(RESEND END)Putting Anne-Marie Brady's and Adrian Zenz's characterization of Gao Wei into context
THIS IS CONTINUING FROM (RESEND PART 1). BECAUSE SUBSTACK SAYS THE FULL VERSION IS TOO LONG, I HAVE TO DIVIDE THE ENTIRE PIECE TO TWO PARTS.
PART II: WHAT DOES 延揽 MEAN HERE?
The other key “incriminating” evidence against Gao, from Brady’s report:
The report listed “scientific areas of national or military priority” for research at the Quantum Information Centre and that top international talent had been recruited for this project. Two of these international talents are listed by name: University of Science and Technology of China physicist Jian-Wei Pan 潘建伟, noted for his work on quantum entanglement, and the University of Auckland’s Gao Wei.
that is from a press release in 2015 on the NUDT official web site, where a fuller context is:
National Defense University of Science and Technology establishes the PLA's first quantum information interdisciplinary center (title)
The university leadership said, they ...... vigorously 延揽 (recruited?) more than 40 international high-end talents in the field of quantum information research, including Pan Jianwei, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Gao Wei, academician of the Royal New Zealand Academy of Science.
Basically, Brady’s report translates 延揽 as recruit. That’s NOT INCORRECT, but NEITHER it is ACCURATE.
The Chinese word 延揽 is so vague that it could mean anything including (and between them) simply using the name of, consulting with, cooperating with, coordinating with, co-opting, using, and recruit. To fully get its exact meaning, one simply has to put it into context.
How to put it into context? By asking these questions in critical thinking:
1) How is it possible that one university, even as supposedly highly resourceful as the NUDT, could recruit more than 40 international high-end talents in the field of quantum information research all at once in its one center, as it claims?
2) Even if so, what does that recruit mean? Are there any details in the NUDT press release talking about what these recruits would do specifically?
3) 潘建伟 Pan Jianwei, China’s top quantum scientist by all accounts, is known to be full-time affiliated with Hefei, Anhui-based University of Science and Technology of China, where all news about him and all his published researches are identified with. How is it possible that he was suddenly recruited by the NUDT in 2015? In his published researches since 2015, has he ever been affiliated with the NUDT center?
4) Gao is also affiliated full-time with New Zealand’s University of Auckland and there is no dispute from Brady’s report, Zenz, or anybody else about that. In his published researches since 2015, has he ever been affiliated with the NUDT center?
5) Why does the press release only identify two named experts and it just happens that they both hold full-time affiliations with other universities?
The only plausible explanation is, let your Pekingnologist cite one paragraph, admittedly out of context, from the comment by Prof. Rao Yi on the ongoing case brought by the United States against MIT Professor Chen Gang:
those associations have little to ask him other than using his name to let superiors know that each agency “had consulted” international experts.
The only plausible answer to all the five questions above, and to accurately translate the Chinese word 延揽, is that the press release is most likely using Gao’s name to let superiors and others know that the center “had consulted” top experts.
Now your Pekingnologist hopes the NUDT won’t invite him for a tea because of this, but the fact is that the phrasing of this press release is exactly like all those titles of 特聘教授 “Distinguished Professor”, 客座教授 Guest Professor, 顾问教授 Counselor Professor, and 名誉教授 Honorary Professor cited in Part I - the NUDT and other Chinese universities just like to use big names to decorate if not inflate their own prestige and international profile.
Here is another angle: Generally, China watchers have spent a significant part of their career arguing against taking Chinese official documents at face value, for example in gauging China’s official economic data, why in this case involving Gao, the “take” has been taking the PLA’s NUDT press release at face value, if not to its extreme?
PART III: IF GAO HAS FOOLED HIS UNIVERSITY IN “COVERT” COLLUSION WITH PLA, WHY WOULD PLA HAVE ADVERTISED IT?
Recapping University of Auckland’s endorsement of Gao before the review into Brady’s report
Professor Gao has never conducted military research in or for New Zealand, China, or any other country. He has never been involved in any research activities related to the military. Professor Brady’s paper implies that through his research links with Chinese universities, and perhaps the fact that he is originally from mainland China, he has aided Chinese military research. This is totally untrue and no evidence of it is referred to in the report.
Professor Gao has not undertaken any research on quantum computing, now or in the past. Professor Brady’s assertion that he is involved in quantum computing research is factually incorrect.
Furthermore, any titles conferred on Professor Gao by Chinese universities are honorary in nature, reflecting the academic esteem in which he is held by his peers. Again, this is perfectly normal academic interaction and it is entirely inappropriate for Professor Brady to use them in support of specious claims made in the report. Reference to Professor Gao’s honorary appointments is followed by two paragraphs which make claims about control of staff members exercised by NUDT and the CCP. Given the nature of Professor Gao’s connections with NUDT, the inference is grossly misleading.
Now, except Gao himself, who supposedly knows the most about Gao’s work, like where he spends his time, conducts his work, mentors his students, affiliates his researches with, etc.? It could only be the University of Auckland that hires him and pays him.
It’s not plausible to your Pekingnolgist that the University would have endorsed Gao TWICE - first in raising the compliant, second after the conclusion of review into Brady’s report - in this incident without “auditing” him in some way - checking his papers, timetables, disclosures, etc.
Zenz apparently was unconvinced by the University’s endorsement of Gao, calling it “factually incorrect, raising serious questions,” before detailing his questions of the veracity of the University’s statement
What might have evaded Zenz was that then that would leave only one possibility: Gao somehow fooled his University entire time including after Brady’s report, most likely because he had covertly colluded with the PLA’s NUDT.
Then, your Pekingnologist would have to ask: if Gao had been covertly aiding and abetting the PLA’s NUDT, why would the PLA’s NUDT have advertised not once but twice Gao on its official web site?
This just wouldn’t make sense.
Put if another way, either Gao “colluded” with the PLA’s NUDT openly - then his University of Auckland would in all likelihood have “caught” him and thus not backing him twice; or Gao “colluded” covertly - then it’s implausible for the PLA’s NUDT to advertise him twice on its web site in the first place.
As a fictional detective once said, When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
PART IV: WHAT BRADY’S REPORT APPARENTLY MISSED: GAO’S AGE
Continuing with Brady’s report on Gao:
Gao Wei was named Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2016, he is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
An example of what can be expected of NUDT staff is provided by Zhang Jiaqi 张家奇: “Although I’m a civilian staff member, no one, from superiors to colleagues, has treated me as an outsider. We are soldiers [comrades-in-arms] in the same trench.”Zhang, a graduate of Central South University (中南大学), was hired at NUDT’s Institute of Aerospace Science and Engineering in 2011. While studying for his doctorate, Zhang spent a year at the University of Auckland. Li Huaxing 李华星, a professor at NWPU who has received Air Force and National Defence Key Lab funding, was also a visiting professor at the University of Auckland from 2015 to 2016.
NUDT strives to instill in its students and staff a sense of mission and loyalty to the CCP and PLA. In 2013, state media reported that NUDT students or staff pursuing degrees or on academic visiting fellowships had established CCP cells abroad. The scientists NUDT sends overseas will likely be both CCP members as well as PLA technical personnel (文职干部). Chinese media have circulated the testimonials of NUDT graduate students studying abroad praising the military aspects of Xi Jinping’s 19th Party Congress report. In the past, when ordinary CCP members left China, they lost contact with the Party organization. In the Xi era, CCP members living abroad are now kept in contact with the Party via foreign Party cells, online study sessions, and requirements to make regular reports on their political thinking.
Gao Wei attended a 2017 meeting…
The second and the third paragraphs cited above are located within the descriptions of Gao’s activities. Then, there is no doubt that the report, here, was insinuating that Gao could possibly be NUDT staff or PLA technical personnel (文职干部). Otherwise, the two paragraphs should be put elsewhere in Brady’s report.
Your Pekingnologist argues these two paragraphs are completely irrelevant in the first place, because Brady’s report, as explained in the first three parts of this newsletter, did NOT establish Gao’s link with PLA’s NUDT - the titled afforded to Gao was honoary in nature, and that the "recruit" of him was an exaggeration far from what is likely. Thus, the two paragraphs are irrelevant.
If the first three parts still haven’t cleared Gao with you, consider this.
Gao was born in 1946, according to Chinese media reports. His insinuated affiliation with the NUDT staff or PLA technical personnel (文职干部) , as cited by Brady’s report, was in 2014 and 2015, which would make him 68 and 69.
So, following Brady’s report, Gao joined either NUDT staff or PLA technical personnel at 68 or 69. For anyone who has even the slightest idea of the strictly-mandatory retirement age in China, that would be absurd. Even ministers of central government departments and governors of provinces would have retired by then, and it’s simply implausible that Gao, should he be an employee of the Chinese state/military as insinuated in Brady’s report, would still join NUDT staff or PLA technical personnel (文职干部) at that age.
Then you or Brady or Zenz would probably argue: would it be possible that he was neither NUDT staff nor PLA technical personnel (文职干部), but still aiding and abetting the PLA?
Well, in that case, the second and the third paragraphs are also irrelevant and should be cut from the report. Brady’s report can’t have it both ways - listing An example of what can be expected of NUDT staff to insinuate what Gao could have done, and then saying Gao was not on them: Gao either was, or wasn’t. If he wasn’t, what’s the point of these two paragraphs? The very least for a correction is to cut them loose.
PART V: SMOKES AND MIRRORS
The first sentence on Gao from Brady’s report:
In Auckland, the NWPU delegation met renowned Auckland University materials scientist Gao Wei, a scholar who “lives abroad, but whose heart is concerned with the development of the Ancestral Land.”
That original Chinese text of the last part of the quote heart is concerned with the development of the Ancestral Land is:
Now this translation in Brady’s report is totally correct, and apparently the highlight here, setting the tone for the rest of the text on Gao.
However, what Brady’s report didn’t mention is that the six-character phrase is in fact a cliche, about which Chinese citizens overseas and foreign citizens of Chinese descent are well versed in.
It’s an eloquent but (again!) vague term, implying no specific undertaking, used frequently both by Chinese officials calling for support from overseas, and by Chinese citizens overseas and foreign citizens of Chinese descent to express their feelings towards China.
A Google search of the exact phrase in an overseas context returns 18,000 results and speaks to its wide use - it’s just not peculiar!
And the last sentence on Gao Wei in Brady’s report:
Gao Wei is a member of the Expert Committee of the Center for China and Globalization, a think tank linked to CCP united front/political interference activities.
Well, according to the CCG’s web site, others on the same Academic Council of the CCG, as Gao Wei, include Huang Yanzhong with the Council on Foreign Relations, Huang Yasheng with MIT, Yang Dali with the University of Chicago, and Qiu Chengtong with Harvard (all links are of CCG).
By the way, Kevin Rudd, the former Prime Minister of Australia, and Pascal Lamy, former Deputy-General of WTO, among others, were now also on the think tank linked to CCP united front/political interference activities.
Has anybody alerted them yet?
1) Brady’s report’s translation of Gao’s title afforded by the PLA’s NUDT 特聘教授 as Distinguished Professor is questionable because it did NOT take the various meanings of the title 特聘教授 in THE CHINESE CONTEXT;
The most accurate translation, all things considered, should take the effect that the title implies Gao is in effect an OUTSIDER to the NUDT despite the title;
2) Brady’s report fails to disclose that Gao has so many titles with so many Chinese universities, where at least two others - other than NUDT - use the exact “incriminating” title 特聘教授; that deprives readers of the report an important opportunity to consider how (un)important that title actually is;
3) Brady’s report’s translation of 延揽 , when all things are considered, as recruit is inaccurate, especially given the sweeping and exaggerating fashion of the NUDT press release, which should have raised red flags for readers to take it at face value because a) it announced the 延揽 of more than 40 international high-end talents in the field of quantum information research
b) the only two names it named were both prominent professors full-time employed elsewhere
c) Brady’s report fails to take proper notice of the fact that Chinese universities just like to use big names to decorate if not inflate their own prestige and international profile;
4) Either Gao “colluded” with the PLA’s NUDT openly - then his University of Auckland would in all likelihood have “caught” him and thus not backing him twice; or Gao “colluded” covertly - then it’s implausible for the PLA’s NUDT to advertise him twice on its web site in the first place.
5) Brady’s report included two lengthy paragraphs to insinuate Gao’s shady dealings, in the words of the report itself: what can be expected of NUDT staff. But Gao was simply too old to be on NUDT staff. The age issue alone should have eliminated that possibility, then the two lengthy, insinuating paragraphs have no relevance whatsoever - they should be removed.
a) Gao’s 心系祖国发展 heart is concerned with the development of the Ancestral Land statement is such a cliche in Chinese that Google can find 18,000 cases of usage of the phrase, not counting the numerous times that the phrase did not make onto a record on the Internet;
b) such a role on the CCG think tank? PLEASE
Your Pekingnologist acknowledges a need to condense relevant information in reports of any kind, but the selective choice of facts solely for one side in NOT prudent; there can be different meanings - opinionated understandings- to one term, especially when it is from another language in another culture and context, which only makes it imperative to include more not less; and finally:
language and context are super important in China watching.
ENDITEM (THE FULL VERSION IS MADE UP BY TWO PARTS, AND CLICK FOR THE FIRST PART
Zichen Wang has been in no contact with Gao Wei, the University of Auckland, or anybody else named in this newsletter prior to its publication, which is fully based on open-sourced information.
Errors may well exist, so suggestions for corrections and feedback are welcome - feel free to reply or send an email to email@example.com .