Can't say I'm surprised with the content of the article but did the SMH bury this re a Sunday night release rather than Monday am? Warning, get a cuppa before you start reading....it's not a short read. https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/b...-used-australian-insider-20181031-p50d2e.html Beijing's secret plot to infiltrate UN used Australian insider By Nick McKenzie, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Zach Dorfman & Fergus Hunter 11 November 2018 Earlier this year, a petite 62-year-old woman dubbed the ‘‘queen of the Australian-China social scene’’ walked out of a US federal prison. Charming and gregarious, Sheri Yan was once known for hosting soirees around the world where diplomats mingled with millionaire business executives and socialites. But her life changed forever in October 2015, when she was arrested by FBI agents in New York and accused of bribing the former president of the United Nations General Assembly, John Ashe. Yan’s journey from one of China’s smallest provinces to the UN’s New York headquarters is itself extraordinary. Then the FBI’s case opened another window into her story – a sprawling saga of ambition, greed and power. The most intriguing chapter of this tale remains shrouded in mystery, with clues emerging across three continents – in court documents, phone tap warrants, and a spy agency raid. The clues, like a trail of breadcrumbs, all lead back to the same source. The Chinese Communist Party.According to 10 serving and former Australian and US national security officials, the Chinese government was conducting a clandestine foreign interference operation targeting the most prominent symbol of the global rules-based order: the UN. This bold operation used UN-approved non-government organisations (NGOs) with apparently charitable intentions as fronts for channelling illicit payments to UN diplomats – via a network of middlemen, millionaires and suspected spies. Yan was a key player, say some of these sources. In September, US prosecutors alluded to Yan’s secret involvement in a second high profile bribery case. This case involved claims that Hong Kong’s former Home Affairs minister, Patrick Ho, had bribed another UN general assembly president, Sam Kutesa. Kutesa’s wife once worked for Yan and phone taps suggest Yan and Ho were working together to exert corrupt influence inside the UN. Yan and Ho share other similarities. Yan has faced explosive accusations that she is an agent of Chinese government influence, having been raided by ASIO. Ho’s alleged connections to Beijing’s security apparatus involve a black market arms smuggling racket. The Chinese Communist Party hovers in the background of both Yan and Ho’s stories.When asked about Yan, Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter didn’t call out Beijing directly, but confirmed the UN had been targeted. ‘‘Ensuring political processes are conducted without improper influence is paramount for all political processes, from local council elections through to the running of the UN,’’ he said. ‘‘Examples demonstrate that this is a real problem.’’ Yan’s story shows why. A new Cold War On October 4, at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC, US Vice-President Mike Pence delivered a speech the impact of which is still being felt. Pence declared Beijing was interfering ‘‘in the domestic policies of this country’’ as part of a clandestine and systemic operation. The New York Times said some were calling the speech a portent of a ‘‘new cold war.’’ Despite the scrutiny of Pence’s comments, few media outlets connected it to a major secret US national security report. This report underpinned Pence's sweeping assertions about the way Beijing's foreign interference operations are aimed at goverments, universities and businesses. Even less known was that the origins of this US report lay over the Pacific Ocean, in another highly classified project led by former senior Australian government official John Garnaut. The Garnaut report, written with ASIO, assessed the scale of Chinese government interference in Australia and, in July, prompted sweeping reforms of Australia’s national security laws. While he has declined to be interviewed about his work, Garnaut recently wrote in The Monthly about how the Communist Party’s United Front Work Department engages in foreign interference. To influence "foreign actors," Garnaut said United Front agencies sometimes engage in ‘‘covert operations aided by [Chinese] intelligence agencies."Before becoming a public servant, Garnaut knew Yan. As Fairfax Media’s highly regarded China correspondent, Garnaut broke the story of her arrest in October 2015. It was Garnaut who had dubbed Yan the ‘‘queen’’ of the Australia-China social scene. ‘‘Our paths had crossed both professionally and in Australian expatriate social circles,’’ Garnaut later wrote in a legal statement after he was sued by a businessman named in his Yan story. ‘‘I had gone to ... [Yan’s] house once because she was offering me entrée into elite Chinese political circles.’’ In his statement, Garnaut, described Yan as ‘‘a fixer/mediator/consultant’’ who likely moved in United Front circles.According to national security sources with knowledge of the Yan case, it was this same suspicion, along with the belief that Yan was somehow involved in intelligence work, that brought ASIO agents to her Canberra apartment in October 2015. A senior security official told Fairfax Media he considered Yan an agent of influence, a conduit to help Beijing meddle in the affairs of other countries. ‘‘Her motivation has been making money and as she got better at doing that, she became useful to Chinese government agencies,’’ the official said.Yan wasn’t home when ASIO came knocking. She was in New York, in the custody of the FBI, who were about to charge her with bribing John Ashe. In Canberra, the ASIO agents handed their search warrant to the man who had opened Yan’s front door and who they knew as one of their own: Yan’s husband, Roger Uren, a former Australian government intelligence official. Only 12 months earlier, Yan and Uren had helped Yan’s father, Yan Zhen, host a one man art exhibition at the UN’s New York headquarters to celebrate the transition of the UN General Assembly presidency from Ashe to Kutesa. The event was also a celebration of Yan’s own rise. She worked the crowd, at ease among the notables of the diplomatic world, including Ashe and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.Yan's arrest in New York and the raid on her Canberra property marked the beginning of a mortifying fall for a woman who was at the peak of her powers, mixing with the rich and powerful, flying business class and wearing designer clothes. From re-education to riches Sheri Yan was born Shiwie Yan in 1956 in Anhui province. She lived in a writers' compound with her father, a renowned poet and painter, mother and brother until the Cultural Revolution swept through China and her parents were sent to Mao’s feared re-education camps. Yan was 11 years old. She stayed in the compound to fend for herself, wearing her mother’s old clothes and receiving handouts from her former nanny. Four years later, Yan joined an arts and culture troupe run by Mao’s Red Guards. It would be another five years before she was finally reunited with her family. After studying to become a journalist, Yan worked for the Communist Party’s propaganda outlet China National Radio in Beijing and married her first husband. Wanting more, and with China’s economy opening up under President Deng Xiaoping, Yan took her first big risk. Her mother sewed $400 into the lining of her jacket and Yan flew to the US to work as a journalist and to learn English, leaving her husband and old life behind. It was in Washington DC where Yan’s connection to Australia was forged. There, she met Uren, an eccentric and erudite mid-career Australian diplomat who was writing a book about Mao’s feared spy chief Kang Sheng. The pair fell in love and she travelled with Uren to Canberra when he was posted to a senior role at Australia's peak intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments. In 1996, they had a daughter. You'll need to click thru to article for the entire story as article is too long for this forum per thread post.