One enduring myth concerns an incident that allegedly occurred early in OJ Simpson’s career with the Buffalo Bills. He became so infatuated with himself and his ability to run the ball that he boasted one day that he really didn’t need the offensive line to block for him – that he could manage all by himself, he was that good.
The legend goes that during a series of three running plays the offensive line decided to show OJ just how much he could accomplish without their protection. They didn’t block for him, and OJ failed to gain one single yard.
That must be how Ling Wancheng feels, that is if he feels anything at all. Ling was born in China and built a successful business and settled in the United States in the early 1990s. He was protected by the Constitution, and his brother was a good friend and top aide to China’s then-president Hu Jintao. In addition, the US didn’t have at extradition treaty with China. So he was protected, or so he thought.
So he enjoyed life, American style. He played enough golf to get very good at it. He developed a wide network of friends, dressed flamboyantly, and was always the life of the party, to which he was frequently invited. He lived well too, in a gated community in Loomis, California.
And then he and his wife suddenly disappeared. The Wall Street Journal sent four of its investigators to look into the matter, without success. Last October they vanished without a trace and haven’t been heard from since.
The connection to “Operation Fox Hunt” scarcely needs explaining. When current Chinese president Xi Jinping ascended to the top of the communist hierarchy in November 2012 he instituted plans to rid the party of “corruption”, especially those like Ling who made off with stolen goods, along with state secrets, so it was said.
In June 2014 Lu Dong was appointed director of “Operation Fox Hunt” and created 70 teams of “investigators” to scour the world and round up those who had allegedly absconded with the state’s wealth, arrest them and return them to their beloved homeland to suffer the Chinese version of justice: phony trials and sentences of either death by hanging or life sentences in correction camps.
Dong was successful. Just in the last year his teams have returned some 930 of those miscreants along with, it is assumed, Ling Wancheng.
Dong is a pragmatist, unencumbered with constitutional limitations:
Our principle is this: Whether or not there is an agreement in place [with the expatriate’s country], as long as there is information that there is a criminal suspect, we will chase them over there. We will take our work to them, anywhere.
And once they have found them, they will apply “persuasion” such as that suggested by Li Gongjing, a captain with the Shanghai Public Security Bureau:
A fugitive is like a flying kite. Even though he is abroad, the string is held in China. He can always be found through his family.
One is left to his own imagination as to just what kind of persuasion might be applied to cause those 930 expats to return to their beloved motherland.
Even though the Obama administration has been aware of Operation Fox Hunt since last summer, it didn’t raise an eyebrow until the middle of July this year when it issued a “cease and desist” demand to the Red Chinese government. Here’s how the Wall Street Journal couched that demand:
American officials … delivered a warning to Beijing about the presence of Chinese government agents operating secretly in the United States to pressure prominent expatriates … to return home immediately…
[Those officials] demanded a halt to those activities … [reflecting] anger about the intimidation tactics used by the agents.
China estimates that about 18,000 government officials, or friends of, have fled the workers’ paradise over the last 20 years, taking with them approximately $129 billion. So Operation Fox Hunt is just getting started.
What makes this demand by the Obama administration appear suspicious is that in a couple of weeks the president will be meeting at the White House with Xi, in order to firm up their friendship. The topics to be discussed are likely to have little to do with such things as Chinese hacking of American databases and human rights issues. There are far more important things to discuss, and agree upon.
The point has been made: in a world without protection from government, that government is then free to harass, intimidate, “persuade”, arrest, try, convict and sentence any individual it wishes. In a world where Operation Fox Hunt operates, there is no hiding by the foxes from the hunters.
New York Times: China Dismisses Warning About Agents Operating Secretly in U.S.
International Business Times: China’s Top Financial Fugitives Flee Abroad: New Report Lists ‘Operation Fox Hunt’ Targets
International Business Times: Operation Fox Hunt: China Arrests 288 Financial Fugitives Abroad As Part Of Anti-Corruption Campaign
Wall Street Journal: Hunt for Chinese Man in U.S. Fuels Political Intrigue
New York Times: A Look at Some of Hacking Accusations Against China