In his 2011 book “Death by China,” President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Peter Navarro quoted a China hawk named “Ron Vara” to prove his point on the threat posed by Beijing to the American economy.
“Only the Chinese can turn a leather sofa into an acid bath, a baby crib into a lethal weapon, and a cell phone battery into heart-piercing shrapnel,” Vara said. He appears once more in the book and is even referenced in the index.
There’s just one problem — Vara doesn’t appear to exist, according to an investigation by an Australian academic, who determined that Vara is actually Navarro. Ron Vara is even an anagram of Navarro’s last name.
Vara’s true identity was revealed by an Australian academic, who began to investigate him after being asked to write an article on anti-China rhetoric for a local politics and foreign affairs blog.
Tessa Morris-Suzuki, a professor emeritus of Japanese history at the Australian National University, told CNN she tried to find Vara after being asked to write an article on anti-China rhetoric for a local politics and foreign affairs blog.
“I just looked him up online, assuming he might be some businessman or other, and then he wasn’t there. The more I looked, the more I thought this was really strange,” she said.
“Then I realized the anagram.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education first reported Morris-Suzuki’s investigation.