Based on his personal, on-the-ground reporting from Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Beijing, Shanghai, and elsewhere, author Kenji Minemura offers up a behind-the-scenes account of recent U.S.-China relations, as well as of the inside politics that brought Xi Jinping to power over the most populous country in the world.
Minemura was a research fellow at Harvard University in May 2014 when he learned the whereabouts of Xi Jinping’s only daughter, who had been studying at the university since 2010. Because she was enrolled under an assumed name, teams of reporters sent in by other major media organizations had failed to confirm her presence on campus. Why had Xi Jinping sent his daughter to study at the institution where America, a potential enemy, trained its most elite? Seeing his opportunity at the graduation ceremony, Minemura subjects her to an ambush interview. With an account of this scoop as his starting point, he proceeds to a broad-ranging discussion of what goes on behind the scenes in U.S.-China relations.
Returning frequently to the crucial importance of direct, on-the-spot reporting, Minemura exposes one Communist Party secret after another. Among them is the existence of special postpartum care centers in the United States set up especially for Chinese women. By law, any child born on American soil is automatically granted U.S. citizenship, regardless of the parents’ nationality. For this reason, many Chinese women travel to the United States to give birth to their children. Some 250,000 Communist Party members have been arrested since Xi Jinping became president. As a result, senior officials who fear for their futures have begun moving their families to the United States and transferring their assets overseas at the same time. In other cases, they have had their mistresses move to the United States as a means of laundering money. Minemura discovered a neighborhood in Los Angeles with a high concentration of such Chinese residents. When he visited this “paramour village,” he found that few of the women spoke any English; stuck in an alien land where they don’t speak the language, they are relegated to a dreary life of waiting for their men to visit them who knows when.
A noticeable upsurge in Chinese immigration (in 2013 some 80,000 Chinese gained permanent residency) has raised concern among some observers in the United States, but the American government continues to look the other way. The flow of money coming into the country from Communist Party officials not only contributes to economic development, but reveals a good deal about the means of the entire class of high Chinese officials. There may also be opportunities to hold the families and lovers “hostage” for the diplomatic advantage of the United States.
A consummate front-line journalist has produced an incomparable work of international reporting based on the firsthand testimony of more than 50 insider sources.