Loyal members of the Chinese Communist Party have infiltrated Australia’s Shanghai consulate after being hired through a state-owned recruitment agency, a new leak suggests.
The shocking revelation came after the extraordinary leak of a database of 1.95 million registered Chinese Communist Party members.
The unprecedented data release, believed to be the first of its kind, has revealed how Beijing’s influence has stretched into every corner of Western governments, defence firms, banks and pharmaceutical giants.
The data was extracted from a Shanghai server by Chinese dissidents in 2016.
Australia’s Consulate-General Shanghai has hired Chinese Communist Party members on the recommendation of state-owned hiring agency Shanghai Foreign Agency Service Department
The database details the names, national ID numbers, birth dates, and even some phone numbers of 1.95 registered Communist Party members.
Some of the members – who swear a solemn oath to ‘guard Party secrets, be loyal to the Party, work hard, fight for communism throughout my life…and never betray the Party’ – have secured jobs at the Australian Consulate-General in Shanghai.
A senior executive assistant who worked for Australia’s Shanghai mission is listed in the leaked database as a Chinese Communist Party member.
The assistant has even previously helped organise parliamentary delegations.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been using a Chinese government hiring agency called the Shanghai Foreign Agency Service Department to employ all its local staff in China for at least the past five years, The Australian reported.
Australia’s ANZ Bank is one of dozens of major international corporations that have hired CCP members
The leaked database shows the agency has at least 12 active Communist Party branches with 249 members.
Joining the party is a way to advance your career in China, and there is no evidence that anyone on the list has actually spied for China.
But British think-tank, the Henry Jackson Society, said Australia would need to explain how such a ‘glaring intelligence threat’ came to be normalised in one of DFAT’s foreign missions.
‘The SFASD looks and smells like a well-organised, state-sponsored spy ring,’ said spokesman Samuel Armstrong.
Pictured: delegates at the 2017 Communist Party Congress, Beijing. Many join the party just to advance their careers, but they must put the party first at all times
In September, the agency advertised on its website for an officer to work for the Australian consulate-general in Shanghai for public diplomacy, research and visits.
The position offered a base salary of 160,840 yuan, or $32,526, with Chinese nationals hired by DFAT having to be hired through the agency.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted DFAT for a response.
Other Chinese Communist Party members have infiltrated academia, politics and some of Australia’s top businesses.
One University of NSW academic who has registered dozens of patents in China is also listed in the database, the newspaper reported.
A former Labor Party adviser has his name listed as belonging to the CCP, although he denies he was ever a member.
Hundreds of Chinese Communist Party loyalists were hired at AstraZeneca and Pfizer, both firms working on coronavirus vaccines (pictured, an AstraZeneca researcher at work)
Astrazeneca is one of the strategic firms that have hired CCP members listed in the leaked database (pictured, vials of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine candidate)
Scholar Chen Hong — who had his Australian visa revoked in September after the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation assessed him as a possible security risk — is also listed on the database.
The Shanghai-based professor, who writes for CCP-owned newspaper Global Times, accused Australia of ‘stabbing China in the back’ earlier this year after Canberra called for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.
Hundreds of Communist Party members listed in the database were exposed as working in top corporations including defence aerospace firm Boeing, Airbus and Rolls-Royce.
Global Times editor Hu Xijin (pictured, left), Professor Chen Hong (right). Professor Hong writes for the Global Times, and was exposed as a CCP member
Pfizer and AstraZeneca, two companies working on a coronavirus vaccine, are also understood to have 123 staffers identified as members of the political party.
An ANZ spokesman said the bank did not interfere with its employees’ involvement in politics.
Charles Sturt University’s China expert Clive Hamilton warned that firms with party members would be putting their intellectual property at risk as CCP affiliates were obliged to steal sensitive information if asked by China.
Professor Hamilton said Shanghai, China’s largest city and the mainland’s financial hub, was the organisational hub for Chinese spying on the West.
‘There’s a lot of overlap in the Chinese system between spying and foreign interference operations,’ he said.
‘The Ministry of State Security often uses the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences to recruit foreign academics.’
The database was leaked on Telegram, the encrypted instant messaging app.
Security sources believe the initial data leak came from a dissident who targeted an outwardly unremarkable office block in Shanghai which housed the records.
The rebel risked being punished with death for treason but downloaded the information anyway before releasing it on Telegram.
Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the United Nations in September. A database listing 1.95 million Chinese Communist Party members has been leaked
Australia’s total export markets in 2019
1. China: $135 billion (33% of total Australian exports)
2. Japan: $36 billion (9%)
3. South Korea: $21 billion (5%)
4. United Kingdom: $16 billion (3.8%)
5. United States: $15 billion (3.7%)
The database was used by dissidents for counter-espionage before being passed on in September by a Chinese dissident to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.
This group includes more than 150 legislators around the world who are concerned by the influence and activities of the Chinese government.
The list is divided into more than 79,000 branches, many of them affiliated to individual companies or organisations.
In total, the Chinese Communist Party has more than 92 million members, but competition to join is fierce with fewer than one in ten applicants successful.
The database shows how the party’s tentacles have reached into corporations, academia and Western governments worldwide.
At least ten Western consulates in Shanghai have employed CCP members.
The revelation comes amid increasing tensions between China and Australia, after the communist state imposed crippling trade sanctions on imports.
Australian exporters have already felt the brunt of harsh tariffs, with one winemaker losing $240,000 ‘overnight’ due to cancelled orders (pictured, Australian wine in Shanghai)
The escalating row is claimed to have begun when Scott Morrison called for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
China imposed a 212 per cent tariff on Australian wine last week, which has already seen local producers losing thousands of dollars.
Australia currently exports a staggering 39 per cent of all its wine product to China, one of our biggest trading partners.
The massive tariffs and duties comes after claims by the Beijing foreign exporters that Australian winemakers were ‘dumping’ cheap wine on the Chinese market.
Australian exporters have already felt the brunt of harsh tariffs, with one winemaker losing $240,000 ‘overnight’ due to cancelled orders.