American representative offices in China sent 5,000 secret dispatches published by WikiLeaks. Another 950 came from Hong Kong.
Some convey an altogether new view of Beijing’s policy on the Korean peninsula; at the same time, they accuse the communist government of organized attacks on government computers belonging to the U.S. and its allies. The sensitive information will not reach ordinary Chinese, however; authorities have blocked access to them.
Hurtful Information Campaign
The Korean People’s Democratic Republic behaves like a spoiled child; the North Korean regime will collapse within two to three years of Kim Jong-Il’s death and accept the unification of the Korean peninsula under Seoul’s administration. These and other reports have literally caused an earthquake, not just in diplomatic circles.
And they may have raised false hopes that China has decided to throw its communist ally overboard. After all, Beijing will not all that easily give up its North Korean card, for many years one of the main aces in China’s sleeve in the game called international politics.
On the other hand, it is obvious that the Chinese leadership is not very satisfied with Kim Jong-Il’s moves; his saber rattling — atomic at that — drives it more and more into the friendly embrace of old rivals, i.e. South Korea and Japan.
Not to mention their alliance with the U.S. China doesn’t want to cut back the flow of economic aid to the KPDR; after all, it is a matter of a strategic, if capricious, partner.
The Chinese public, however, makes its dissatisfaction with support for Kim Jong-Il’s regime more and more loudly known.
On the Internet, above all, people are talking about throwing money out the window and labeling the “dear leader” as an insatiable glutton. For this reason, the secret dispatches, which thanks to WikiLeaks have seen the light of day, have the Beijing government worried.
Frequently, they reveal what the comrades really think, but the ordinary person cannot be allowed to find out at any cost. We should therefore not be surprised that Chinese authorities immediately shut off access to WikiLeaks. And the Global Times went on the offensive, branding the correspondence a “hurtful information campaign.”
The Dalai Lama and Tiananmen
Beijing’s fears of the continued publication of dispatches were not, however, brought about so much by reports on the evaluation of Kim Jong-Il’s health — with one Chinese official saying that he keeps drinking — nor by the clash with the United States over Uighur prisoners at Guantanamo, for whose release China struggled in vain.
Much more unpleasant would be the publication of texts on the Chinese proposal to pay Kyrgyzstan $3 billion to close the American Manas Air Base in the central Asian republic.
One of the dispatches, moreover, quotes the Chinese ambassador to Kyrgyzstan as saying that such a trick would cost China only three dollars per person, but no one would be allowed to know about it.
The most explosive information, however, concerns computer piracy. The American embassy in Beijing labeled the Chinese cabinet the initiator of attacks on the Google search engine and on the servers of Western countries. For this reason, Google recently threatened complete withdrawal from China.
It follows from the dispatches that the politburo — that is, the most powerful organ in China — has for years been directing the infiltration of computers belonging to the United States, its allies and the Dalai Lama. The attacks were supposedly carried out by government agents as well as hired experts and even computer pirates employed by Chinese authorities. According to Bejing, however, all these claims are clear-cut, absurd falsehoods.
Chinese nervousness, nonetheless, stems from the fact that, among the dispatches being gradually released, concrete reports on the Chinese army’s intervention on Tiananmen Square, from June 3 and 5, 1989, are also due to appear. Correspondence between Taiwan and the U.S. is also expected. And, as is widely known, these three Ts — Tibet, Tiananmen and Taiwan — have been taboo in China for many decades.
The author is a correspondent for Český rozhlas (Czech Radio) in China.