A major data leak has revealed how Communist Party of China's members have been employed with some of the world's biggest corporations, in the areas of defence, banking, and even pharma companies involved in manufacturing coronavirus vaccine.
An Australian daily has reported major data leak containing official records, date of birth, national ID number, and ethnicity of nearly two million alleged members of China's Communist Party, working across the world, including US, UK and Australia.
As per the report by The Australian, companies where alleged CPC members are working as employees are COVID-19 vaccine-making companies like-Pfizer and AstraZeneca; financial institutions like ANZ, HSBC, aircraft manufacturer Boeing, and German carmaker Volkswagen.
The leak has exposed details of 1.95 million CPC members after being extracted from a Shanghai server by whistleblowers. The data was extracted from a Shanghai server by Chinese dissidents, whistleblowers, in April 2016, who have been using it for counter-intelligence purposes.
The report further uncovered that that at least 10 consulates in the eastern Chinese metropolis Shanghai have CPC members employed as senior political and government affairs specialists, clerks, economic advisers, and executive assistants.
Journalist Sharri Markson, who reported about this major data leak in The Australian, said that CPC branches had been set up inside western companies where members, "if called on, are answerable directly to the Communist Party" and President Xi Jinping himself.
However, it is worth noting that there's no evidence yet whether these members have committed espionage. Markson said the major concern remains is that whether Australia or these companies knew of the CCP members and if so, have any steps been taken to protect their data and people.
Australia and China's cordial economic ties, established over the last three decades, have now been soured over several points of friction. One is, Australia became the first country to publicly ban China's Huawei from its 5G network in 2018. Second is, Australia called for an enquiry into the origins of the new coronavirus, which was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Third is, Australia became more vocal about Uighur Muslims issue and the Hong Kong's protests.
China is Australia's largest trading partner in terms of both exports and imports. China's share in Australia's exports reached a record A$117 billion, or 38 per cent, in 2019. Australian sectors like mining, tourism, education benefit from trade with China. China even imports products such as milk, wine and meat.