Controversy Surrounds Claims About Alleged Sunken Chinese Sub: An alleged British intelligence assessment reported on by The Daily Mail suggesting that a Chinese Type 093 Shang II class nuclear submarine sank in the Yellow Sea in August remains embroiled in controversy.
The report appeared to corroborate a report spread on social media by Chinese dissident Dr. Li-Meng Yan.
NOTE: 19FortyFive cannot confirm the loss of the submarine at this time but instead presents what reports and information that are in the public domain.
Li-Meng famously helped expose the Chinese government’s cover-up of the connection between the Wuhan laboratory and the COVID-19 pandemic. Lude Media, an outlet she cooperates with closely, released the information in late August.
Her report from August claimed the PLAN 093-417 submarine was commanded by Colonel Xue Yong-Peng, a veteran of the Chinese submarine force. The attack submarine allegedly sank after colliding with anchor and chain submarine nets aimed at obstructing snooping American or submarines of its allies. The nets were allegedly almost impossible to detect using sonar.
China denies the accident took place, and, again, 19FortyFive has been unable to obtain official confirmation.
Daily Mail Claims British Spy Tracked Submarine
The Daily Mail, however, alleged that Chinese authorities are outraged because a member of the submarine’s crew may have had a smartwatch that allegedly was bugged by a British spy belonging to MI6.
“We got an update from the Central Military Commission. In the classified report, the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] believes MI6 bugged the Apple watch of a high ranking Navy officer in Guang Dong command and caused the leak of the 093-417 accident,” Chinese dissident told The Daily Mail. “This report has been given to President Xi Jin Ping and the poor official has been arrested. They want to find a scapegoat with foreign connections. They believe the watch was used to record conversations about the submarine in a naval headquarters.”
The dissident continued, “PLAN has installed ‘chain and anchors’ in the Yellow Sea, Philippine Sea, and the South China Sea and successfully damaged US nuclear submarine Connecticut and other vessels.”
The official account suggests the USS Connecticut collided with an uncharted seamount in the South China Sea.
“At 8:12am, on Aug 21 (of 2023), 417 （#LongMarch417, 09III nuclear-powered attack submarine) was hooked by “anchor and chain” (a type of CCP’s anti-submarine equipments) and caused the mechanical malfunction, during an assessment task of loading, diving and operation. The malfunction led to depressurization in the submarine cabin and slowly going up,” Li-Meng wrote on X in August.
A British intelligence officer told The Daily Mail that the crew of the Chinese submarine succumbed to “hypoxia due to a system fault on the submarine that took six hours to repair.”
This would seem to corroborate the account that Li-Meng gave.
Experts Not Buying Submarine Claim
Submarine experts remain skeptical about the event.
“In essence, the UK report might be considered a secondary source, relying on Lude Media’s original information,” said Duan Dang, an open-source analyst based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, told Newsweek. “The details in the Daily Mail report closely align with information previously published by the original source, Lude Media, on August 23. According to Lude Media, the information originated from a confidential report sent to China’s Central Military Commission after the accident.”
Drew Thompson, a visiting senior research fellow at the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy and a former defense department official wrote on X, “This Daily Mail article is not credible.”
Thompson noted what he saw as another inconsistency in the Mail story. It claimed the batteries were running flat. Considering the PLAN 093-417 submarine was nuclear the likelihood of a nuclear submarine running out of batteries did not add up.
Former U.S. Navy submariner Capt. Brent Sadler had a similar observation when he was asked about the initial report in August.
“The silence about it is one thing … but things are all kind of convoluted,” Sadler said regarding the alleged circumstances. “It’s eerily reminiscent of a submarine that did have the entire crew asphyxiate. It was on a diesel … submarine back like in 2010 … and they all died because they didn’t have the proper ventilation lined up ― when the diesel exhaust was funneled back into the boat.
Sadler continued, “It sounds like some people are trying to bring up those old stories for a nuclear submarine, which could happen too … There is no new information that would be characteristic of a nuclear submarine.”
No evidence showed the hallmark of a hush-hush rescue or salvage operation.
“This is all kind of fishy because … the scrubbing equipment if it fails, you come right to the surface,” Sadler said.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.