Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tape 160 Transcription

Tape 160

The French couple who helped the Chinese arms deals. They had worked for the French Aerospatiale for about five to six years, starting in late 1982. Man and woman worked in the same unit, and they belonged to the Signal Corps of the PLA, an independent organization, but later on the corps was incorporated into the general staff, and now it is a department of the PLA. The man's name is Mr. Wang and his wife name is Mrs. Wang, but her last name is Li. Influential couple, heavily involved in the French deals with the PLA.
The signal corps had some of the first deals with the French. Before he retired, Wang was promoted to the rank of regimental commander. That is the rank of major, two ranks are around the same level. But at that time he wanted to be promoted further, but the chances were not good for him. So, he thought seriously of retiring, but he was not permitted to do so. Later on he became more and more involved in foreign negotiations, not only with the French but with the British also, especially when it came to some of the communication equipment, that was his specialty, so he was constantly involved in technical discussions and evaluations of this sort, including the deal from the air force and the navy. In terms of the communication field, the place that he was working for was high level, technologically speaking. He was very good at communications and signal transmissions. Later on the French, while they were dealing with the Chinese military, the air force or the navy, this guy’s name came kept coming up. And so they knew he was important and they discovered also that he was a well connected guy in the military, he was from a Chinese senior family but not military family. I am not sure what his family was about, but definitely not military. He refused to talk more about it, and so no one really knew. I don’t know for sure how the French recruited him, but all of a sudden he became very interested in the French. He spoke some French, too, and taught himself, and so did his wife. In 1983 the couple decided to really help the French make their deals in Beijing. They were well connected and well informed, and they knew exactly what sort of equipment the military was looking for and what the details of their budget was. Now this was critical information. For foreign businessmen in Beijing. He was able to provide all of this inside information to the French. So the French began to cooperate with him while he was still in the service, initially. He was very intimately involved with the French attempts to make their sales in Beijing. When there was commercial discussion, technical evaluations, discussions based on French firms in the equipment field, this couple constantly showed up. So, that was in 1983, they decided to retire from the military, and then they had to start looking for their own jobs in the civilian field. So the French came forward at that time. The French made a proposal to them. They said, "We want to hire you and to let you stay in Beijing as consultants for us." The guy was reluctant initially, because at that time the reform atmosphere was not very favorable, especially for people who just retired from the military, and if you worked for foreigners, you were in trouble, at least you are very suspicious. So the guy decided to go to France and to tour the facilities of French Aerospatiale and to gain some firsthand experience with the company. The French agreed to this, and the couple obtained their passport and visa, and they flew to Paris, and stayed there for about one year, or a little longer. And during their stay in Paris, their daughter and son were transferred to France and were admitted to French universities. And the children still today are there. So, starting about 1985, when China first held the defense exhibition show, what was we call the Asian Asiandex, and the first was held in the mid 1980s. And that was the time -- but before that show, the couple moved back to Beijing and moved into an apartment. And later on they just stayed. They did not stay in a hotel, they still had their own homes in Beijing, but they were heavily committed now to the French and promoting deals for the French.
The first time I met him was in 1986. I was introduced to him them. And he was unusually cordial. he was well connected with everyone from Poly and it seemed to me that everyone knew him. So in case there was one new individual that he didn't know, that individual would be introduced. Everyone had to know him. And he was always very busy touring all the stands on the French side, the French and the British were always side by side in these shows. It was held at the China Exhibition Center, newly built.(held at the China exhibition center) and so he was very busy traveling around that day, a very pretty day and a lot of foreign guests and he was busy traveling around introducing VIPs to the people, so it was he was pretty successful that time. But whenever the generals came from the air force or the admirals from the Navy came, he was constantly present. I don't know for what. But on a couple of occasions when I was with General Lin and the Admiral, and I traveled with them and interpreted for them ,too, he was around. He was always willing to pay for dinner and this kind of thing. And he was always asking, "Oh, and where is the general going later." It was already 11 pm, and he kept glancing at his watch, and this sort of thing. And the personal assistant to the admiral, his staff officer, said, "Well, they have nowhere to go and they don't know where they will eat." So he invited us out for dinner and took us to the Great Wall Hotel, which was close to the exhibition center, several kilometers away, and we had some very nice dinners, sometimes lunch, there, in the great wall hotel, very luxurious dinners. Of course, it was always his treat. He paid. And he smoked, always very nice Chinese cigarettes, his famous brand was Red Pagoda, Hong Tashan, Red Pagoda Mountain, I noticed that because I think he did it for show purposes. He just sat side by side with the admiral and with the generals of the air force, and he seemed to advertise, "You see, I'm still patriotic. I refuse to smoke foreign imported cigarettes, these are the ones I prefer, despite the fact that I stay in France and I work for the French. I still smoke Chinese cigarettes. Only he smoked them. He wore stylish, grey western business suits and silk ties. Beyond that there was nothing unusual about him. And his wife wore god wire-rimmed glasses, she looked like a technician, very severe. And she was, of course. And he just said, they talked about friendship always first. They knew each other well. "How is your son," he asked. "My son is in France, too." And they know each other, and so on, and then they would toast their children, to the general, to the admiral. And finally, just as the dinner was ending, or at least near the end, then he would bring up business. And he would say, all right, this time the French have this or that, and his presentations were wonderful. He would speak about his children and then in the same breath bring up the French had superb, the thermal imaging system, and so on, and he said, I just spoke with them and they will reduce the price for you, they are making a point of it. This is a good deal. the generals of course were not very well educated, and once they heard something like that, then they were interested. So they are, really, is that the case? Make, sure. Don't help the French put an unfavorable price on us. You are the guy who knows the bottom line. So don't deceive us. And he said, You can count on me. No problem. But of course I knew what he was doing, every time he talked he was advocating business for the French. My God, if he wasn't valuable to the French, they wouldn't pay him the way they did. He lived in an apartment in Beijing in the signal building. A compound. The signal corps, they had their own individual assigned apartments. He knew where the weak points of the French were and where the weak points of the Chinese were too and that is why he was successful. I talked to him and we talked about business. He talked of Poly and asked if I was happy with the work and so on. what could I say on an occasion that is official. I found out more about him when I talked to staff officer of the admiral. He was on very good terms with the guy, and I asked about him. And he said, "Oh, Mr. Li. Very helpful. He travels back and forth all the time. Whenever there is an important occasion he goes from Paris to Beijing. He has a citizenship of France. He is a permanent resident of France and now his children are there. I asked what was so special about him. They said, Don't worry. He has money. He pays for nothing out of his own pocket. The French pay for everything. I saw what he was then. They got between the sides in the negotiations. If he had a lot of money, and I believe that he did, then he made a point not to show it off. The cigarettes were a case in point. Whenever he smoked, he smoked maybe half an inch from the cigarette, just the end, and then put it out. He was a chain smoker, but only smoked the ends of the cigarettes. He was medium sized, not good looking at all, really, dark skinned, tan, not very masculine.
There was a hotel on the way to the Great Wall Hotel, and there is an emergency first aid station on the downstairs, with doctors and nurses on duty, because the aged leaders some there, and they want to make sure they have no heart attack. Standard army procedure for VIPs. Around the clock medical services. A swimming pool, sauna, bowling, pool, massage rooms and private rooms, a night club, disco and so on the way out to the Great Wall, on the right hand side of the road.
The VIPs from the state leaders, they very often spend the night here. It is just for fun. It looks from the outside and inside like a hospital. it is not open to the public. It was, it seems, at one time, a hotel or a hospital for the aged people, a retirement center.
The compound for the American friends. I drove out there one time with the admiral, and Mr. Lao Yu, a colonel, and he was from the armaments department of the general staff. First we went to the FAB, Foreign affairs bureau of the National defense ministry, and we talked with the British attaché and made arrangements for the delegations trip to England. But prior to that they need to go to the US. This was in 1985. So, later on, they said, come with us, we need to go some place first to make arrangements. So we drove from the compound to somewhere else in Beijing, in the Northwestern section. A large compound with high walls, very high. Red brick. But painted, brick wall. For a private residence, unusually high. The driver parked, and we knocked on the gate. Parked in an alley outside. and there was a heavy door, when it opened it made a lot of noise, groaning. A group of buildings for one family. We pressed the bell, this was the chief of aviation of the navy, and Mr. Luo the colonel were from the general staff. We rank the bell, and the bell was outside. A guy showed up, asked a few questions and we went in. Very big place. We walked a distance and then went into another section of the compound. Down a long corridor, then several more turns. There were plants and trees along the corridor. Inside the building it was air conditioned, and the furniture was traditional Chinese, but expensive. there were two individual there, in their early fifties, bald, and very handsome. In white shirts, to meet us. They were on good terms with the Colonel, on a first name basis. But Luo was the son of the late national defense minister. Luo Ruiqing, his sons name Luo Yu, a colonel. And they shook hands. Very friendly, I noticed right away. Very familiar. they asked about each other’s families. The guy who opened the gate served tea. There were no women around. Mr. Hu spoke perfect Beijing dialect, standard mandarin and not Beijing dialect. They said, when they sat down, small talk, and they said all was well. they asked about the trip. Hu said he would make all the arrangements in the US. He was coming to the US to visit Sikorsky and later on they bought Sikorsky gunships from them. I don't know where they are. China bought a couple of Blackhawks from them, gunships. They asked about the trip and all the arrangements were made. They asked who they wanted to meet, they named senior officials from the company, and asked about any other companies. Very straightforward. They mentioned. Magnavox in Los Angeles, said they wanted to meet officials, they produced (unclear) and (unclear) and ITT and (unclear), located also in Los Angeles. That is where we bought our radar from. they initiated the meeting obviously. Six or seven were on the trip and the Admiral was the assistant, but this colonel was more senior than the admiral for a peculiar reason. They introduced the admiral who would be on the trip. they wanted to know the details, numbers of people and so on. Later on, we knew the Shangri La deal was made through these individuals. American friends as well as go betweens. Another, third individual came in later, and he was asked about the states, and this individual acted very casual. We didn't stay very long and they asked if there was any change of schedule for us to get into touch with them. We talked about them later in the car, we were told that they were "our most trusted friends" in the US. And the Admiral said, "I thought they were Chinese." And Mr. Lao said, of course they are Chinese, but they are also American citizens. and they are loyal. And he asked, "Why are you telling the purpose of our trip to these guys. "They are our friends. He said. They are our best friends.
I learned that they were not party members. And they were not need for that. They were more loyal than party members, more communist than the communist party. They believed in the cause, in the country. When they were talking, I looked into their eyes. I was curious, I kept watching his eyes. Everything was businesslike. He was cold. They all were cold. And confident. And affluent. They were in a position to help and they were eager to help. They asked cold and dispassionate questions.
This is the point where I had to trust my instinct. I could tell who was a go between and who was behind the scenes. These guys were behind the scenes. Very influential. they could arrange meetings with anyone. later on, think about the Shangri La deal. It was made with the assistance of these people. They had access to power and money in America. Mr. Lao is still powerful today, because of his connections. Still at the top. His father was the first defense minister of China. Suffered a lot during the cultural revolution. Later died in West Germany. After he was rehabilitated, his leg was broken during his incarceration, he was ill and he stayed in the general PLA hospital in Beijing, doctors and nurses personally attacked him, females kicked him the private parts, the nurses, they were more cruel than anyone else. They kicked him, do you apologize, and they would kick him. this was on the third floor where he stayed. at the end of the corridor was a window. This general could no longer endure this pain and humiliation, he climbed out the window and jumped, breaking his leg, but surviving. he went to west Germany for treatment and he died there. His remains were shipped back to China and the funeral was held there for him. Sad story. That is why his son is so powerful. Now very powerful. More and more powerful.
Individuals were constantly arrested for making illegal copies, and being arrested on the spot. This was for foreign tourists. these were for foreign tourists, but we didn't know. this happened sometimes and we were told of it. But it was no big deal. To secret documents were everywhere. But none of this involved individuals from Poly. So these are the facts that I provided for you. Now use your imagination to back it up.

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