Anne Sebba

Anne Sebba is an award-winning British biographer, writer and journalist. She is the author of nine non-fiction books for adults, two biographies for children and several introductions to reprinted classics. Anne Sebba was born in London in 1951, she read history at King's College London and after a brief spell at the BBC World Service in Bush House joined Reuters as a graduate trainee, working in London and Rome, from 1972 to 1978. She now lives in London, her discovery of an unpublished series of letters from Wallis Simpson to her second husband Ernest Simpson, shortly before her eventual marriage to the ex-King, Edward VIII Duke of Windsor, formed the basis of a Channel 4 film, The Secret Letters, first shown on UK television in August 2011, a biography of Simpson, That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson Duchess of Windsor. The letters have led to a reappraisal of the abdication crisis. Sebba’s books have been translated into several languages including French, Portuguese, Russian, Polish and Chinese.

Since working as a correspondent for Reuters, Sebba has written for The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Spectator, Times Higher Education Supplement and The Independent. She has been cited as an authority on biography. In 2009, Sebba wrote and presented The Daffodil Maiden on BBC Radio 3, it was the story of the pianist Harriet Cohen, who inspired the composer Arnold Bax when she wore a dress adorned with a single daffodil and became his mistress for the next 40 years. In 2010, she wrote and presented the documentary Who was Joyce Hatto? for BBC Radio 4. In September 2009, Sebba joined the management committee of the Society of Authors, she was chair of the committee between 2012 and 2014 and is now a member of the Council of the Society of Authors. She is a longstanding member of English PEN and after several years on the Writers in Prison Committee served twice on the PEN management committee, she went to Turkey twice as an official observer for PEN for the trial of journalist Asiye Guzel Zeybeck She has served on the judging panel of the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize. and has twice been a judge for the Biographers' Club awards.

In 2012, Sebba spoke at the Beijing and Shanghai Literary Festivals and the Sydney Writers' Festival. Anne is a Trustee of the National Archives Trust and a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Historical Research Jennie Churchill: Winston's American Mother was reviewed, inter alia, in The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman,That Woman was described in The New York Times Sunday Book Review as a "devourable feast of spiced history…which acquires the propulsive energy of a thriller as it advances through Wallis's life". and in The Washington Times as "a delicious new biography… meticulously researched". In 2016, Sebba published Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived and Died in the 1940s, published in the United States as Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived and Died under the Nazi Occupation; this was described as "fascinating and beautifully written" by The Spectator and was the joint winner of the Franco-British society’s book prize for 2016. Les Parisiennes has been translated into Chinese and French.

In 2018, a reviewer in Le Figaro Magazine coined the phrase "La Méthode Sebba" to describe the author’s method of linking interviews with living people and archive material to create a tableau of women during the dark years. Mother Teresa Margot Fonteyn Samplers Laura Ashley: A Life By Design Enid Bagnold: A Life Mother Teresa: Beyond the Image Battling For News The Exiled Collector: William Bankes and the Making of an English Country House Jennie Churchill: Winston's American Mother That Woman Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived and Died in the 1940s Official website

1996 United States campaign finance controversy

The 1996 United States campaign finance controversy was an alleged effort by the People's Republic of China to influence domestic American politics prior to and during the Clinton administration and involved the fund-raising practices of the administration itself. While questions regarding the U. S. Democratic Party's fund-raising activities first arose over a Los Angeles Times article published on September 21, 1996, China's alleged role in the affair first gained public attention when Bob Woodward and Brian Duffy of The Washington Post published a story stating that a United States Department of Justice investigation into the fund-raising activities had uncovered evidence that agents of China sought to direct contributions from foreign sources to the Democratic National Committee before the 1996 presidential campaign; the journalists wrote that intelligence information had shown the Chinese embassy in Washington, D. C. was used for coordinating contributions to the DNC in violation of United States law forbidding non-American citizens or non-permanent residents from giving monetary donations to United States politicians and political parties.

A Republican investigator of the controversy stated the Chinese plan targeted both presidential and congressional United States elections, while Democratic senators said the evidence showed the Chinese targeted only congressional elections. The government of the People's Republic of China denied all accusations. According to the U. S. Senate report, Chinese officials developed a set of proposals to promote their interests with the United States government and to improve China's image with the American people; the proposals, dubbed the "China Plan", were prompted by the United States Congress's successful lobbying of President Bill Clinton to grant a visa to Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui. U. S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher had assured his Chinese counterpart Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen that granting a visa would be "inconsistent with unofficial relationship " and the Clinton Administration's acquiescence to the Congressional resolutions led China to conclude that the influence of Congress over foreign policy was more significant than it had determined.

When formulating the so-called plan, Chinese officials acknowledged that, compared to other countries, it had little knowledge of, or influence over, policy decisions made in Congress, which had a sizeable pro-Taiwan faction under the influence of a more established "China Lobby" run by the Kuomintang. The plan, according to the Senate report, instructed Chinese officials in the U. S. to improve their knowledge about members of Congress and increase contacts with its members, the public, the media. The plan suggested ways to lobby United States officials. Over the years, China denied that their lobbying efforts involved financial contributions of any kind, e.g. stating "some people and media in the United States speculated... about so-called participation by Chinese individuals in political donations during the U. S. elections. It is intended to slander China. Has never, nor will we use money to influence American politics" — a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, May 1998; the most significant activity by Yah-Lin "Charlie" Trie was a $450,000 attempted donation from him to Clinton's legal defense fund which Trie delivered in two envelopes each containing several checks and money orders.

The fund rejected $70,000 and deposited the remainder, but ordered an investigation of the source. The investigation found that some of the money orders were made out in different names but with the same handwriting, sequentially numbered; the fund rejected the donation and returned the deposited funds two months after the initial contribution. Born in Taiwan, Trie emigrated to the U. S. in 1974. He became an American citizen and co-owner of a restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas; the 1997 special investigation describes Trie as having attempted to develop an international trading business, having maintained or accessed accounts in Little Rock and Washington, D. C. into which Macau-based real estate businessman Ng Lap Seng wired >$1M USD from Macau and Hong Kong accounts, as having never succeeded in the trading business. In Little Rock, Trie befriended Clinton Governor of Arkansas. In addition to the attempted donation to Clinton's defense fund and his immediate family donated $220,000 to the DNC, later returned.

After the donation to Clinton's defense fund, Trie sent a letter to President Clinton that expressed concern about America's intervention in tensions arising from China's military exercises being conducted near Taiwan. Trie told the President in his letter that war with China was a possibility should U. S. intervention continue: nce the hard parties of the Chinese military incline to grasp U. S. involvement as foreign intervention, is U. S. ready to face such challenge... T is possible for China to launch real war based on its past behavior in Sino-Vietnam War and Zhen Bao Tao war with Russia.." After Congressional investigations turned to Trie in late 1996, he left the country for China. Trie returned to the U. S. in 1998 and was convicted and sentenced to three years' probation and four months' home detention for violating federal campaign finance laws by making political contributions in someone else's name and for causing a false statement to be made to the Federal Election Commission. Born in Taiwan, Johnny Chung we