A recently leaked database has revealed that 1.95 million registered members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have been employed at universities, major corporations, and British consulates around the world.
Some members have been employees of U.S. aerospace manufacturer Boeing and pharmaceutical maker Pfizer.
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), a global coalition of lawmakers, obtained the database from an unidentified Chinese dissident, then shared the material with four media organizations, according to a Dec. 12 report by British newspaper The Mail on Dec. 13, which obtained the list and reviewed it.
IPAC, in a statement on Nov. 13, said one of its representatives received the database from a “non-government source” and the coalition had experts verify the list.
“IPAC will push for governments and companies to respond, setting out how they intend to safeguard their values in the face of infiltration,” IPAC stated.
According to the outlet, the database contained names, dates of birth, and ethnicity, while some also had addresses and telephone numbers. The database was first leaked on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, after it was allegedly extracted in 2016 by people believed to be Chinese dissidents, from a Shanghai server.
The Mail found that major aerospace companies Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Boeing have employed hundreds of CCP members. Additionally, Pfizer and British drugmaker AstraZeneca employed a total of 123 Party members. British automaker Jaguar Land Rover also employed CCP members.
The database also showed that over 600 CCP members were employed across 19 branches of British banks HSBC and Standard Chartered.
Chinese academics with Party membership also worked at British universities, where they were involved in sensitive research including aerospace engineering and chemistry, The Mail found.
Most of the members in the database are from the country’s southeastern coastal metropolis of Shanghai.
New York-headquartered tech firm IBM has at least two dozen Party units with 808 members in China.
3M, a manufacturer of consumer and health care goods, including N95 respirators and other medical products critical to preventing COVID-19 spread, employs at least 230 CCP members within five Party units.
PepsiCo, the multinational snack and beverage company, has 45 employees listed under the company’s Party branch committee.
Dow Chemical Company, one of the world’s three largest chemical producers, lists 337 CCP members in four Party committees.
Other notable U.S. firms on the list include Westin Hotel & Resorts owned by Marriott International (23 members); analytics firm Nielsen Holdings (94); leading food company Mars Food (14); and insurance provider MetLife (31).
The U.S. companies and Party branches mentioned are by no means exhaustive. As of 2016, around 75,000 foreign businesses—accounting for over 70 percent of the roughly 106,000 foreign firms in China—have established Party units, according to state-run media People’s Daily.
The development of CCP units picked up pace from 2002, after Beijing’s top leadership “wrote the obligations of nonpublic firms’ Party organizations into the Party charter, providing evidence for the nonpublic firms’ Party organizations to host activities and play their roles,” according to Chinese media reports from 2002.
State media reported that the country currently has nearly 92 million CCP members. While the database represents only a small fraction of the total membership, it’s a key piece of the puzzle for uncovering the regime’s penetration of international companies, said Bill Gertz, national security correspondent for The Washington Times in an interview.
Early this month, the Trump administration imposed travel restrictions on CCP members and their immediate families, reducing the maximum duration of stay for those with B1/B2 visitor visas from 10 years to one month.
The Party Network
Creating more Party units within companies in China has been one of the top priorities for the CCP’s Organization Department, a core Party organ that oversees staffing of government officials nationwide, according to Qi Yu, a former deputy head of the department.
Qi, who currently serves as the Party committee secretary at the Chinese foreign ministry, said at an October 2017 news conference in Beijing that the regime requires corporate Party organizations to “organically integrate Party activities with the firm’s production in order to support companies’ healthy development,” according to People’s Daily.