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Politics

China Select Committee hearing highlights partisan divide on Beijing-countering strategy

Pottinger spiced up his testimony with a video of quotes by China’s paramount chief Xi Jinping that recommended hostile intentions towards the US. Pottinger accused the Chinese language authorities of waging “info warfare” on the U.S. and likened it to a sequence of magicians, calling the Chinese language Communist Get together “the Harry Houdini of Marxist-Leninist regimes; the David Copperfield of Communism; the Chris Angel of autocracy.” McMaster echoed that evaluation and argued that a few of the blame lies with leaders in tutorial, business, finance and authorities who’ve exercised “wishful pondering and self-delusion” about China’s intentions.

However the hearing revealed stark variations in how GOP and Democratic committee members understand the U.S.-China rivalry and the methods to method it.

Committee chair Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) laid out a GOP imaginative and prescient of an exterior going through “existential battle” in opposition to China’s “ideological, technological, financial and army risk.” Democratic committee members countered with a extra domestic-focused method hinged to bolstering U.S. democracy and backed by authorities funding for an industrial coverage that rating member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Unwell.) mentioned might thwart China’s problem “by investments in applied sciences of the long run, workforce enchancment and by fixing weaknesses in our economic system.”

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And Democratic members made implicit reference to Rep. Lance Gooden’s (R-Texas) assertion on Fox Information on Feb. 22 by which he questioned Rep. Judy Chu’s (D-Calif) loyalty or competence — an indication of the divides that might undermine the committee. “Calling into query the loyalty of Chinese language People, as a member of Congress not too long ago did, is as harmful as it’s deplorable,” mentioned Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.). Neither Chu nor Gooden are members of the committee.

Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi have additionally rejected Gooden’s feedback. Nonetheless, the divisions on show on the hearing recommend they face critical challenges from day one in delivering on their dedication to keep the committee’s focus on China reasonably than GOP-Democratic bickering.

“Simply because this Congress is split, we can not afford to waste the following two years lingering in legislative limbo or pandering for the press,” Gallagher mentioned in opening remarks. And he warned {that a} failure by the U.S. to reply decisively to the Chinese language authorities’s risk means “a world crowded with techno-totalitarian surveillance states the place human rights are subordinate to the whims of the Get together.”

That tone captures the rising congressional concern about China following the invention and subsequent destruction of a Chinese language spy balloon over the continental U.S. in February. Biden administration warnings that the Chinese language authorities is contemplating offering deadly weaponry to Russia in its warfare in opposition to Ukraine have solely fanned these fears. And a Division of Vitality report leaked on Sunday that concluded {that a} laboratory leak in Wuhan, China sparked the Covid pandemic has renewed congressional anger towards China’s position in a pandemic that has killed greater than one million People.

Bipartisan antagonism towards the Chinese language authorities led the Home Monetary Companies Committee to approve 10 payments on Tuesday aimed to rein in Beijing’s financial energy. That laws included measures that will goal Chinese language manufacturing of artificial medication, and fee a Treasury Division report on the worldwide financial dangers related to China’s monetary sector.

However whereas GOP China committee members centered primarily on well-trod U.S-China sizzling button points, together with the position of Chinese language-sourced precursor chemical substances within the U.S. opioid overdose epidemic, considerations about Chinese language purchases of agricultural land and the plight of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, Democratic members referred to as for home coverage initiatives to offset challenges from China.

Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif) and Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) referred to as for the U.S. to develop an industrial coverage that will fund the event of producers to supplant China’s dominance of worldwide provide chains in areas together with the provision of semiconductors for client merchandise. “It supplies dividends not solely to our economic system, however to our nationwide safety, to spend money on R&D and spend money on our manufacturing sector,” Stevens mentioned.

There have been no takers amongst GOP committee members. “America shouldn’t mimic the Chinese language industrial coverage and shouldn’t copy the Chinese language command and management system. … We must always not attempt to counter China by changing into extra like China,” mentioned Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.)

Democratic members argued, in the meantime, that going through down China’s authoritarian risk required a concerted effort to bolster what they described as America’s ailing democracy. Rep. Jake Auchincloss (R-Mass.) described the Jan. 6, 2021 revolt as a propaganda reward to Beijing. That day “was Xi Jinping’s finest day in workplace,” mentioned Auchincloss. “I hope the bipartisan spirit of competing with the Chinese language Communist Get together abroad extends to defending democracy right here at house.”

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