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Chinese Communist Party actions greatest threat to democracy since WW II: USA

Author: Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: December 5, 2020
URL:   https://m.economictimes.com/news/international/world-news/chinese-communist-party-actions-greatest-threat-to-democracy-since-ww-ii-usa/amp_articleshow/79579521.cms?__twitter_impression=true&s=03

The outgoing Trump administration's most senior intelligence official has warned that China is preparing for "an open-ended period of confrontation with the US” and described the Chinese action as "the greatest threat to America today" and to "democracy around the world since World War II."

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has written in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that China targeted several dozen members of Congress and congressional aides this year.

The Trump administration has taken several measures against Beijing including new sanctions on Chinese companies.

"This generation will be judged by its response to China's effort to reshape the world in its own image and replace America as the dominant superpower. The intelligence is clear. Our response must be as well," Ratcliffe wrote.

"Beijing is preparing for an open-ended period of confrontation with the U.S. Washington should also be prepared. Leaders must work across partisan divides to understand the threat, speak about it openly, and take action to address it," he added.

One senior national security official told top US news channel CNN that the op-ed is part of a broader, administration-wide China push before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.

Sources familiar with Biden's foreign policy plans say the President-elect is well aware of the challenge Beijing presents, but believes Trump's approach -- particularly taking action without consulting allies -- has undermined the ultimate goal of competing with China, according to a CNN report.

Top Democrats in Congress have also urged members of the Biden team, including his pick to replace Ratcliffe as DNI, to take a tough stance on China, but adopt a different approach than that of the Trump administration, according to CNN.

"I urged the incoming Biden administration to be tough on China, but in a much smarter, multilateral way than the Trump administration was, so that American workers aren't left behind and so the US leads in critical industries like semiconductors, quantum computing, and clean energy," Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer said earlier this week after meeting with Biden's choice for DNI Avril Haines.

Biden has said there are areas where it is in the US interest to work with China, including on climate change and North Korea, but his advisers stress that he will work closely with allies to present a united front on issues such as technology, including Huawei and 5G, intellectual property theft and China's expansion in Asian waters and its moves to crush democracy in Hong Kong.

It remains to be seen how Biden will deal with China but the recent warnings from outgoing Trump officials could increase pressure on him to prioritize holding Beijing accountable or, at very least, complicate the calculus on certain issues, according to CNN report.

For example, Ratcliffe said, "China's efforts to dominate 5G telecommunications will only increase Beijing's opportunities to collect intelligence, disrupt communications and threaten user privacy world-wide. I have personally told US allies that using such Chinese-owned technology will severely limit America's ability to share vital intelligence with them.”

"The world is being presented a choice between two wholly incompatible ideologies. China's leaders seek to subordinate the rights of the individual to the will of the Communist Party. They exert government control over companies and subvert the privacy and freedom of their citizens with an authoritarian surveillance state," he added.

Ratcliffe said Thursday that the Chinese government "engaged in a massive influence campaign that included targeting several dozen members of Congress and congressional aides" over the last year. A senior national security official told CNN that the Chinese government used a variety of tactics, including attempted bribery and blackmail.

The State Department is imposing new restrictions on travel visas to the United States for members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a State Department spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

Under the new rules, the travel visas of CCP members and their immediate family members will change from 10 years to one month and will be single entry.

"We are watching very closely and would be ready for anything including a grave miscalculation by the PRC," a senior administration official told CNN. "We're definitely watching them."

"Sooner or later they're willing to push things to a boiling point over Taiwan as they did in Hong Kong and on border with India. It's coming," the official added.

 

 
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