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Hidden Hand 1 – What Does the Chinese Communist Party Hope to Achieve? The Example of the Houston Rockets

Hidden Hand 1 – What Does the Chinese Communist Party Hope to Achieve?


Hidden Hand – Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World, by Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg is a revealing and stunning book – one which every politician, journalist, church leader and businessperson should read.  It is such an important book but not everyone has the time to read it.  Because the issues it raises are vital to understand and discuss –rather than write a lengthy review I thought that over the next few weeks I will go through it chapter by chapter.  I hope this will prove helpful.


Chapter 1 – An Overview of the CCP’S Ambitions.

 “The Chinese Communist Party is determined to transform the international order, to shape the world in its own image, without a shot being fired.  Rather than challenging from the outside, it has been eroding resistance to it from within by winning supporters, silencing critics and subverting institutions.” (p1).

Here is a list of ‘facts’ from this first chapter.  All of them are the foundation for the rest of the book.

  • It is vital to understand that the CCP is not just interested in China – it is a Leninist party which seeks a rearrangement of the world order. One that fits in with its own image.
  • The CCP does not seek nor need to conquer by a military war. They can and do use other means – economic, cyber, social and media.
  • The CCP is not starting a new Cold War – it is continuing one that has been going on for decades. The defeat of the Soviet Union was seen by the West as the end of communism – one which would soon be followed by the opening up of China and the fall of communism there as well.  The CCP have been fighting – successfully – against that ever since and have been using the West’s over optimistic delusions against itself.
  • The strategy of the CCP is not secret. It has been revealed in numerous party strategy speeches and documents (which Hamilton and Ohlberg analyse throughout the book).
  • The main strategy is to target elites in the West so that they welcome China’s dominance or regard it as inevitable. Using diplomatic pressure, ‘friendship ‘work, the manipulation of the media, financial pressure, academia, ‘think tanks’ and  the wealth and political influence of the Chinese diaspora,  the CCP have been remarkably effective in this.
  • The primary weapon is economic. China is the world’s largest factory economy – and the second biggest overall in the world. As such it is considered essential for the big Western corporations.    “If you don’t do what Beijing’s political leaders want, they will punish you economically”.   Hamilton lists some examples of how this is.   Screenshot 2020-08-04 12.30.54One example is that of Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets basketball team, tweeted his supportof Hong Kong protesters late in 2019.  Beijing went to war.   There was enormous criticism on social media (largely coming from trolls and fake accounts in China).  The televising of Rockets games to their large fan base in China was suspended.  Sponsors withdrew.   Beijing complained that Morey had ‘hurt the feelings of the Chinese people’ .(Note how authoritarian governments always claim to speak for the people).     The state broadcaster China Central Television then redefined ‘freedom of speech’ to exclude ‘challenging national sovereignty and social stability’.  So, the US National Basketball Association caved and issued a fawning apology which could have been written by the CCP’s Central Propaganda Department.  Screenshot 2020-08-04 12.02.58
  • China does not need to issue lots of punishments like this – because the threat and uncertainty is sufficient.  The above example shows how money, politics, sport, media and fear combine to give the CCP what it wants.
  • Donald Trump was right to launch a trade war against China in 2018 – because China has been systematically violating the principles of international economic engagement and getting away with it. Dislike for Donald Trump should not blind us to this.
  • The Belt and Road Initiative is China’s biggest infrastructure overseas investment. It is used for economic bribery because it supplies the investments needs and low interest loans, with no environmental or other conditions.   It provides an outlet for surplus Chinese capital – but also does a lot more.   Xi Jinping calls it ‘a community of common destiny for all mankind’.  PLA major-general Qiao Liang said that the BRI is purely a means for China to gain dominance over the USA.
  • The CCP seeks to split the US from its allies – such as the EU. Europe is seen as the great prize.  The CCP always seeks to break up existing alliances wherever they are in the world.
  • The CCP is fully aware of the danger of ‘ideological infiltration’ – that is any way of thinking which is different from approved Party doctrine. So it has gone on the attack. The CCP talks of being more ‘democratic’ , ‘open’ and ‘diverse’ but just as ‘progressives’ in the West have re-written language so that words mean the opposite of what they normally do – so the CCP mean the opposite.  It’s code for ‘authoritarian systems and values have global status equal to liberal democratic ones”.     This is why the CCP has blocked Western Internet with the Great Firewall.
  • Not content with censoring in China – the CCP seeks to censor throughout the world. For example, with Taiwan.
  • The CCP is succeeding in persuading Western commentators, politicians, academics and corporations that the its system is superior to Western democracy and liberal-capitalism. After decades of anti-Western propaganda within the Western academy, it seems as though they have an open market of ready listeners – who on the one hand campaign against the wrongs within the Western system, but conveniently ignore the much greater human rights abuses within China.
  • The decline of appreciation for democracy in the West (largely by the elites and the corporations who have snide, barely concealed contempt for the ‘great unwashed’ populace) means that many of our own elites look upon China with a degree of admiration. “If only we could control our populations and economy as well as the CCP!”
  • Hamilton/Ohlberg make this key point – “Others still, including squads of Western journalists on all -expenses-paid tours, are awed by China’s high-speed growth and technological progress, forgetting that other countries grew just as fast during during their economic catch-op phases, and ignoring the fact that it was the CCP itself that prevented China from progressing at all for several decades”. I was someone who admire the CCP for lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty, but Hamilton/Ohlberg points out that the CCP, since 1949, kept hundreds of millions in poverty and it was only when they granted basic freedoms – the right to own property, start a business, change jobs and move one’s place of residence – that the Chinese people lifted themselves out of poverty.

 Observers of Western culture, and regular readers of this blog, will see how the CCP strategy can be remarkably effective.  It pinpoints our major weaknesses.  Having lost our love for democracy;  destroyed a sense of meaning by demeaning language;  lost our Christianity as the basis for our society and replaced it with a post-modern progressivism which is as immoral as it is irrational; decided that Mammon is our god; the West now has little to offer in terms of resistance to the Leninist assault on our values and freedoms.

More next week…

Why the Chinese Communist Party is a threat to the West

Quantum 105 – China





  1. “The main strategy is to target elites in the West” is it any surprise therefore that if you are white, middle aged, heterosexual, and educated that you will find yourself under emotional a psychological attack constantly, to the point that for you it becomes as tough as being in any physical war?

    That’s OK – men in the west have throughout history overcome what seems to be impossible odds, there will be men that will rise up again to face this threat and be more than conquerors. Perfect love casts out all fear!

    And you hit the nail on the head David with the quote “deeply offended”. It is, is it not, common for the expression “I find that offensive” to be expressed as if there is a right to not be offended? OK since this is the languages that is used, I am offended about Muslims being sent to “retraining centres” in China. I am also offended by the assumption in Marxist – Leninism that I can be spoken to like a child and be regarded as a “useful idiot” to be dispensed with once it is deemed by the powers that be that I have passed the extent of my usefulness.

    I also find it offensive that the arts are suffering in the UK, particularly the comedy circuit. It has been said by some that comedians are “the canaries in the coal mine”. I just spoke with a prominent comedian on the Scottish circuit recently who has needed to take up a job as a store-man in order to make ends meet. Is this the extent that some are willing to go to to not be offended, that they would want others to be without a livelihood they have depended on?

    If anyone is going to speak about anything meaningful inevitably there is going to be offence taken. That’s not to say one should go out to deliberately offend although there may be circumstances for that. For example I don’t give too hoots if a bully is offended by me standing up to them appropriately. Bullies are cowards and the only thing they understand is strength! So if we want to have meaningful conversations we must accept times of discomfort in order that our horizons be broadened.

    Any approach that is valid is open to being challenged and can challenge other approaches. If an approach gets defensive when challenged then it ceases to be valid. And if this happens at a governmental level then it turns into tyranny. And when it does that, we are only a few steps away from an Orwellian nightmare. A literal hell on earth.

    God help us!

  2. Well, I can speculate , if I may, regarding what the Houston Rockets’ owner , Mr Tilman Fertitta , hopes to achieve , so here goes.

    Mr Fertitta is a billionaire casino owner , one of the biggest in Nevada , but he has no casinos in Macau , unlike his rivals, Wynn Resorts , MGM Mirage and Sands.

    Mr F would like to build a Macau casino and this prize is in the gift of the Chinese Govt.

  3. Well done David for thanking the time and energy to highlight the dangers that the CCP represents to the West, and, of greater concern, liberal democratic foundations more widely. Our modern ‘progressives’ have done such damage to democratic institutions in recent times that the CCP is almost pushing at an open door. If I was not convinced that the Lord is in charge, I would be deeply concerned. As it is, I am simply concerned and this seemingly excellent book is a ‘must read’ of our times. SO thank you for helping to spread the word and warn Most of us who are asleep that the frog is in the water and the gas is on!

  4. As if the West had gained and kept its position solely by more honourable (?) open military brute force.

    Never, ever, did *our* leaders make “aid” conditional on “trade”, or leverage “soft power”, try to persuade, frighten or corrupt influential native leaders, or treat (for just one instance) Africans like children, did they? Make the right to voice unwelcome speech punishable by far worse than refusal to listen? Try to eradicate native populations and take their children into residential schools to “civilise” and even, God pity us, “Christianise” them?

    This is how the power of this world works, and the only problem Western commentators have with it is that presently, “we” don’t feel we are “winning” the way we suppose we are entitled to.

    Meanwhile, the work of another Kingdom continues, like yeast, out of sight and largely done by strange men in funny clothes – and women.

    (Even in China, where we seem to have only just discovered Churches that have been there bravely soldiering on for centuries. And for whom our care and prayer come disgracefully late in the day.)

    1. I think that this idea of ‘equivalence’ whilst sounding nice and fair is actually dangerous and serves to excuse the horror of the CCP. It’s also wrong to say that we have only just discovered Churches that have been soldiering on for centuries in China. It doesn’t help if we rewrite history and ignore what is going on now.

      1. To point out one’s own errors is not to excuse someone else’s – one of the most common fallacies in Twitter exchanges. Evil is evil whoever commits it.

        But it does perhaps suggest that if we want to be listened to with anything other than derision, we should have a due measure of humility when criticising acts we have ourselves freely committed, and only no longer do because we are not in a position to enjoy the impunity which has now passed to others.

        And a damned good excuse as to why such actions were and are fine when carried out by our own people, but beyond the pale when carried out by “them”. Particularly when we claim to be “a Christian country” possessed of the ultimate moral insight and authority that *should* go with the presence of God in our midst. That quite possibly makes us *worse* than them, for nobody in the CCP is going to take the Lord’s name in vain claiming Divine favour for their rule.

        We are having all these discussions on equipment we bought from China, because it was cheaper than anywhere else. We can deplore “money talks” all we like, but we vote for the people who will make sure nothing else does. And we will take similar advantage of any other rogue state that offers us a bargain. That’s on us, and it’s the only thing we have the power still to change.

    2. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m in my 50s and have been burdened for China and its people since I was a child. In our circles, China and its people were being prayed for both in public and private. Our love for our brothers and sisters in China is not new, even though it may be increasing daily.

    3. The British Empire did lots of good in many places , not least in India . The British historian Laurence James is particularly sound on this subject.

      Recently a Canadian economist, Prof. Dave Donaldson of MIT , won a prestigious medal ( the Bates Clark ) for an academic paper which showed the huge economic benefits which India derived, during the Raj, from the construction of the Indian Railway System :

      Also , British history compares favourably with that of other nations in the matter of how Crown subjects were treated.

      1. The Roman Empire also brought many benefits – but it brought murder as entertainment and crucifixions also. The stone for all those marvellous roads and aqueducts that have lasted two thousand years wasn’t quarried by volunteer labour. And they were built for the purpose of military occupation, at least in England – not as favours to the occupied. Can we honestly say those famous colonial railways were built from altruism rather than the wish to more efficiently transport goods out and soldiers in?

        Honest history neither boasts nor cringes, and demands no special gratitude just because “we weren’t so bad as that other lot”. We cannot know what the alternative would have been like – and King Leopold is a pretty low bar to congratulate ourselves for overleaping.

        All of which doesn’t for a moment excuse China – but a prudent critic should be prepared to meet their obvious argument (apart from our impotence) for ignoring us before charging in as if we could still send a gunboat up the Yangtse.

    4. I wonder how many of the “100 million Chinese Christians” are aware that Christianity was never established on a written testament from Jesus but rather on the writings of others , most of whom are unknown to us ,all of whom never heard Jesus speak a solitary word.

      1. None of them…because what you allege is nonsense….read Bauckham’s “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses” …or you can stay within your prejudiced, narrow minded view…

  5. This is all part of the same problem:
    “A new report by Policy Exchange has found those at Britain’s universities with right-leaning, Leave-supporting or gender-critical views are genuine victims of cancel culture, having to censor what they teach, research and discuss with their academic colleagues.”

  6. Bauckham’s book sounds interesting as a piece of historical revisionism which has not done much to alter the academic consensus which it opposes.

    Does Bauckham refer to the Infancy Gospels of Thomas ? This interesting offering contained illustrations of the child Jesus messing around with his considerable magical powers in a Harry Potter – style way .

    One story in the IGT includes Jesus transforming his playmates into goats , or making real – life sparrows from mud. Another IGT story had Jesus bringing his playmate back to life , after he had fallen of the roof on which they were playing.

    1. I would suggest you read the book. Although you appear to have made your mind up before doing so and I suspect nothing would change your prejudice. Bauckham is one of the top academics on this subject in the world. Yes the Gospel of Thomas (as anyone who has read it would note) is more Harry Potter than Gospel. Which is why it was never accepted by the Church – it was clearly fake and not by the eyewitnesses.

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