House Proposes Bill to Name Chinese Regime as Top US National Security Threat
By Eva Fu
October 21, 2020 Updated: October 21, 2020
Leading House Republican lawmakers unveiled a bill on Oct. 20 that would recognize the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as the “United States’ prevailing economic and national security threat of this generation.”
The 25-page legislation, titled the China Task Force Act (pdf), bundled together 137 key China-related legislative recommendations, including existing bills, resolutions, and other measures, for speedy passage. They cover a wide range of issues, including proposals to sell arms to Taiwan, secure safe 5G networks, punish the Chinese regime’s suppression of ethnic minorities, curb imports of Chinese products made with slave labor, and condemn China’s organ trafficking.
The No TikTok on Government Devices Act, would ban TikTok from all government employees’ electronic devices, while the CONFUCIUS Act aims to limit the influence of Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes on U.S. campuses. A portion of the measures has already passed through the House or the Senate.
“[T]he United States’ goal should be the end of the CCP’s monopoly on power, rather than indefinite coexistence with a fundamentally hostile communist state,” the latest bill stated.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who introduced the bill together with Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), called the act a “milestone in our efforts to hold China accountable” in a press release, adding that the United States’ past policy of accommodation has enabled the CCP’s “brutal dictatorship” and its continued assault on human rights.
“Every member in this chamber, regardless of political party, should want to take a stand against China’s malign behavior and their violations of human rights,” he said.
Republican representatives formed the 15-member China Task Force in May to scrutinize threats from the Chinese regime, notably its role in the global spread of COVID-19.
After a months-long probe, the committee released a report in late September with hundreds of recommendations, including moving critical industrial chains back home, modernizing the U.S. military, and sanctioning the regime for its human rights violations.
Republican's China Task Force Holds News Conference On Final Report On Threat From China
China Task Force Chair Michael McCaul at a press conference in Washington, on Sept. 30, 2020. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
“For decades, the United States and its allies have been asleep at the wheel,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the committee’s chairman, said at the time.
The legislation marked the latest move toward a tougher U.S. policy on China.
On Tuesday, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) introduced a resolution to label Beijing as the “greatest foreign threat” to U.S. peace and prosperity, citing factors such as its assertive global ambitions, territorial disputes with neighboring countries, curtailing of Hong Kong’s freedoms, manipulative trade tactics, and cyberattacks targeting U.S. trade secrets and national defense interests.
Flags of Taiwan and U.S. are placed for a meeting between U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce speaks and with Su Chia-chyuan, President of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei
Flags of Taiwan and U.S. are placed for a meeting between U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce speaks and with Su Chia-chyuan, President of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan on March 27, 2018. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)
The same day, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Jeff Markley (D-Ore.) proposed a measure (pdf) to strengthen U.S. relations with Taiwan. It aims to create an interagency task force, establish a cultural exchange foundation, promote Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the international agencies, and counter Beijing’s pressure on U.S. businesses regarding Taiwan.
The Chinese regime views Taiwan as part of its territory, despite it being a de-facto nation-state, with its own democratically-elected government, military, and currency. Beijing has vowed to bring the self-ruled island under its fold.
“The United States needs to use its diplomatic, economic, and cultural clout to support partners like Taiwan that share our values,” Merkley, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement announcing the bill’s release.
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