Open Letter, by Maura Moynihan


Paul Heer, a former National Intelligence Officer for East Asia at the CIA from 2007 to 2015, wrote an article for The National Interest on 14 July entitled, Engagement with China Has Not Failed. As the title implies, the article advocated continued engagement with the Chinese communists despite their relentless acts of genocide and persecution against ethnic and religious minorities in China.

Ms. Moynihan promptly took Mr. Heer to task in an op-ed published in The Washington Times on 18 July. Other long-time China watchers also piled on through private emails to Mr. Heer. Apparently feeling the heat and a need to “explain” his position, he wrote a defensive follow-up article that was posted by The National Interest on 25 July entitled, Condemning the Chinese Communist Party is Not Enough.

Below is Ms. Moynihan’s reply to that second Heer article.

Dear Mr. Heer,

I just read your latest essay “Condemning the Chinese Communist Party is Not Enough” posted July 25th, 2022, in The National Interest. Perhaps you read my op-ed published in The Washington Times on July 18th, 2022: “CIA Official Defends Appeasement with Communist China.”

You write “vehement attacks on my judgement, integrity, and loyalty to the United States. I was accused in particular of rarely if ever acknowledging the horrific nature of the CCP, and I was advised that my credibility depended on my willingness to publicly condemn it. I have always been ready to do so. The CCP is a repugnant regime, and it appears to have become even more so over the past two decades in spite and even in defiance of U.S. engagement with it.”

Mr. Heer, if, as you claim, you “have always been ready” to publicly condemn the CCP’s hideous crimes against humanity, then why is there scant reference to these crimes in your voluminous writings? Is your recent essay motivated by a troubled conscience, or a desire to preserve your credibility as an “expert” on China and Asian affairs?

You write: “So why do I not articulate this more often and as a matter of course? Because it is too easy, rarely productive, and—for those reasons—not cathartic. The CCP regime certainly merits “naming and shaming” for a wide range of reprehensible behaviors, especially in the realm of human rights and in standards of international conduct. But given the CCP’s tough façade, visceral commitment to its principles (such as they are), and calculus of its international leverage, this usually succeeds only on the margins.”

So, you are stating that because CCP is “committed to its principles” – that would be the principles of a genocidal totalitarian dictatorship – they simply won’t listen if anyone speaks of their atrocities, so it’s not worth the trouble? Could you please explain your assertion that silence and appeasement is the only option to the millions of Uyghur Muslims being slaughtered in massive CCP concentration camps, Tibetan and Falun Gong torture survivors, to Jimmy Lai, Claudia Mo and the other Hong Kong democrats locked in CCP prisons for the crime of “counterrevolutionary thought, and to the Tiananmen Mothers?

You write: “Moreover, if the United States—after decades of disappointment—still aspires to see democratic change in China, it is also difficult to see how merely condemning the CCP regime and minimizing interaction with it could advance that goal. The fact that U.S. engagement has not liberalized China—regardless of whether that was its purpose—does not mean that it can’t. Indeed, the CCP’s persistent fear that engagement might change China should be sufficient reason to sustain it.”

Thus, you are affirming yet again that your loyalty is to “engagement” with the CCP, which means that you refuse to acknowledge that decades of “engagement” has been a disastrous failure. Engagement kept the Chinese people in bondage to the CCP, destroyed the lives of millions of US citizens whose jobs were shipped to CCP slave labor camps, allowed the CCP to infiltrate and corrupt US education, technology, medicine, the military, and unleash hell with their pandemic – I noted that you did not include the catastrophic Wuhan Virus in your list of CCP crimes against humanity.

Since you have now publicly condemned the CCP’s crimes against humanity, will you also now condemn the architects of engagement, who for decades praised, funded and justified the CCP’s atrocities with specious and immoral arguments, and built the CCP into the hideous monstrosity it is today?

Is it not sorry proof that “engagement” has failed, that in 2019 the CCP declared a “People’s War” on the United States, and 4 years hence, our nation is crippled by the CCP Virus, Marxist indoctrination in our government military and schools, supply chains in collapse, and Chinese Fentanyl now the #1 cause of death in the USA?

In your closing paragraph you write: “This is why mere condemnation of the CCP regime, however justifiable, will have limited utility and success in either liberalizing China or yielding other strategic benefits for the United States.” Are you suggesting that the US must submit to the CCP’s “People’s War” and allow our nation to be “destroyed from within” – a phrase repeatedly used by PLA generals about their strategy to vanquish America – because “engagement” averts conflict?  And what exactly are the “strategic benefits” of continuing to engage with a fascist dictatorship that is actively waging war on our homeland?

Mr. Heer, I do agree that “mere condemnation of the CCP is not enough.” Thus, your latest essay where you do condemn the CCP’s crimes against humanity is also not enough. You listed some, not all, of the CCP’s atrocities, then reverted back to a vigorous defense of engagement, which constitutes appeasement, absolves the CCP of their crimes, holds them to no standard of law or justice, and allows their US collaborators to continue with business as usual.

Will you publicly denounce the architects of appeasement for their collusion with the genocidal CCP? And could you please disclose the amount of dollar funding you have received from CCP entities, Confucius Institutes, and the United Front Work Department?

I await your timely reply.


Maura Moynihan

New York City

Maura Moynihan is an outspoken human rights advocate, author, film producer, and artist. The daughter of former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), she has been a journalist and researcher in Asia for many years while specializing in Tibet, Nepal, China, Thailand, and India. Now based in New York City, she concentrates on supporting Tibetan, Uyghur, Falun Gong, and other persecuted Chinese minorities, which efforts frequently involve confronting those who advocate for continued engagement with – and appeasement of – the communist Chinese.

More on Maura Moynihan, including her blog postings, can be found at]

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2 thoughts on “Open Letter, by Maura Moynihan”

  1. I completely missed this article. I’m glad I decided to dig into the links in the latest article you wrote.
    I agree with your letter to Heer. I think he is the appeaser that you say he is, and that he is absolving China of so many crimes against humanity that no one in their right mind could make the argument he makes.
    We fought a bloody war to end slavery. It was horrific, but necessary. It corrected a wrong that the Founders knew about and addressed, but were unable to form our union without that war coming later in our history. The point is that we corrected a wrong, where the CCP sees slavery as a necessity and a benefit, to be added to their totalitarian approach to control.
    One might have thought that communism never had the chance it had, but it used force to gain power, and force was necessary for evil rule to succeed. Communism is the ultimate contradiction when things, like humanity is involved. There is none.

    Keep up the great work, Maura.


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