Biden Administration’s Decision to End ‘China Initiative’ ‘Emboldens Our Enemies’: Missouri AG

Biden Administration’s Decision to End ‘China Initiative’ ‘Emboldens Our Enemies’: Missouri AG
Attorney General Eric Schmitt during Epoch Times Interview, March 1, 2022
Andrew Thornebrooke
The Biden administration is under fire for its decision to terminate the China Initiative, a controversial Justice Department program aimed at combating espionage by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt lambasted the administration for ending the initiative “due to concerns over the perception of racism,” in a March 8 letter addressed to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and obtained by the Epoch Times.

“I am baffled by the Department of Justice’s recent decision to discontinue the successful ‘China Initiative’ policy,” Schmitt wrote. “This policy took into account the threats to the United States from a variety of foreign actors and prudently selected the communist government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the most urgent.”

The DOJ terminated the program last month following allegations that ethnic Chinese academics were being unfairly targeted.

“I want to emphasize my belief that the department’s actions have been driven by genuine national security concerns,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said during a press briefing announcing the termination of the program.

“But by grouping cases under the China Initiative rubric, we helped give rise to a harmful perception that the department applies a lower standard to investigate and prosecute criminal conduct related to that country or that we in some way view people with racial, ethnic or familial ties to China differently.”

The statement followed an internal review on the program conducted by the DOJ following numerous allegations of racism from Chinese scholars and researchers. The report found no evidence of racial bias in the China Initiative, but Olsen said that it convinced him the program needed “a new approach.”

Critics of the program said it had the effect of stifling U.S.-China research exchanges.

The results of a survey, jointly conducted by the University of Arizona and the Committee of 100, a nonprofit group focused on improving Sino–American relations, found that the initiative had severely frightened ethnic Chinese working in American universities. It found that over 42 percent of ethnic Chinese scientists in American universities were considering ending their time in the United States because of the initiative.
Yet others have pointed to the difficulty of avoiding the appearance of racial bias because the Chinese Communist Party specifically targets ethnic Chinese people to help with espionage and other operations. In addition, ethnic Chinese people living in the United States are often themselves victims of campaigns conducted by the regime.
In one such program, “Operation Fox Hunt,” the CCP directed its operatives in the United States to intimidate ethnic Chinese dissenters to return to China to be imprisoned by threatening their families. Ten alleged CCP Fox Hunt operatives were charged as part of the China Initiative.

In his letter, Schmitt pointed out that the Biden administration has itself accused the CCP of targeting U.S. citizens to obtain military and trade secrets, of leading cyber campaigns against the nation, and of pursuing a campaign of intimidation against ethnic Chinese throughout America.

In light of the threat posed by the CCP, Schmitt contended that the decision to halt the program “projects weakness, emboldens our enemies, makes our country less safe, and puts at risk the personal safety of each and every American citizen.”

On March 8, leaders from across the American intelligence community testified before the House Intelligence Committee that China’s communist regime is the number one threat to the United States.

According to Schmitt, liberty could not be maintained at all if the nation did not pursue effective, if unpopular, security programs.

“The world is a dangerous place and liberty is not preserved with pandering and political correctness,” Schmitt said. “It is preserved by singleness of mind and mission, to constantly hone and practice the lethal skills of war, to be willing and able to meet any enemy on any field of battle and emerge victorious.”

“Anything short of this is unacceptable.”

Andrew Thornebrooke is a national security correspondent for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
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