across 19 branches working at the British banks HSBC and Standard Chartered in 2016.” Additionally, “firms with defence industry interests” like Airbus, Boeing and Rolls-Royce “employed hundreds of party members.”
Former leader of the U.K.’s Conservative Party, Iain Duncan Smith, wrote in the Mail on Sunday that this “proves that members of the Chinese Communist Party are now spread around the globe, with members working for some of the world’s most important multinational corporations, academic institutions and our own diplomatic services.”
Sky News’ Markson concluded by stating, “it is worth noting that there’s no suggestion that these members have committed espionage — but the concern is over whether Australia or these companies knew of the CCP members and if so have any steps been taken to protect their data and people.”
A spokesperson for the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, a group of legislators from democratic countries seeking to hold China to “to the standards of the international legal order,” posted a statement saying that a representative of the organization had “received this list from a non-governmental source, but was not in a position to verify it,” and that journalists had “since investigated and their findings are disturbing indeed.”