Laowhy86 (@laowhy86) — aka Matthew Tye, aka C-Milk — shared the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of life as an American in China on his YouTube channel for 10 years until he caught the attention of the CCP and barely escaped. This is his story. [This is part two of a two-part episode. Make sure to listen to part one here first!]
What We Discuss with Laowhy86:
- What the Chinese social credit system is, the factors that increase or diminish someone’s score, and the consequences someone with a low score faces.
- How the Kremlin is cribbing the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda playbook for its own nefarious purposes.
- Why, after 10 years of having mostly positive things to say about life in China, Laowhy86 suddenly found himself on the run from the authorities and barely escaping the country.
- How Laowhy86 went from lifestyle vlogging to covering things mainstream journalists couldn’t (or wouldn’t) touch.
- Myths perpetrated by the CCP that need to be dispelled.
- And much more…
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A man who alternately goes by Laowhy86, C-Milk, or Matthew Tye is no stranger to walking in different worlds. For 10 years, he shared his experiences of an American living in China as one of the first YouTubers in the country, offering a unique perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of life there.
But things changed when Laowhy86 attracted the attention of the Chinese Communist Party and he had to flee the country — barely escaping with his freedom. On this episode, we discuss how Laowhy86 went from lifestyle vlogging about quaint cultural differences to covering things mainstream journalists couldn’t (or wouldn’t) touch, how the Chinese social credit score system works, what Russia has done to bolster its propaganda machine with the help of the CCP’s blueprints, and much more. Listen, learn, and enjoy! [This is part two of a two-part episode. Make sure to listen to part one here first!]
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Miss our two-parter with wrongfully imprisoned Erik Aude? Catch up by starting with episode 147: Erik Aude | Imprisoned in Pakistan for a Crime He Didn’t Commit Part One here!
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Resources from This Episode:
- ADV Podcasts
- Laowhy86 | YouTube
- Laowhy86 | Twitter
- Laowhy86 | Instagram
- Laowhy86 | Facebook
- How Does China’s Social Credit System Work? by Laowhy86 | YouTube
- Is China’s Social Credit System Real? I Found Out by Laowhy86 | YouTube
- Chinese Girl Tries American Chinese Food by Laowhy86 | YouTube
- SerpentZA | YouTube
- Conquering Southern China | IMDb
- Conquering Northern China | IMDb
- China Doesn’t Want You to Know About This Place by Laowhy86 | YouTube
- Uncovering China’s Uyghur Propaganda Campaign by Laowhy86 | YouTube
- Is China Rich or Poor? by Laowhy86 | YouTube
- Black Mirror | Amazon
- The Real Reason John Cena Apologized For Calling Taiwan a Country | Esquire
- How China’s TikTok, Facebook Influencers Push Propaganda | AP News
- Chained Woman in China – The True Story by Laowhy86 | YouTube
- How I Escaped from China – The Untold Story by Laowhy86 | YouTube
- How I Got My Family Out of China by Laowhy86 | YouTube
644: Laowhy86 | How the Chinese Social Credit Score System Works Part Two
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:03] Laowhy86: This foreign girl moved to Beijing. She loves it more than her hometown. It's amazing. She loves the food and the culture. And it's like these like many kinds of harmless propaganda videos about how these foreign people move to China and change their life. And they love it more than their own country. And then bam — the video will come out about how the Uyghur genocide is completely aligned. So the people that have been following these people's travels or they're kind of like organic-looking blogs abroad in China, all of a sudden get smacked in the face with this propaganda. And there'll be more willing to look into it because they kind of feel a personal connection with these people that have been introduced. And I saw that happening with Russian channels as well.
[00:00:36] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills are the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with scientists, entrepreneurs, spies, psychologists, even the occasional Russian spy, drug trafficker, or neuroscientist. And each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better thinker.
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[00:01:29] This is part two of my conversation with my friend, Matthew, aka Laowhy86, who's lived in China for 10 years. One of the first bloggers anywhere, we're talking about China and the Chinese social credit score system among other topics. If you haven't heard part one, now's a good time to go back and grab that. That's where you want to start with this conversation.
[00:01:47] Now, here we go with part two of Laowhy86.
[00:01:52] I assume you have to go through like an immigration exit line where they're like, "Oh, what's your name?" Oh, that must have been — what was that wait like in that line?
[00:02:00] Laowhy86: I remember looking at some other people that were just on their phones hanging out and chewing and gum, like waiting to exit China and to go into Hong Kong. And I'm like how do I act like them? How do I look more nonchalant? Because I'm literally going to die. I was like having a heart attack.
[00:02:13] Jordan Harbinger: You're like looking around. You're like, "I know, I look so nervous right now."
[00:02:17] Laowhy86: I know.
[00:02:17] Jordan Harbinger: "What do I do?"
[00:02:19] Laowhy86: Immediate thought was like, "I must look so suspicious right now."
[00:02:23] Jordan Harbinger: Sweating, dripping sweat.
[00:02:25] Laowhy86: Pouring sweat. So I go through the borderline and I get up to the immigration guy. I'll paint a picture for you. In China, if you go through a border from a separate country, so Kazakhstan or Hong Kong or whatever, they'll have this, like how did I do? And it's like these weird dystopian look and smiley faces that you pick, you know, they mean nothing by the way. They don't contribute to anything but you stand there.
[00:02:44] Jordan Harbinger: We have those too in the United States. It's like, "How clean is the bathroom?" And you're like, "No one's looking at this. This machine is broken."
[00:02:50] Laowhy86: Correct. The thing is in China, you'll have the guards are like a little higher than you. And they're like looking down at you. And they're just so mean. They're usually so mean. Anyway, I give them my passport and you don't need a visa to get into Hong Kong as an American citizen. So I'm like waiting there. I'm sweating. And he asked me for the first time, I'd never heard this in my entire life. He asked me, "Do you have a Chinese name?" after he scans my passport. And I'm like, "Why is he asking me this?" I've never been asked that in my life.
[00:03:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Why?
[00:03:14] Laowhy86: So of course, I have a Chinese name, but I lied. My gut instinct was just say, no. No, just like, I'm just some dude, pretend like I don't speak Chinese. He goes, "Okay." And he stamps me through and I get out. So right now, I'm past China, I'm in the limbo. So I'm in Hong Kong/China's jurisdiction. And a policewoman stands right in front of me as I'm in limbo and shouts over to the border guy, she goes, "Is that Ma?" Ma is like the name. "Is this, Ma?" I'm like, "What is she on about? Right? So then she goes over to talk to him.
[00:03:48] And immediately after she gets out of my peripheral, I go straight to the area where you scan your bag and then you get in line for the Hong Kong immigration part to get in there. She comes back. She taps me on the shoulder and she asked me in broken English and she goes, "Are you going to Hong Kong?" And I go, "Yes." And she goes, "Are you going to any other country? Are you leaving?" And I was like, "No." And after the conversation, she goes, "Are you going to come back to so-and-so where I was living?" And I said, "Yes." And she goes, "Good," and then she turns around and leaves.
[00:04:22] Jordan Harbinger: That is really, really freaking scary. So like, what do you think happened where they just not sure if you were you and they're like, "You know what? We'll deal with it when he comes back because we assume he's telling the truth." Like it's such a weird situation.
[00:04:35] Laowhy86: I think it's a combination of — well, just to fast forward here, I got into Hong Kong.
[00:04:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You're alive.
[00:04:40] Laowhy86: You know, like time to go sort this out and talk to people and try to figure this out because I have people in the government that I can talk to and try to figure out what happened. I initially thought, hey, this is just some bullsh*t where like they're being lazy or they don't want to deal with it right now because they're going to have to talk to the other side about what they're doing and detaining a foreigner, all this kind of stuff. But after a long time and speaking to a lot of people that have dealt with this kind of stuff, not just with China, but with countries all around the world, it sounds like they let me leave. Right? It was like encouraging me to leave and the whole building the case and all this kind of stuff was definitely going to happen if I decided to continue making problems for them. But the fact that I left was kind of what they wanted. Letting me leave was like, "Okay, we don't have to worry about this sh*t anymore."
[00:05:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:05:25] Laowhy86: We're getting heat from Beijing to not allow foreigners to do anything in the country. If he's going to keep breaking this rule and filming and doing whatever positive or negative, it's breaking the law from what they told us to prevent, right? So if I'm out, then I'm out.
[00:05:39] Jordan Harbinger: Problem solved. Yeah.
[00:05:40] Laowhy86: Yeah. A great example of why that's probably the case is Winston, my business partner, he stayed in China like nine months after I left. And he didn't have the same problems with the local government going after him. We don't know. There's probably definitely some sort of cases being built against him, but because he was one of zillion foreigners in a bigger city where he lived in Xinzheng, it didn't catch up with him yet. It would've caught up with them just like it caught up with our friend, Michael, the Canadian that was wrongfully detained in retaliation for Meng Wanzhou and the whole Huawei scandal thing, which happened right at that time, by the way.
[00:06:14] Jordan Harbinger: Right. That's what it was so scary as like in 2018, these two guys, I think they're both named Michael actually, they end up in jail and because the Huawei CFOs, she's under house arrest in China. And then suddenly these two guys that live in China are now being detained in like crap hole conditions for, how long?
[00:06:32] Laowhy86: For years.
[00:06:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:06:33] Laowhy86: So, I mean, Michael's a friend of ours because he helped us with Conquering Northern China. He speaks fluent Korean. He was like a fixer for North Korean-type stuff. And we were in an area where there's predominantly North Korean people. When I say North Korean people, I mean, ethnically North Korean people that were Chinese citizens. And he was our translator. He helped us out in the region and stuff. And he was detained at that same time. And that was — we were all connected to that, right? We were friends, we had communications, we knew each other and all of these people started kind of disappearing or getting deported at that time. So it kind of was perfect. In perfect line to that, I think Winston left at the perfect time as well. Maybe he could have left a little sooner, but it was definitely coming down to it because he was still filming and getting interrogated all the time to the point where I'm pretty sure that the police there were trying to kick them out as well.
[00:07:18] But in this whole process, it took me a while to call the right people and confirm that's kind of pretty much what happened. I mean, they were building a huge file and it was the season of where CCP officials get ranked up or ranked down. So they keep their job or they get brownie points because they sucked up to the right person or they ratted the right person out for tax evasion. At that time, there was a massive incentive of the city I was living in to look for foreign spies. So you had Chinese people that were going on livestream that were calling the PSB, the Public Security Bureau, to say that I was an American CIA spy in China. You had them bragging about that, posting my whereabouts saying, "We're going to catch this spy," and stuff, because it was so incentivized to go after foreigners that were kind of, had a public face or appearance on the Chinese Internet and prove that there was some sort of horrible entity that was trying to bring China down from the inside.
[00:08:12] So that all piled together, that like people saw an opportunity, "Hey, I know this dude and the PLA, Hey, I know this dude and the traffic — whatever, we can screw this guy over. He's a big figure. He's got hundreds of thousands of followers, right? He's made these TV shows and stuff. If we go after him and prove that he's some sort of bad entity and he makes our life easier if we catch him." So in a way, I think the central government wants me gone. A lot of people were looking voraciously at doing something to me to propel their careers forward.
[00:08:42] Jordan Harbinger: That's why you didn't get an exit ban.
[00:08:44] Laowhy86: Correct.
[00:08:44] Jordan Harbinger: And exit band was when you try to leave and they say, "Sorry, you're not allowed to."
[00:08:48] Laowhy86: Right.
[00:08:48] Jordan Harbinger: And that happens to journalists or people that they don't like, but it's almost like they want to do to get out. And so they let you get out versus keeping you there and throwing you into prison, which is lucky.
[00:08:59] Laowhy86: If I had gone back and they wanted to follow up on the opportunity, let's say the PLA wanted to collaborate with the PLA that had almost detained me up north. And they started building this case. They absolutely would have placed an exit ban on me. They would have made the phone calls to make that happen because it would serve their purpose. Thankfully, I think I got out at the very right time to where the central government's like, "Hell yeah, he's gone." But if I had waited a month or two more, that wouldn't have been the case.
[00:09:25] Jordan Harbinger: That is so terrifying. What about your family? I mean, spoiler, right? They got out, but you must've been still worried that you were out and they're going to be like, "Ugh, you're never seeing your wife and kid again, you know, that's what you get."
[00:09:36] Laowhy86: And that was the worst part. It wasn't like who wipe the sweat off the brow, I'm in Hong Kong. I was in exile in Hong Kong for a little while. What I was doing was hopping around to different hotels. I knew that if I was in a situation where they wanted to get me, they can absolutely get me in Hong Kong even at that time.
[00:09:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. They would just nab you, dude, and drive you back in the trunk of a car or something like that, right?
[00:09:56] Laowhy86: And that's how they do it. A lot of times, what they'll do is, especially with foreigners, they'll go to their hotel room in Hong Kong and they'll plant drugs on them.
[00:10:02] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god.
[00:10:03] Laowhy86: Then they can extradite you or just put you in a duffel bag, right? Bring you back. So I was like, I'm not out of the woods yet because my family's still there, right? Thankfully, my wife got her green card sent to her relative's house. And my kid was not a Chinese citizen, which was great. That actually helped a lot because my kid never had Chinese citizenship or any sort of Chinese documentation.
[00:10:25] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:10:25] Laowhy86: Yeah.
[00:10:25] Jordan Harbinger: That's interesting. That was a deliberate choice. Yeah.
[00:10:28] Laowhy86: Yes. Immediately after she was born, I immediately got her American citizenship because that makes it such a headache for the Chinese government to deal with when you exit ban a newborn baby or a child, and they're a foreign citizen, that's really bad press. A lot of my friends have their kids. It was more convenient for them to just let the hospital do their kids Chinese documentation. They just let it happen and said, "Five years down the road, I'll go get their passport." I said, "Absolutely not. I'll never do that." And I think that's a huge factor into why they got out, right? Not only that, I think it was still in that sweet spot where they're like, "You know, if they can get out, they can get out, whatever." Right?
[00:11:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Oh man.
[00:11:07] Laowhy86: What I can prove that it's not speculation is what happened to my family members in China. And I can't prove that to you on the show, but what happened in my family members in China afterwards is what kind of made me understand the story fully.
[00:11:23] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:11:24] Laowhy86: And how dangerous it actually gets. Just for the audience, I want you to understand this precarious situation that I was in. It actually came to fruition about a year afterwards, after I'd already left.
[00:11:34] Jordan Harbinger: This is something that happened to you, not your wife and kid, but like her parents or something.
[00:11:38] Laowhy86: Yeah. My wife and kid got out like soon after.
[00:11:41] Jordan Harbinger: How was that flight home? Like every sphincter in your body must have been like, ah.
[00:11:45] Laowhy86: I tell you. I was singing. Like every, you know, I don't even like country music or anything, but any patriotic country music song, like proud to be an American or at least I know I'm free and all that good stuff that was just pumping through my head. I wanted to kiss the ground when I landed, because at least I knew at that point, when I landed in the US that this nightmare was over. I mean, I'm talking about 10 years of the best years of my life. I was Chinese, man. Like all of my friends were Chinese. I spoke, ate, lived, drank, slept Chinese. I dreamt in Chinese. My business was in Chinese. Everything I did was China. And it was to the point where it seems so bizarre to overnight, just basically get completely booted out—
[00:12:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:12:29] Laowhy86: —of a country that you planted your roots in.
[00:12:31] Jordan Harbinger: Like Enemy of the State. You see that movie with Will Smith?
[00:12:33] Laowhy86: Yeah.
[00:12:33] Jordan Harbinger: Where suddenly like they're tracking him and stuff. Yeah, that's—
[00:12:36] Laowhy86: Right.
[00:12:37] Jordan Harbinger: —prescient.
[00:12:37] Laowhy86: And I'll tell you what the craziest thing was that on the way home, I was thinking, how am I going to break this to my audience? Because I'm a YouTube after all, right?
[00:12:44] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:12:44] Laowhy86: How am I going to break this to my audience? And I was like, I'm going to wait because I don't know what the hell just have. And finally, when I kind of understood everything right after this happened, like the day after this happened, when I was in Hong Kong, I shot everything — piece of the camera, I sat down at a park and I said everything verbatim, what just happened.
[00:13:00] Jordan Harbinger: I saw that video with the crazy guy yelling in the background. You're like, "Bro, I'm trying to tell a scary story here."
[00:13:07] Laowhy86: Yeah. But I wanted to shoot that because I knew I'd never be able to capture that kind of raw emotion and how scared I was at the time.
[00:13:14] Jordan Harbinger: You were shaking in that video.
[00:13:15] Laowhy86: Yeah.
[00:13:16] Jordan Harbinger: I watched it again yesterday in preparation for this. And I was like, dude, you can't — if that's fake nervousness, give this man an Academy Award because you really were shook up, man.
[00:13:25] Laowhy86: Oh man. I mean, it was devastating. So like I said, it was so jarring and I was like, "How am I going to approach my audience about this?" On the way home, I was thinking about this and I decided, you know, I'm going to wait. So actually after that, I flew back to Hong Kong. Like I did other trips, right? I did all kinds of stuff. Of course, I never ever went back into mainland China.
[00:13:42] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:13:43] Laowhy86: But I had to sell my house, right?
[00:13:45] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah.
[00:13:45] Laowhy86: I had a house in mainland China, right?
[00:13:46] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:13:46] Laowhy86: So I had to go back. What I did was I went back to Hong Kong. This is again pre-security law. I had to go back and ferry documents, basically. I had people go deliver documents to family members in the mainland, across the border for me because there's nowhere I was getting anywhere near that. And I had to tell my audience like, "Hey, I'm moving back, slash, I sold my house. So in those videos, I still didn't tell anyone. You know, people still thought I was in China. And then, eventually, I was like, you know what? Like, obviously I'm never going back.
[00:14:12] Obviously, this is like come to complete closure. And I finally put the video out and I was like, "Listen, guys, I don't want to lie to you guys. It's been a year or something. I haven't been in China for this long." And I'm just trying to sort out and tell my story. The audience is really receptive to it. It just felt really good to be completely frank and honest—
[00:14:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:14:30] Laowhy86: —about what had happened.
[00:14:31] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:14:31] Laowhy86: And because when the dust settled, I got it. I understood what happened and when my family members in China. You know what happened to them and stuff, it all made sense. And it made me so inspired to talk about all this stuff I had been hiding before in China. The stuff that I really never had the opportunity or desire to even say because of what it would have done to me, if I had talked about that stuff.
[00:14:52] Jordan Harbinger: So I know you got to be careful with the details, but what did happen to your extended family after you left? Like did they start getting heat from the authorities?
[00:14:59] Laowhy86: Oh yeah. I mean, he is an understatement. The scariest thing was it confirmed everything on paper with what I suspected had happened. It wasn't up in the air anymore. It wasn't some speculation anymore. It was what I thought. And when you know that you are on the highest of highest lists in the central government, you know that something was going to go down. And when I found out about that, it was so funny because when I put out my video about how I escaped from China, which is a direct, straight, emotional piece of the camera. They sent out all of the propaganda army to talk about how that's absolutely impossible, how I'm not important at all. The government has no idea who I am and I'm watching this. And I'm like, "I must have struck a massive nerve," because there was a verbatim. Every single YouTube, or every single way, blog post, every single thing that was coming out about—
[00:15:52] Jordan Harbinger: It's all cut and paste.
[00:15:53] Laowhy86: —my escape story, it was cut and paste. And their whole thing was, "You think you're important enough for the People's Liberation Army to contact you." So this preposterous—
[00:16:03] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:16:03] Laowhy86: Like all of this over and over again, like you think you're important enough, you think you're important enough and it was creepy, right?
[00:16:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:16:08] Laowhy86: And it was like, wow, they really don't want this story to get out there. They thought if I left in peace, then I probably wouldn't run my mouth about it, you know?
[00:16:17] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:16:17] Laowhy86: It would be a career devastating move to be like, "Oh, you know, actually screw the human rights atrocities that the Chinese government does because I still want some sort of connection to China." And I said, "Absolutely, no. I'm going to be blatantly honest about what the Chinese government does from now on." And they got real mad.
[00:16:31] Jordan Harbinger: So when you book flights now, you probably have to make sure that they don't have a layover in like Hong Kong, at least.
[00:16:38] Laowhy86: This is the stuff that makes me sick is that Hong Kong used to be a refugee. Like I said, I used to be able to go back there. I went back there a couple of times, even after I left China and I did it stay too long there. I didn't make my whereabouts known. I didn't walk around saying, "Here I am today, live streaming in Hong Kong." You know, it'd be on transit to Vietnam or on transit to Taiwan. And now because the national security law, after the protest in 2019, 2020. I can't go there. If I go to Hong Kong and — giving people ideas now. But if I get a flight rerouted through Hong Kong, as soon as that plane touches a runway, you never get to see me again. I'm gone. I'm done. And that's really sh*tty because Hong Kong is a huge transport hub for Asia, right? So if I'm going to Japan, I got to make sure that I book a flight directly to Japan and hope that there's no bad weather on the way, because as soon as they find out that I'm on the manifest, the Chinese government will take me.
[00:17:30] Jordan Harbinger: That's so scary, dude.
[00:17:33] Laowhy86: Yeah.
[00:17:33] Jordan Harbinger: That is terrifying. Because you've, of course, heard about the journalist dissident who flew over Belarus and they scrambled fighters to make the plane land. And now he's in prison, right?
[00:17:43] Laowhy86: Correct.
[00:17:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, that's like nightmare scenario for everyone. And that guy was just flying over Belarus. He wasn't landing in a place that is controlled by Belarus.
[00:17:54] Laowhy86: Right. That is correct. Now, the thing about that is I have to also be careful with countries that are sympathetic to the CCP, right? The Chinese government, so I can't go to Lau. If I go to Lau, you can guarantee I'm going to be smuggled across the border. I can't go to Burma, right? I can't go to any of these countries that have very weak legal systems already and then are also sympathetic to the Chinese government because to the right uneducated person, they don't really know that the smoke that's going to happen from the American government if they take an American citizen. In that moment, they might say, "Hey, I'm going to get like $10,000 from some CCP."
[00:18:28] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:18:29] Laowhy86: Right?
[00:18:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:18:29] Laowhy86: So in that moment that's worth it. And hey, let's just make it look like he crashed his motorcycle or something.
[00:18:35] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. Yeah. And then you're going to get dufflebag. Yeah, it's so terrifying, man. Look, you were there for 10 years and the crazy ending to this — it seems like it would have soured you on China. And again, not Chinese people, but the Chinese government, it just shows you like, we're so lucky in Western democracies. But also, it's kind of heartbreaking because like you said, you put down roots, you married a Chinese woman, you had a kid there, you were just like this dude who adopted the country of China. And then they were like, "No, we're going to spit you out, man, hard."
[00:19:02] Laowhy86: Yeah. Winston and I, the first two YouTubers to do this. We were the China dudes. Why would we leave? That was where our bread was buttered. That's where all of our friends and life was. To say, I'm soured on it though, I mean, really what happened was I became very objective and I said, this is a scourge to the people that I care about. I mean, there are people that were appeared in my videos to ended up getting arrested and going to jail just because they were in a video of mine. Not because they talked about the government, not because they did anything because they wanted to send a message to me. And I was like, if they're going to operate like this, you better be damn sure I'm not going to keep my mouth shut about it. This is outlandish. And I felt even more in love with the Chinese people and the people that I know and really put down roots with in the country that I care about so much. Because if I'm not going to do it, then who the hell else is going to understand China at this level and talk about it.
[00:19:55] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Laowhy86. We'll be right back.
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[00:22:31] Now back to Laowhy.
[00:22:34] This kind of sobered you up a little bit to China, but also you were it's a little bit like boiling frog, right? Because while you were over there, you were like, "Wow, this is getting weird. Oh man, the cops are really bugging us."
[00:22:46] Laowhy86: Yeah.
[00:22:46] Jordan Harbinger: And then this was kind of like the slap across the face twice hard, where you get out and you go, "Okay, how did I not see this coming?" And now it seems really obvious, right?
[00:22:56] Laowhy86: Yeah, I think what's actually a really good point to bring up, Jordan, is that slap in the face, that's sobering slap in the face was necessary to kind of show me and actually be able to tell people that foreigners are not welcome in China. You can make up whatever story, fantasy fairytale that you want and say, "I'm going to play favorites with the government. I'm going to be nice. I'm not going to talk about anything." I think the Chinese government doesn't want you there unless you can be used as a peon. And any time that you see footage or YouTubers or influencers out of China right now, they have some sort of degree of the government approving what they do and the government is hoovered up any influencer. And you saw this around 2019 around the Hong Kong protests go from, "Okay, I'm going to make travel videos. Hey, look at me. I'm eating dumplings," to, "COVID started in America."
[00:23:40] Jordan Harbinger: They all went from, "I'm eating these really spicy dumplings—"
[00:23:43] Laowhy86: Yeah.
[00:23:43] Jordan Harbinger: —to, "Hey, you know what, Joe Biden, something, something, COVID is an American bioweapon," like overnight. And you're like, "What?"
[00:23:50] Laowhy86: It was crazy. But it made so much sense because if you're not going to be used for the government's purpose, then you were like me. You're not allowed there.
[00:23:57] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:23:57] Laowhy86: So you got to be very careful when you're looking at stuff out of China, you know, say for just normal, like I'm going to a hot spring video or whatever. It is serving the government purpose. And it can be always traced out as a bit of a hobby of mine and Winston's is to go into a lot of these influencers videos and see where the Party connection comes in. There's a famous example that we brought up all the time is that these shills, as we call them YouTuber shills that worked for the Chinese government.
[00:24:20] They always pretend like they don't go to this random village in the middle of Jiangxi province and they go to meet these farmers that have somehow turned this desert landscape into a very nice place to grow vegetables. And they kept claiming, "Hey, we have this. It has nothing to do with the government. This is not propaganda. This is exactly the reason we're showing you that this is not related to the government." And then they go and meet the freaking Party official of the village.
[00:24:42] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:24:42] Laowhy86: And they have to go dance around the vegetables for the glory of the Communist Party and do sh*t tons of propaganda afterwards. It's down to the most harmless levels that the Party is using these people to spread Chinese propaganda for the Chinese government. It's maddening.
[00:24:56] Jordan Harbinger: I definitely want to talk more about Chinese propaganda, and I know you have some observations about Russian propaganda because we talk all the time and I watch your videos about Chinese propaganda infecting YouTube and elsewhere. And you recently said, "Hey man, check this out. I'm seeing the same stuff with Russia." And I thought that was really interesting, especially of course not coincidentally at all with the timing of the Ukrainian.
[00:25:20] Laowhy86: Yeah, I love the word that you just use — infecting. I think that's very appropriate, just because of how pervasive it's become, how insane Chinese propagandas become on Western Internet. Because of that experience in China, because I learned fluent Mandarin, Chinese, I was able to kind of take that experience back home to the US in a watch, how China under sheeting ping kind of changed the way that they were going to deal with the rest of the world, the way that they're going to show themselves to the rest of the world. And I saw that through the increasing amount of propaganda.
[00:25:52] China's always had tons of propaganda. China's always had billboards with hammers and sickles. China's had banners all over the place, talking about the socialist revolution and the socialism with Chinese characteristics and all this kind of stuff. But it was more of a thing that they just had to do because the Party, the CCP, the Chinese Communist Party, China's in power. It's just kind of like the language du jour. It's just kind of how they brand themselves.
[00:26:13] Jordan Harbinger: Like lip service going through the motions, look at socialism, but you know, whatever we have Apple and iPhone and investment and headphones.
[00:26:21] Laowhy86: And barely any social programs for us—
[00:26:23] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:26:23] Laowhy86: —to make sense. Anyway, long story short, to see that kind of change, and then to have an outward projection to show China kind of bragging about their own government to the rest of the world is something shocking to me. And that was only something I saw, like I said, under the Xi Jinping leadership. So when I started making videos that were more honest and more critical of the Party's leadership, I noticed that there was counter videos or counter YouTubers. There were counter articles. There was so much just that huge amount of information that was coming out to counter what I was talking about.
[00:26:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it was like a full-court—
[00:26:56] Laowhy86: And not direct.
[00:26:57] Jordan Harbinger: —press with like, it's like see the same handful of people doing it.
[00:27:00] Laowhy86: Yes. And what I noticed is that at first, it's almost like a contingency plan for them, just in case people in China jumped the great firewall of China. They use a VPN and they go see an outward opinion. They go see a different opinion on YouTube. They want to make sure that their populace is in a position where they've already consumed enough brainwashing material in China, to be ready for these kinds of differing opinions. And anything that they hear across the other side, anything they hear from an American YouTuber like myself is just CIA propaganda. Right? It's just the other side. They're so used to propaganda and brainwashing that, of course, America has that as well, right? In their minds, of course, there's going to be another side and it's paid by the government and all that kind of stuff.
[00:27:42] So it was a contingency plan for China because what they want is they don't want their citizens to be consuming another opinion and then believing that opinion. So they kind of came up with this idea that if we use foreign YouTubers when I say foreign I mean, non-Chinese, so usually white guys, usually older white gentlemen, this is like what they do for some reason in China.
[00:28:02] Jordan Harbinger: I feel attacked, but continue.
[00:28:05] Laowhy86: Yeah. So they get these guys to go and these guys usually live in China, right? They get them to produce content about how actually any differing opinion about how the Chinese government has human rights atrocities or spinning genocide in Xinjiang or anything like this is all lies. So then you have these white dudes talking about how amazing the Chinese government is. So you have maybe 10 of those guys for every one of me. So that just in case these people in China come over and look at this other side, they're going to say, "Oh, well actually this white guy is mirroring exactly what the government's been telling me this whole time. So I'm not going to listen to the other guy."
[00:28:40] But what I think happened was I think they saw this as a dual-pronged approach opportunity. It was a way that they could say, not only are we going to completely validate the brainwashing stuff that we do in China domestically, but we'll also be able to portray China as a different entity than you'd see on mainstream media news in America is this place that's richer than the US, that has high-speed rails and has all of these amazing infrastructure projects that the government does. While at the same time, America is in decline and there's homeless people everywhere and destruction and gun violence and murder, and just hyperfocus on the positives in China and the negatives in the US. And they get the same guys, these CCP shill YouTubers, they get these guys to do that.
[00:29:22] So not only are they convincing the domestic populace in China, they're trying to convince people that are uninformed about the Chinese government in the west. And I think that I saw that kind of shift happen when a lot of these guys started getting huge on Chinese domestic media with subtitles, started popping up on their videos and stuff in Chinese, and then they shifted over to YouTube to speak English for their kind of like Western side of the audience. And it was very shocking to see because it wasn't just YouTube. It was thousands of accounts on Twitter. Huge posts and articles on, I got to say, ultra left-wing media, like Grayzone and stuff like this. You saw kind of this familiar faces popping up on this.
[00:30:02] And then at the same time, Chinese state media had a big rebrand. Chinese state media instead of being called CCTV rebranded to something called CGTN. So that now people are going to go and say, "Oh, that cute Panda video I saw on CGTN." That's just some new news network I've never heard of, right? It's a whole rebrand. And then you see the same guys, the same shill propagandas popping up on state media. Then you see the same content that they're producing the same propaganda, pro-CCP content, popping up on Chinese state media with a watermark that says CGTN. And then the label below it that says this is sponsored, you know, wholly or in part by the Chinese government. And it just becomes a snowball. It's massive, huge propaganda effort. And it turns out it's part of a campaign in China called [Foreign Language], which means like tell a good China story. And it was this initiative put on by Xi Jinping, the leadership, to kind of rebrand China to show that China's not poor. And the only reason that China's gotten to where it is is because of the Communist Party of China's leadership.
[00:31:01] And that's kind of how I got familiar with this whole timeline of how Chinese propaganda is shifted to be purely domestic for its own people, to outward expansion, to convince the rest of the world that they've been lied to about China. And the Communist Party is actually good for the country.
[00:31:16] Jordan Harbinger: And it kind of works because I see a lot or I'm part of the information warfare landscape. And I can't see around it either, right? Because I'll see comments online, like, "Well, this is wrong. Look at this video." And I'm like, "Well, that's just the guy who makes up crap all the time. It's the same guy." I don't want to mention their names, but the same shills that you see everywhere. It's like, "Well, you believe this?" But then I'm like, "Well, is the account that's making this comment also part of this landscape?" Where this is also just like we say wumao. So like a paid shill who posts online and says, "Everybody, look at this video. Here's the counterpoint," when really it's just the propaganda.
[00:31:50] Laowhy86: Right.
[00:31:51] Jordan Harbinger: You don't even know if that's a real person or not. And it's just part of the same information warfare landscape that we're in. A friend of mine, a journalist, he says China's involved in, essentially creates an information warfare landscape that is so broad. The battlefield is so broad. You can't see that you're on it. That's I think a phrase that he may have borrowed, but I'm not sure.
[00:32:09] Laowhy86: I love that. Yeah.
[00:32:10] Jordan Harbinger: It's great. Because what he means by that is you might want to fact check something a shill says. So you go to Wikipedia, but Wikipedia is being constantly hammered and edited by these shills as well, different groups of people. So you'll go, "Well, Wikipedia says this," and then eventually editors get around to fixing the Wikipedia page and they have to lock it because it's like, who keeps posting that this is the way that this happened. This is not the way this happened. The history books show otherwise. And then they'll constantly try and change things that make it look like Mao didn't murder 20 million people or whatever. And they'll do that everywhere. They'll make a fake news site that just has totally different news and they'll try and rank it in Google by linking to it. It's just such an outrageous effort that it makes it harder to find the truth, especially like you said, if you're inexperienced with this or you don't necessarily know history, and you're just trying to do a quick search and a fact check. And it might look like there's a thousand people saying one thing and 10 people or a hundred people saying the other thing. And you're like, "Well, so many more people say this." Meanwhile, those accounts are run by two people and they work in Beijing.
[00:33:10] Laowhy86: Right. There's a couple of really good things you just pointed out that I have personal connections to very recently. Just yesterday on Reddit, my video is posted on a subreddit called r/Documentaries. And as soon as it was posted, it was getting upvoted, like crazy people were enjoying it.
[00:33:25] It was actually about the Russian and China connection between the two countries for the Ukraine invasion. And what happened immediately was comments were popping up talking about all of the typical talking points that the Chinese government uses to discredit me and just flooding the comment section with it. And then immediately what would happen is those posts would get uploaded immediately. And then I noticed like, this really interesting thing is that my experience with Chinese propaganda will say something like, "Oh, he's a racist because he talks negatively about China." That's like an immediate wumao. It's a shill post. It's exactly like the kind of stuff, the cookie-cutter stuff, I'm not really going to bother you because you've seen it 10 billion times over and over again.
[00:34:07] What does bother me was when it wasn't just those comments, it was something I realized there was a big shift in the way that the propaganda was coming out. And I realized a lot of these are actually Russian bots. I started to make a connection to the fact that I started seeing the same Chinese propagandas appearing on Russian state media. I saw the same type of rhetoric, the same type of conversations between the two. And then I started stumbling across YouTube channels that were whitewashing the Ukraine invasion that were set up identically to the Chinese channels.
[00:34:43] They'll start out like this, "This foreigner moved to Chongqing, a city in China, and he loves it and he loves it so much more than his hometown." Next video, "This foreign girl moved to Beijing. She loves it more than her hometown. It's amazing. She loves the food and the culture," and it's like these like mini kind of harmless propaganda videos about how these foreign people move to China and change their life, and they love it more than their own country. Then, all of a sudden, they're building an audience with these travel videos and then bam — the video will come out about how the Uyghur genocide is completely a lie. And so the people that have been following these people's travels are there kind of like organic-looking blogs abroad in China, all of a sudden get smacked in the face with this propaganda. And there'll be more willing to look into it because they kind of feel a personal connection with these people that have been introduced.
[00:35:25] And I saw that happen with Russian channels as well. There was these channels that were popping up with, "This foreigner moved to Moscow. He loves his life now. This foreigner moved to Vladivostok. Now, they love their life more than back home." And then bam, bam, bam — all of a sudden random scripted video comes out. Basically, perfect timing for the Ukraine invasion saying, "Actually the Ukraine invasion is completely justified because NATO is creeping in on Russia." And it's exactly the same kind of stuff you saw.
[00:35:51] But the reason I said it would disturb me a little more as I saw that the bot accounts that would come and attack me were much more coercive when the topic changed to Russia. I shouldn't say changed — included Russia, because what these comments would say are, "Hey bro," and they'd use my name, "you know, I defend you all over the Internet. I absolutely love everything you do. You're a fantastic blogger. Your content is good. Anyone reading this, he makes really good stuff, but you're completely off the mark here. And I loved your videos when you covered the stock market crash in China and all this kind of stuff, but this particular topic you're completely off base." And then they go as to why the Ukraine invasion has justified. And you'll read it. And you'll say interesting, that comment was upvoted at a time. People think it's organic.
[00:36:33] Jordan Harbinger: It sounds like a well-intentioned criticism.
[00:36:35] Laowhy86: Yes.
[00:36:35] Jordan Harbinger: Like that's how I would tell you when I would text you. But if I were telling an online influencer that I didn't know that they were wrong about something, that's exactly what I would do, "Hey, I love your work. Your stuff is great. I love this, this, this, and this, but I just take issue with this one thing." So it sounds more credible than you're an a-hole. Look at you. Your ugly face is making me sick. Barf emoji," right? Which is what a lot of the comments are.
[00:36:54] Laowhy86: You're a white monkey pig.
[00:36:55] Jordan Harbinger: Right. That's stuff.
[00:36:56] Laowhy86: That's your typical like China troll, right? You, white monkey pig, slave monkey. They use all this horrible, horrible language, but it's kind of like something you can just discount.
[00:37:06] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:37:06] Laowhy86: This pierces the heart, it pierces the soul, because you're reading it. And you're like — you know, like, I want to take this as legitimate criticism and then you look into it and you say, "Wait a minute, I didn't cover the stock market crash."
[00:37:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:37:16] Laowhy86: I didn't cover all of these things that they're actually topics that might've been popular sometime about China, but I didn't cover those things.
[00:37:23] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:37:24] Laowhy86: So they got into my channel, figured out my name. They kind of say, "Oh, he talks about China," lists off a bunch of cookie-cutter topics that someone would talk about, and realize, wow. And then you go to their posts history. They're on Russian subreddits they're on tanky subreddits, pro-authoritarian subreddits.
[00:37:38] Jordan Harbinger: What's a tanky?
[00:37:39] Laowhy86: A tanky is somebody that supports authoritarianism. So it's not just communism. It's somebody that supports Saddam Hussein, someone that supports Xi Jinping, someone that supports Putin. And they will like huge state-controlled entities, right? Typically they're communist apologists, but it can really include anything. Because like Russia is not currently communist, right? It's an authoritarian state, but there'll be pro-Russia, pro-Kremlin, pro-Beijing, and they'll go out there and they'll actually act on behalf of these countries, governments to go and defend them. So you can have paid ones. You can have bot accounts, you can have people that do it because they're just trying to be edgelords on the Internet and they think it's really cool.
[00:38:14] But to get back to that, when I was reading these, I was like, wow, looking at Chinese propaganda versus Russian propaganda. There's so many similarities. But when you get to the nitty-gritty of it, the Russian propaganda is so much more coercive and so much more well thought out. And I noticed that also when family members were sending me articles, I would get articles all the time coming from Chinese state media, where people are duped. They're like, "Hey, well you said that the concentration camps were here and they had satellite proof and you've talked to Uyghurs and their families." For example, I know this Uyghur woman, her home was just demolished on camera to punish them, right? for leaving Xinjiang and talking about the CCP. I know I have personal evidence of all this kind of stuff, but then people will reach out and say, "Hey, but I saw this thing over here on Chinese media." What it will be is it'll be a CGTN or a state media video, but it's been uploaded on a different channel, without a watermark. So then they get kind of tricked. They think it's just some vlogger in England or something talking about that.
[00:39:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right. It's like laundering the providence of where this thing is from. Like, instead of putting up a news video and saying, this is news, this is Chinese state media. They might post the vlogger on Chinese state media, but then they'll take that same video and they'll post it somewhere else. And it looks like—
[00:39:22] Laowhy86: Yeah.
[00:39:22] Jordan Harbinger: "I'm just Angela, hanging out in Beijing. And look, I'm in Xinjiang. I'm dancing. They have great food here. It's awesome." And they're not saying—
[00:39:29] Laowhy86: Yes.
[00:39:30] Jordan Harbinger: "I got paid to go on this trip. And this video is completely manufactured nonsense, and I'm not allowed to go anywhere without this tour guide. That's behind me. And we're only going to the same place that everybody else is going in Xinjiang.
[00:39:42] Laowhy86: That's exactly spot on. We call these amplifier channels because what they do is they amplify state media without having to get labeled with that tag. And something I'm very upset with Google about is they won't add the state-sponsored tag below any video that you see from a government-run news channel. So CGTN says sponsored by the Chinese government, RT said sponsored by the Russian government. I want to see these amplifier channels that have the exact same content with that label. I'm not out there to cancel anyone. I don't even care if a government is set up a billion-dollar enterprise to pump propaganda out there, but it should be labeled as such, right? And that's something that I just — I noticed Twitter's very good at it. And I just think that YouTube really needs to stop telling everyone when they're approached by the New York Times and other entities that say like, "Oh, we didn't notice any kind of coordinated effort from Beijing," because that's absolutely lies. I mean, it's exact same content on these amplifier channels.
[00:40:31] But to cut back to the Russia thing, when people send me China stuff, I'm very well versed in it. I know exactly what this is, but when family members were sending me stuff to counter some of my positions on the Ukraine invasion, and I'm against invasion period, As to why it was justified. I was like, why are my random family members in Ohio sending me articles that reek of Russian propaganda, but these articles look like some sort of Facebook blog posts with an American flag, and like, I don't know, like maybe, some gun lover type people would be reading it, you know, Patriots—
[00:41:04] Jordan Harbinger: The Ohio Patriot, but there's no such newspaper. It's just a blog and there's three articles on it. And one of them is this. The other two are about how great, yeah, some other program is or like how the Russian space agency is going to overtake NASA in five years.
[00:41:17] Laowhy86: Yes, that's exactly. So you know what I'm talking about.
[00:41:20] Jordan Harbinger: I see all of it and people send it to me too. Yeah. I just haven't done a show about it.
[00:41:25] Laowhy86: Sure. So this is what blindsided me was that I didn't expect to see some sort of very patriotic-looking website with some random old man talking about why Russia is actually not bad and why Putin deserves to do this and how Ukraine is full of Nazis and all this kind of stuff. I didn't expect that. I just did not expect to see that because I'm so used to being able to decipher Chinese propaganda.
[00:41:45] So this again, if I had to judge them, if I had to base them off each other, I think the Chinese propaganda does definitely coerce lots and lots of people. But I think Russian propaganda is more targeted at a specific audience, like a certain age demographic, the type of people that are prosing around on Facebook and more willing to share random articles that kind of play into their interests or their preconceived notions.
[00:42:06] And it's something that I see now, the most important thing is linking together with the Chinese narrative, because I don't know if you know, your listeners know this, but in 2015, China and Russia signed an agreement that basically says, they're not going to speak badly about each other on the Internet. They're not going to allow each other to do that. And that was something that really surprised a lot of people because China and Russia, despite what propaganda tells you, are not allies. And they're not really connected in a whole lot of ways, other than economically. I mean, China had brief war with the Soviet Union. China was paranoid that they were going to nuke each other. China supported Cambodia while the USSR supported Vietnam. There were not allies. Just because they're communists, I think a lot of people have this fantasy that communist governments or whatever, link up in some ways that's true, but China and Russia have always been paranoid of each other.
[00:42:56] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Laowhy86. We'll be right back.
[00:43:01] This episode is sponsored in part by US Bank. What if I told you there's a credit card that's made for every kind of foodie and that's why I'm excited to share the US Bank Altitude Go Visa signature card with you today. Cardholders get four times the points on restaurant deliveries, take-out orders and dining meals. Yeah, you can rack up points when you eat out or you order in. Plus the card gets you two times points on groceries, even delivery, streaming services, and gas or EV charging station pit stops. And if you apply today at usbank.com/altitudego, you'll earn 20,000 bonus points after spending a thousand dollars within the first 90 days. You deserve a credit card that gives you more and more and more. Apply to become an Altitude Go cardholder at usbank.com/altitudego. The creditor and issuer of this card is US Bank National Association, pursuant to a license from Visa USA, Inc. Some restrictions may apply.
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[00:44:53] Now for the rest of my conversation with Laowhy86.
[00:44:59] Maybe if they weren't authoritarian regimes, they would, right?
[00:45:03] Laowhy86: Yes.
[00:45:03] Jordan Harbinger: Like democracies tend to link up but also—
[00:45:05] Laowhy86: Right.
[00:45:05] Jordan Harbinger: —if one is a fake democracy that has fake elections and is just, they're not going to be a great ally of the United States. Not that we're always—
[00:45:12] Laowhy86: No.
[00:45:12] Jordan Harbinger: —hooked up with the right people, but that's—
[00:45:13] Laowhy86: Obviously.
[00:45:14] Jordan Harbinger: —another show.
[00:45:16] Laowhy86: You won't get too much into that, yeah. Anyway, long story short, the whole thing about this is that I saw this agreement come out in 2015 and that's when it became more of a real thing like fair-weather friends, but not just economically anymore.
[00:45:28] Now, this is actually writing into doctrine and a law that you can't kind of discredit each other because we're going to go into this new world where the rest of the world is going to say enough of this kind of authoritarian garbage. And Russia looked at China's model and said, "You guys are so good at censorship and almost creating an intranet where everything goes through the censorship board. Everybody's ideas tie to everything that they post online. Their control is the envy of probably of a lot of countries, to be honest, even including the US but when you look at it, Russia and China, when they made this agreement, it became not just, "Oh, we're going to trade wheat and oil together." It was a creepy partnership that you didn't want to see.
[00:46:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. We're going to project soft power and not interfere with one another doing that.
[00:46:13] Laowhy86: Yeah. And that's not. So fast forwards to now, I've seen them fully link up. I mean, China, there were leaked documents that said that China was officially going to take a pro-Russian narrative in the media and online and that pro-Ukrainian or sympathetic posts to Ukraine would be deleted and it would be censored and would be technically illegal.
[00:46:32] You'll now see China, that's blocking broadcasts of soccer games because people are sympathetic to Ukraine in those soccer games. But officially, China is going out there and telling people that, "We have not taken a stance. We stay out of country's internal affairs." When in reality, they've put their full support behind Putin completely and officially that's where it gets really scary and messy is because the propaganda out there is portraying China is the reasonable one.
[00:46:56] I've actually seen a shift in what the pro-China shill accounts. So I'm talking about the YouTubers that are promoting the Chinese government, go from a silence to, "Yeah. China does not really involve, but Russia is not wrong and doing this," to, "Okay. Yeah, like Russia and China need to stand up to the big bad US and NATO and it's their fault," to now, "Oh, actually China didn't take a stance." They didn't choose Ukraine or Russia. They're both celebrating their relationships apart from each other. They were both completely diplomatically aligned with Ukraine and Russia equally because, "We don't get involved," right? And they've gone through this huge shift to make China look like a moderator, a mediator, I should say, in this whole affair, when in fact what they're doing is bolstering and helping Russia in this conflict.
[00:47:42] And actually we're privy to it before it happened. I mean, we know that documents have come out that China asks Russia to wait until after the Beijing Olympics to invade Ukraine.
[00:47:50] Jordan Harbinger: That wasn't surprising. I think I might've said on this show, they're going to do it after the Olympia. Everybody said, "Oh, do you think they're going to invade—?" I said, "100 percent sure they're going to invade. And also they're going to do it after the Olympics," because of there's a cease fire during the Olympics. And also if your ally orchestrates a massive propaganda event, which the Olympics always are, right? It's always like, "Look at how great our country is." The last thing you want is the international news cycle being like, "Except look at this other thing that's happening. That's way more important and negative." That's always going to take the attention. So it was almost like, "Hey, don't announce your pregnancy at my wedding. It's going to take attention away from me." And that's unfortunately a great analogy for what happened with the Olympics and this invasion.
[00:48:28] Laowhy86: That great, actually. Yeah, that's perfect.
[00:48:31] So, I mean, to sum it up, what I want to get across to people is that I want people to be hyperaware of the amount of propaganda coming out there. And it's not lip service. It's not like, "Oh, be careful. You might see a pro-Russia website or something." Be very careful because it's constantly evolving and changing. And its goal is to make you either take one side, but more likely, completely apathetic to the situation because what Russia and China's goal for this, a lot of this propaganda is to confuse you so much to say, "Oh, all that fake news over in the west. They have fake news too, whatever, just forget about it. I can't trust anything these days."
[00:49:06] You've seen that happen with a lot of people. They discredit journalists and proper journalism just because, "Oh, mainstream media always has some sort of bias—"
[00:49:12] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:49:12] Laowhy86: "Dont' listen to that anymore," you know?
[00:49:14] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly.
[00:49:14] Laowhy86: And that's super dangerous in this time period. And I think I don't want to see a genocidal regime like Beijing right now under Xi Jinping, get away with completely changing people's perception to be apathetic to very real and serious problems that China's going through.
[00:49:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think a lot of people will go, "Why do you hate Chinese people?" One, I married one. So, you know, Trump card, but also this is one of the most pro-China things you can do is sort of be anti-authoritarian because — and I said this about Russians a few weeks ago on the show — Russia has some of the most talented, hardworking, intelligent, just inventive people that have ever existed on planet earth. They've just had their potential mercilessly stamped out for literally the entirety of the last several centuries, right? From the Czar, the Soviet Union to now through Putin. That's why when you see these Russians that have immigrated, for example, to the United States, some of it, this is biased because I live in Silicon Valley, but they all are brilliant and work at Google.
[00:50:13] And like, same with Belarus like our neighbors are all from this area and they're all just incredible folks, talented stock. And I used to live, I spent a summer in Ukraine and it was the same thing. I was just always blown away by how educated and amazing people were. And same thing with China, you know, everybody that you meet from there — aside from government authorities and people who have just been sort of sucking on the teat of the CCP are given those jobs because of corruption — those people are incredible. And of course, what happens? You have to kiss up to the Party. You lose opportunities to get a job or an education because somebody else is related to somebody and so you miss out. These regimes have got to go because corruption is straight-up inefficient. It's not just unfair. It's inefficient. It's like an externality to use an economics term. Like organized crime—
[00:50:56] Laowhy86: Yeah.
[00:50:56] Jordan Harbinger: —people go, "Oh, it's awesome." It's only awesome if you were the recipient of this. Every single other person is bearing the cost. And that is a problem when you're talking about 1.3 billion people who are on an economic upswing in spite of Xi Jinping, I might add, you know, in many ways. And we want to see countries like China and Russia for that matter, join the global economy and do really well. We just want to see them do that without threatening to fricking nuke Europe so that they can have a larger backyard.
[00:51:24] Laowhy86: Yeah, you've said it perfectly. And again, I would like to, just for people not familiar with me, the reason I do what I do is because of the thousands of Chinese people that have reached out to me personally, that cannot talk about this. I hate to make comparisons here because they're both in horrible situations. But when you see the thousands of Russian protesters go out there on the street to protest the war and a lot of them like 8,000 something at this point, getting around, you couldn't even see that in China. You couldn't even see a hundred, right? in China if something like this was to happen and it's not because people don't care. It's because the people that reach out to me personally have inspired me to speak about the atrocities of the Chinese government because they can't do it. They can't do it online. They can barely do it in private at this point, without something leaking out there. And the punishments in China are much worse than in Russia.
[00:52:09] It's basically at this point, a good analogy I can use is like North Korea with money. It has the tech, it has the buses, it has the high-speed rails. It has all the bells and whistles to make it not look like some sort of Stalinist dystopian. But the reality is the way that the government works. It is a Stalinist dystopia. The way the surveillance state works, the way the cameras track you everywhere, the way your social status is determined by your Party connections. All of that stuff is very reminiscent to North Korea. When I have people reach out to me and send me emails saying, "Please keep doing what you're doing. We don't have a voice." So when I meet people at protests here in America, when I go to anti-Asian hate protests and talk to people about how you know, they tell me the biggest form of Asian hate in the entire world is the Chinese government that have made me and my family flee over here.
[00:52:54] We didn't want to leave. I didn't want to leave. People have to flee to avoid persecution for just even, not even just religious freedoms, just basic personal freedoms, like freedom of speech. So that's what keeps me going nuts, why I'm inspired to do what I can, and that's why I'm a little bit, I'm usually an optimist, but I'm a little bit concerned about this fair-weather friend kind of partnership that Russia and China have formed with their governments right now.
[00:53:17] Jordan Harbinger: Well, I really thank you for coming on. I want to talk a little bit about some of the things you do because you mentioned you had to leave. Well, one of the stories that people should definitely check out is there's a lot of, kind of crazy interesting videos about how China changed Hollywood movies to have different endings or take. One of the examples that everyone's probably heard is taking the Taiwan patch off of Tom Cruise's jacket in Top Gun, silly things like that. Or, hey, what happened to Peng Shuai, the tennis player who accused a CCP official of sexual assault and then vanished? Why Jack Ma, the billionaire entrepreneur, vanished and then came back and now his stuff's being dismantled? There's just a lot of really interesting inside looks, detailed looks at China.
[00:53:57] And your channels will be linked in the show notes. One is called Laowhy86, L-A-O-W-H-Y-8-6, but also your podcast where you guys really go in depth. Tell us a little bit about that as well because I do catch that pretty much every week, because I'm a huge nerd.
[00:54:10] Laowhy86: Aw, thanks. And I listened to your show every week as well.
[00:54:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I appreciate that.
[00:54:14] Laowhy86: Yeah, no worries. ADV Podcasts is where we cover Chinese current events. So basically on my personal channel, I'll go into something in extreme depth, but it's one topic. But with ADV Podcasts, we'll take the news cycle, not only from Western news about China, but from Chinese news, we translate stuff. We talk to Chinese people who feed us information and stuff about what's happening on the ground in China. And we really go into developing stories as well. So I highly recommend you guys check out ADV Podcasts, especially these last two episodes we did were primarily about Russian and China propaganda and how they've linked up with this whole situation and how it's personally affecting us. I think it's a good litmus test for people to see how things are going to progress. We're kind of the canary in the coal mine, so to speak.
[00:54:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, no kidding.
[00:54:57] Laowhy86: So yeah, I appreciate you guys checking that out.
[00:54:59] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts on this episode, but before I get into that, here's what you should check out next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:55:07] Erik Aude: Pakistan was just one of many bad things have happened to me in my life. I've had so many things happen and I just learned to get over it. You know, you get knocked down six times, you get up seven and that's the only way I've ever known how to live.
[00:55:19] When I got out of the cab with the suitcases to leave Pakistan, the guy who was there was like, "Next time you come back. We'll show you around. We'll hook you up with some girls. We'll have a great time." And I'm humoring this guy. I'm like, "Yeah, sure, next time I come back." I know for a fact, I'm never coming back to Pakistan. Country sucks, that f*cking country sucks. And I'm good at finding like good things that are everywhere.
[00:55:37] So it's early in the morning and I go into international departures and there's a long line curving around the corner. I'm waiting in line and the line goes all the way up this wall to where there's customs tables. And when the customs officer sees me and flags me because I'm about six inches taller than everyone and I get brought to another room. Finally, the guy who asked me if there was narcotics in my suitcase comes in and he is holding these two sandwich sealed things. And his exact words to me is, "What is this?" And I said, "I don't f*cking know what it is."
[00:56:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, sure.
[00:56:07] Erik Aude: He says, "This is opium." I said, "Why are you showing me this?" "Because it came out of your suitcase." So I'm such a f*cking idiot because I thought that the DEA was going to hook me up, you know, because they're going to see that I'm innocent. I truly thought those guys are going to be there to help me now because I wasn't guilty. So this sh*t doesn't happen to innocent people. Three years of my life for a crime I didn't know I was being used to commit.
[00:56:34] Jordan Harbinger: To hear the rest of one of the most harrowing stories I've ever heard in my time doing this podcast, check out episode 147 with Erik Aude here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:56:47] Wow. So this was supposed to be like a Sunday phone call that turned into a podcast that then turned into a two-part podcast. So I guess the moral of the story is when you get an interesting dude, like Laowhy in a room with me, virtually or otherwise, you end up with a long-ass conversation. I highly recommend, if you're interested in China, to check out Laowhy86 on YouTube. He's got a bunch of channels, really interesting videos from somebody who spent a lot of time in the country, speaks the language fluently. Much better than the surface level journalism we see in a lot of mainstream media, even the New York Times, and Al-Jazeera ended up covering what essentially were smoking gun documents that Laowhy had, that we were talking about a long time ago.
[00:57:27] The show that the Chinese Communist Party pays influencers to spread blatantly false propaganda on YouTube and elsewhere about COVID, about China, about the Uyghur genocide. There's a lot of, kind of, really disgusting stuff that goes on behind the scenes. And you might say, "Well, every country does that," but I think this is a little bit different. And Tom Wright, episode 602 of this show, he wrote Billion Dollar Whale. We talked about Jho Low and the embezzlement, everything. He did a piece on this with Laowhy after I introduced them, which was pretty cool. So it's kind of nice to see these worlds meld together. We're going to link to some of those articles and videos in the show notes as well.
[00:58:04] Big thank you to Laowhy. Links to all things Laowhy86 will be in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com. If you buy books from our guests, please use our links that help support the show. Transcripts in the show notes. Videos are on YouTube. Advertisers' deals, discount codes, all those weird confusing URLs and promo codes you hear during the show, during the ads, those are all in one place, jordanharbinger.com/deals. Please do consider supporting those who support this show. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or just connect with me on LinkedIn.
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[00:59:02] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. And remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you're a Laowhy fan share the app, if you love China and you watch China and you don't like social credit score systems that dictate your whole life and oppress you, share this episode with somebody who agrees, or maybe somebody who doesn't. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:59:42] This episode is sponsored in part by My First Million podcast. If you're the type of person who is always thinking of new business ideas, or you're wondering about the next side hustle, you should spin up, check out the podcast, My First Million. The hosts are friends of mine, Sam Parr, Shaan Puri, they've each built eight-figure businesses and sold them to HubSpot and Amazon. So these guys are no schleps. And each week they brainstorm business ideas that you can start tomorrow. That could be side hustles that make you a few grand or just big billion-dollar type ideas. Lots of interesting episodes in there, like how do identify trends and whether it's possible to get ultra-wealthy from cashflow businesses and how to navigate volatility in global events. They had one on buying Russian stocks earlier like is now a time. They also chat with founders, celebrities, and billionaires to get them to open up about business ideas that they've never shared before. So search for My First Million, that's My First Million on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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