Twitter Hires Chinese Communist Party-Linked AI Expert Who Wanted to Hide ‘Secret’ Weapons Contracts


Dr. Fei-Fei Li – a Stanford Professor and former Google Vice President linked with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) projects – has been appointed to the board at Twitter as an ‘independent advisor.’

The news comes as Twitter begins to alter President Trump’s Twitter feed to suit narratives that are likely to impede his re-election.

Dr. Fei-Fei has been described as one of “the Google scientists who led the company’s efforts to build its China AI operations” and during her tenure at the digital media giant, the company began “cooperating with a leading artificial intelligence (AI) research body at Tsinghua University, a prestigious Chinese academic institution that also conducts AI research for the Chinese military.”

Now, she’s at Twitter.

According to Radio Free Asia, Dr. Fei-Fei was a guest at two China Overseas Talent Exchange Conferences. One in Guangzhou in 2017, and the other in Beijing in 2018. The conferences were hosted by the European and American Alumni Associated with the backing of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Work Front Department (UWFD).

The UFWD works to “co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party,” with its primary focus being “the management of potential opposition groups inside China, but it also has an important foreign influence mission,” according to a report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

“To carry out its influence activities abroad,” the commission explained in the 2018 report, “the UFWD directs ‘overseas Chinese work,’ which seeks to co-opt ethnic Chinese individuals and communities living outside China, while a number of other key affiliated organizations guided by China’s broader United Front strategy conduct influence operations targeting foreign actors and states.”

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Additionally, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) expert, who helped develop Google’s AI lab in China, is tied to the mobile technology and communications developer Future Forum, a Beijing-based agency backed by both the Beijing government and the China Association for Science and Technology, which describes itself as being “a bridge that links the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government to the country’s science and technology community.”

Radio Free Asia notes the Forum is linked with “some of the biggest names in Chinese technology, including NetEase founder Ding Lei and Baidu founder Li Yanhong,” as well as “descendants of veteran revolutionaries… including Zhu Yulai, son of former premier Zhu Rongji, and Liu Lefei, son of former Politburo member Liu Yunshan.”

Wang Longmeng, a commentator for Radio Free Asia based in France, said Dr. Fei-Fei Li’s appointment to Twitter can be likened to “hiring a fox to guard the hen-coop.” He explained: Twitter “seem[s] to have ignored the backstory of Li’s previous cooperation with China.”

Fei-Fei Li resigned from her position as Vice President of Google following the leak of an email revealing her commendation of a massive Google contract with the Pentagon.

Despite praising the contract in the emails, Fei-Fei requested her colleagues not divulge the AI component of the contract to the public for fear of backlash: “this is red meat to the media to find all ways to damage Google.”

“I don’t know what would happen if the media starts picking up a theme that Google is secretly building AI weapons or AI technologies to enable weapons for the Defense industry,” she wrote.

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Subsequently, thousands of Google employees protested and around 4,000 signed a petition demanding “a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology.”

Fei-Fei Li was awarded a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans in 1999.

A 2017 event report in Mandarin reveals Dr. Fei-Fei gloating about her work in favor of China, which she called the “sleeping lion” that has been awakened.

“Today, my team and I returned to China,” she said, “hoping to start a long and sincere work to create the future… ‘AI has no national boundaries, and AI’s benefits has no boundaries’.”

The same Beijing event saw the launch of Google’s AI China Center.

She said at the launch: “In my own career in AI, whether as an AI professor for more than ten years, or as the chief scientist of Google Cloud, I have worked with many Chinese students and researchers, which is a great honor. It is no exaggeration to say that without their outstanding contributions, there would be no achievement of my own today.”

In a recent article for the Spectator, U.S. author and publisher Roger Kimball noted: “There are nearly 400,000 Chinese students in American universities. Thanks to Article 7 of the Chinese National Intelligence Law of 2017, each of these students is required to ‘support, assist and cooperate with state intelligence work according to law’. In other words, the United States is home to some 400,000 potential spies from China.”

Sofia Carbone

Sofia Carbone is a freelance writer

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