According to the Washington Times, Chinese state-run media was apparently out in full-force last week, promoting the idea that the Chinese naval fleet of nuclear submarines is fully capable of conducting a full-scale nuclear attack against American cities in a future apocalyptic WWII scenario.
The Chinese nuclear sub development program has been highly secretive for many years. It started in the 1950s when the Chinese obtained a Soviet Golf-class submarine and reverse engineered the technology. By the 1980’s, China developed the Type 092 Xio-class ballistic missile sub. It was a short-range sub that only made China’s neighbors nervous. That was until China developed the Type 094 Jin class sub in 2010, which could travel 8,700 miles.
In the alleged article by the Global Times, the Washington Times reported the Global Times as writing about nuclear attacks on specific US cities.
The Washington times only linked to its own website tags as a source for the alleged article, and efforts to confirm that the article exists on the Global Times website itself turned up no such article at all. (1)
Confirming the Source
In the article, Miles claimed that the “China Central TV, the People’s Daily, the Global Times, the PLA Daily, the China Youth Daily and the Guangmin Daily” all ran duplicate articles – implying they were written by state media and submitted for distribution.
Miles specifically mentioned the Global Times when he wrote that in an article titled, “China for the First Time Possesses Effective Underwater Nuclear Deterrence against the United States” – the Global times supposedly wrote:
“Because the Midwest states of the U.S. are sparsely populated, in order to increase the lethality, [our] nuclear attacks should mainly target the key cities on the West Coast of the United States, such as Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.” (1)
According to Miles, the Global Times wrote that the warheads being carried by the submarines could “kill and wound 5 million to 12 million Americans”.
However, searching the English version of the Global Times for that exact article title turned up no results at all.
The Global Times did have two English version articles accessible from the U.S., published surrounding the revelation of China’s secret nuclear sub fleet. One article was published on October 28th, titled, “China Reveals Long-Secret Nuclear Sub Fleet”. The other title, published on October 29th, was titled “China Unveils Nuke Submarine Fleet”. The first article was an infographic that showed China developed the 4th generation of its nuclear submarine design this year.
The second article showed a CCTV photo from the Chinese military of the nuclear sub, and the Global Times reported:
“The People’s Daily on Monday hailed the submarine force as ‘a shield preserving world peace and stability’ and ‘a cornerstone to safeguard state sovereignty, security and development interests.'” (2)
The statement falls far short of the provocative claim alleged by Miles in the Washington Times column. In fact, the Global Times article even quoted a military expert by the name of Du Wenlong as stating that compared to foreign submarines, “China occupies a seat within the leading group, but lags behind the US and Russia in terms of the submarine’s noise output and the number of missiles it can carry.”
The closest any public statement comes to making any threat against the U.S. is a reference made by quoted military expert Li Jie who stated:
“The publicity of the submarine force is a warning to any country that attempts to provoke China, telling them whoever makes the first strike should think about the consequences.” (2)
All online reports outside of the Great Firewall of China are fairly tame. However, I contacted Miles in order to determine whether he had sources to support his claims made on the Washington Times. I would give him a week to respond, and if not hearing back, work on the assumption that his article was misinformation against China.
The Two Faces of China
Miles responded to my query in less than an hour, and wrote, “At the bottom of the page [included in his email] are 30 photos and graphics, with continuing texts of the long article. Casualty estimates for nuking Seattle and LA are the 3rd and 5th graphics…”
Reviewing the Chinese-language links provided by Miles, the images included were shocking. The report from the Chinese military to the Chinese people very clearly indicated how China would target the United States in a nuclear strike.
Google Translate performed a decent job on the pages and confirmed Mile’s quotes. In one case, the author at the Chinese language version of the site “huanqiu.com” wrote:
“According to China’s one million tons of TNA-equivalent actual level of small nuclear warhead technology, a 094-type submarine carrying 12 nuclear missiles to the United States with type 2 waves can case 500-1200 deaths. Deterrence Effect is obvious.”
The California kill-zone is especially ominous, with 5 nuclear missiles concentrated over densely populated areas. (3)
Another common theme from our own China insider, WC, is that the Chinese government makes such grandiose threats, not intended for a Western audience, but instead intended for its internal audience. The Chinese government wants its people to see that without the Communist Party in power, China is vulnerable to the terrible threats of Westerners.
The Chinese Communists need the Chinese people to believe that Americans and other Westerners would like to degrade China’s leadership around the world, and that the Communist party is the only answer. The publication of this threat on only China-language, internal news websites makes it very obvious that these threats are not intended for a foreign audience, but instead to bolster internal political support for the Communist Party.
I would like to thank Miles Yu for reporting on this story, and providing solid sources for the claims.