Spies and Lies: How China's Greatest Covert Operations Fooled the World (Paperback)
Spies and Lies by Alex Joske is a ground-breaking exposé of elite influence operations by China’s little-known Ministry of State Security. Revealing for the first time how the Chinese Communist Party has tasked its spies to deceive the world, it challenges the conventional account of China’s past, present and future.
Mere years ago, Western governments chose to cooperate with China in the hope that it would liberalize, setting aside concerns about human rights abuses, totalitarian ambitions and espionage. But the axiom of China's 'peaceful rise' has been fundamentally challenged by the Chinese Communist Party's authoritarian behavior under Xi Jinping.
How did we get it wrong for so long?
Spies and Lies pierces the Ministry of State Security's walls of secrecy and reveals how agents of the Chinese Communist Party have spent decades manipulating the West’s attitudes – from an Australian prime minister to the US Congress, prominent think tanks and the FBI – about China’s rise. Through interviews with defectors and intelligence officers, classified Chinese intelligence documents and original investigations, the book unmasks dozens of active Chinese intelligence officers along with global MSS fronts, including travel agencies, writers associations, publishing houses, alumni associations, newspapers, a Buddhist temple, a record company and charities.
Spies and Lies is an extraordinary insight into the most successful influence operation in history – one which has fooled the West for years – and is indispensable reading.
About the Author
Alex Joske was the youngest-ever analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and is known for breaking open new fields of research through meticulous Chinese-language investigations grounded in authoritative and independently verifiable sources. His research in the hotly contested field of Chinese Communist Party influence and espionage efforts has withstood intense scrutiny and earned the respect and interest of governments and policymakers globally. He lives in Canberra, Australia.
“Alex Joske is one of the leading researchers on the subject of Chinese Communist Party influence and interference around the world and he is already a trusted authority on the matter for journalists, academics, lawmakers and government officials in Washington, Dc. His work is often quoted in media and Congressional testimony; his research has directly informed legislation and policy; and his own publications are required reading not just for professionals, but also for anyone who wishes to understand how the rise of China is shaping societies around the globe. Alex served as the lead researcher for my book Chaos Under Heaven and I’m sure his own book will be both an important contribution to the field as well as a popular success in several countries. I can’t wait to read it.” - Josh Rogin, Washington Post
“Alex Joske earned widespread attention in late 2018 for 'Picking Flowers, Making Honey,' his first report for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which detailed an extensive CCP campaign to place thousands of military scientists in foreign universities to covertly secure cutting-edge research and technologies. His latest report, 'The Party Speaks For You,' examines the Chinese government’s efforts to disrupt dissenting movements by co-opting their leaders and spokespeople. Joske, only a couple of years removed from university, has quickly risen to prominence on issues of Chinese government influence.” - David Barboza, The Wire China, formerly New York Times
“If only this book were a work of fiction, we could all sleep better at night. But the revelations by Joske - an ultra-talented researcher into the Chinese Communist Party’s covert influence ops - will keep you up all night reading, learning and marvelling at how Beijing’s agents pulled the wool over the eyes of the world for so long. Spies and Lies is a brilliant book.” - Matt Pottinger, former US Deputy National Security Advisor
“Alex Joske is one of the most innovative and impressive voices on China policy today. His ground-breaking research on PLA-affiliated research institutions produced concrete change in US government policy and educated policy-makers around the world about the Chinese Communist Party’s malign technology transfer strategy. When Alex speaks, governments need to listen.” - Mike Gallagher (Member of Congress)
“In an astonishing feat of precocity, Alex Joske has made himself one of the world’s leading analysts of the Chinese Communist Party. His work on the CCP's united front system of overseas influence, and on how leading western universities have been unwittingly assisting China's military to build sophisticated weapons systems, has attracted the attention of powerful lawmakers, advisers, journalists and intelligence agencies. The US Congress has passed legislation based directly on his work. Not bad for a twenty-something.
Naturally, Alex has become a target of Beijing, banned from the country of his mother's birth and relentlessly trolled. In short, Alex Joske is a star of China studies in Australia, a youthful independent scholar with a global reach that is the envy of established professors. There are only a handful of researchers in Australia of whom it can be said their work has a truly global impact. Alex is one of them." - Professor Clive Hamilton, author of Silent Invasion