Holding China accountable for attempted coverup of coronavirus
By Representative Kevin Hern for The Hill
Looking back on all the pain, frustration, and hardship of the last several months, there’s one thing that sticks out to me: it didn’t have to be this bad. We are more than capable of containing a virus if we catch it early. In fact, world leaders built an infrastructure for that exact situation over 70 years ago. Yet, months after coronavirus cases appeared in China, the World Health Organization (WHO) was still promoting lies and downplaying the severity of the virus to protect the Communist Party of China (CCP).
While the WHO was protecting China, Chinese leaders were busy jailing the doctors and whistleblowers who tried to sound the alarm for the rest of the world. We lost precious time.
In February, before the arrival of COVID-19 halted the global economy, unemployment was at an all-time low and the Dow was at an all-time high. In less than two months, years of progress were wiped out as a direct result of the negligence and corruption of a communist dictatorship halfway around the world.
Make no mistake, China is a communist dictatorship. Since he rose to power in 2012, Xi Jinping has embraced mass surveillance policies, imprisoned millions of ethnic minorities in re-education camps, and essentially declared himself dictator for life in 2018.
After eight years of the Obama administration’s apathetic policies, treating China as a non-adversarial peer, China achieved rapid improvement to their international position and gained massive amounts of power.
China isn’t just an adversary – they are a serious threat and should be treated as such.
The United States is strong, we will not be beaten by the likes of China. Oppression doesn’t inspire innovation or loyalty. And yet, the Chinese do have an advantage – they cheat. You may have heard that China attempted to hack coronavirus vaccine research, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s estimated that China steals up to $600 billion in American intellectual property a year. They’re also holding over $1 trillion in American treasuries hostage, money that could flood the market and take over our economy in the blink of an eye.
Ever wondered why Chinese goods are so cheap? It’s because they manipulate their currency to keep it artificially weak against the dollar. Keeping the value of their currency down slowly bleeds American jobs away. See, it isn’t just cheap toys and clothes being manufactured in China. CCP-run pharmaceutical companies supply more than 90 percent of our antibiotics and ibuprofen. A senior Chinese official even threatened the CCP would leverage that supply in trade negotiations.
This is exactly why we need to support President Trump’s effort to negotiate trade deals that strengthen our country rather than deals that put us at a disadvantage. President Trump is increasing pressure on China to develop a new trade deal and bring jobs back to American soil. What’s happened over the last three months underscores the necessity for these changes. It isn’t a matter of cheap goods and labor anymore – it’s a matter of national security.
We may not be at war with China, but they are at war with us.
In the South China Sea, the Chinese Navy is building island-fortresses and their warships are dangerously antagonizing U.S. Navy vessels securing international trade routes. Imagine how those confrontations will look when China’s GDP and Navy double in size – and they surely will if nothing changes.
It isn’t just at sea and cyberspace where China is seeking out conflict. China’s encroachment into space may prove to be their greatest security risk. They have already conducted shows of force by shooting down their own satellites. The collaborative work between SpaceX and NASA – and the creation of a military Space Force – are important. The U.S. needs to have the capabilities to meet the Chinese threat in space.
The United States and our allies have the power to stop the CCP in their tracks. It begins with a complete reversal of the Obama-era policies that allowed China to become an upstart superpower right under our noses. We cannot continue to treat them as a peer. They have become an aggressive rival superpower and we must acknowledge that.
China will not change their behavior on their own. We need global support to put pressure on their more egregious misdeeds. Holding China accountable for their attempted coverup of this pandemic is a good start.