Fact Check: U.S. Governors' Names Are NOT On Leaked List Of Chinese Communist Party Members

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: U.S. Governors' Names Are NOT On Leaked List Of Chinese Communist Party Members No CCP Guvs

Are U.S. governors' names on a leaked list of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members? No, that's not true: Although there are credible reports of a leaked CCP database, people with direct knowledge of the list told Lead Stories no governors are on it.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by the Hal Turner Radio Show on December 18, 2020. Titled "U.S. STATE GOVERNORS NAMES ON CHINA COMMUNIST PARTY **MEMBERSHIP** LIST," the article opened:

A database obtained by computer hackers from China Communist Party computers allegedly reveals the names of more than a DOZEN U.S. State Governors who are reportedly shown in the database as being MEMBERS of China's Communist Party:

Users on social media saw this title, description and thumbnail:

U.S. STATE GOVERNORS NAMES ON CHINA COMMUNIST PARTY **MEMBERSHIP** LIST

A database obtained by computer hackers from China Communist Party computers allegedly reveals the names of more than a DOZEN U.S. State Governors...

The article continued:

The database was originally leaked on Telegram, the encrypted instant messaging app, and passed in September by a Chinese dissident to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, which comprises more than 150 legislators around the world who are concerned by the influence and activities of the Chinese government.

Lead Stories reached out to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), which describes itself as "an international cross-party group of legislators working towards reform on how democratic countries approach China," to ask about the article's claims. In December 2020, the organization released a short statement on the purported leak of some 2 million CCP members in Shanghai. It read, in part:

A representative of IPAC received this list from a non-governmental source, but was not in a position to verify it, so handed it to experts. Journalists have since investigated and their findings are disturbing indeed.

In mid-December 2020, the tabloid New York Post and the U.K.'s politics-focused Daily Mail reported on the leaked database, as can be seen here and here. Neither story mentioned the possibility of U.S. governors being on the list and, Sam Armstrong, director of communications and strategy for IPAC, confirmed that they were not. In a January 13, 2021, email to Lead Stories, he wrote:

While we have identified a small number of those individuals (all Chinese nationals) who have subsequently moved to the West they certainly did not include any US Governors.

Armstrong had strong words for the Hal Turner Radio Show. He said:
The information included on this website is a total fabrication, lies, and nonsense. It risks undermining serious work to understand the true realities of the CCP.

Lead Stories also reached out to Internet 2.0, an Australian cybersecurity firm that helped to authenticate the data. Co-founder David Robinson said fake files have spread online, but that his firm has the original copy. He wrote:

I can say that 100% no US political leaders or members of any level in the US government were on the list.
This fact-check does not attempt to address all of the allegations in the article published by the Hal Turner Radio Show, other than the Turner show's claim that the Georgia secretary of state has a brother who is the chief technology officer for the Chinese tech giant Huawei, which the Trump administration has banned U.S. companies from buying equipment from, citing national security concerns. As Lead Stories has reported previously, the claim about the Georgia official's brother is simply not true.

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  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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