In addition to its encroachments on Hong Kong and the first fatal border clash with India in 45 years, “you’ve got the boat bumping and other incidents in the South China Sea, East China Sea; the increased tempo of dangerous intercepts of the U.S. Navy in the global commons; the repeated threats to invade Taiwan; all of these hostile words, these disinformation campaigns directed against the United States and others,” he said.
The Chinese communist regime has become increasingly belligerent globally, and it “believes it can do what it wants,” Chang told The Epoch Times in an interview for the “American Thought Leaders” program.
“We have to teach China for the first time that our warnings actually mean something.”
The current situation, Chang says, resembles the late 1930s, when Nazi Germany became increasingly brazen, remilitarizing its Rhineland border with France in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, annexing Austria, taking over Czechoslovakia, and demanding territory from Lithuania and Poland.
“We get to the summer of 1939. Hitler is threatening to invade Poland,” while Britain and France warn that they would declare war on Germany. “We know from the German archives that Hitler didn’t believe London and Paris. And why should he?” Chang said. “They were issuing these series of warnings and not doing anything about it.”
Similarly, “the risk of miscalculation on the part of China is extremely high, especially because they have an aggressive leader,” Chang said.
“This is an exceedingly dangerous time.”
‘Draconian’ National Security Law
On June 30, Beijing’s rubber-stamp parliament pushed through a national security law that bans secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces in Hong Kong. In effect, it “gives Beijing the right to do anything it wants,” Chang said.
“People say—and I think they’re right—that this is not just a law. This is the end of law,” Chang said.
After the law was passed, Beijing swiftly converted a skyscraper hotel into the headquarters of a powerful new state security agency, which can operate free of any constraints from Hong Kong law or local authorities. Some critics have likened it to the Gestapo, the official secret police of Nazi Germany.
The regime has issued new rules giving Hong Kong police broad new powers to implement the national security law, including “warrantless searches, freezing of assets; they can demand that internet companies remove content; they can demand that organizations outside of Hong Kong actually turn over material—though I don’t know how they’re going to enforce that. But nonetheless, its powers are extremely broad,” Chang said.
“And, as we’re going to find out, its powers are going to get broader and broader over time.”
While it tramples on freedoms in Hong Kong, the Chinese regime also is engaging in a sustained campaign of espionage and subversion of the United States, Chang noted.
“Every single day, we’re subject to an existential challenge from China,” Chang said.
In a July 7 speech, FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed that the agency opens a new China-related investigation about every 10 hours. Almost half of the FBI’s nearly 5,000 counterintelligence investigations are connected to China, he added, countering the Chinese regime’s efforts to steal U.S. technology and influence U.S. policymakers.
Chinese intellectual property theft costs the U.S. economy more than $225 billion annually, and may amount to as much as $600 billion, according to a report by The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property.
Chinese-owned apps such as TikTok are drawing increased scrutiny globally, as experts say they can be used to collect data for the Chinese Communist Party. All Chinese companies are obligated by law to cooperate with Chinese intelligence operations, and hand over information if asked.
Security researchers have found TikTok secretly accessing the clipboard on Apple phones. This means TikTok is able to see any text a user copied onto the clipboard, including potentially sensitive information.
“All of this data that TikTok and other Chinese apps accumulate is then fed into China’s artificial intelligence systems,” Chang said. “The more data you put into an AI system, the better it will operate.”
Such information also is likely used by the regime to identify potential targets and vulnerabilities to exploit, Chang said.
In 2015, Chinese state-sponsored hackers breached the U.S. Office of Personnel Management database, exposing personnel records of at least 21.5 million current and former federal employees. That year, Chinese hackers also accessed the systems of health insurance company Anthem, stealing the personal medical information of nearly 80 million Americans.
“China is relentlessly attacking American society,” Chang said. “The only way to protect ourselves is to decouple.”
A Two-Faced Regime
On July 9, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, called for “peaceful coexistence” with the United States, saying, “China never intends to challenge or replace the U.S. and has no intention to engage in an all-out confrontation with the U.S.”
Chang wasn’t convinced.
“This is always China’s line: That they want to cooperate. They believe in a shared humanity, all the rest of it.”
But actions speak far louder than words, Chang says.
“We have seen unrelenting attacks on the American republic and, indeed, on the international community as a whole,” Chang said.
Along with its aggression globally, the Chinese Communist Party is committing crimes against humanity against its own populace, from the Tibetans to the Uyghurs, Chang said. In Xinjiang, the regime has forced Uyghurs into abortion or sterilization procedures and imprisoned at least a million Uyghurs—atrocities that, in Chang’s view, amount to genocide.
“It’s important that the United States and other countries start to cut their relations with China, because we cannot afford to deal with a regime like that,” Chang said.
Chang says the regime’s weeks-long coverup of the coronavirus outbreak, which facilitated the spread of a devastating pandemic, is further evidence that the Chinese authorities can never be trusted.
“I think the only way that China can regain the trust of the United States and the international community is to get rid of communism, and establish a multiparty democracy and a free economy,” he said.
“We want to work with China. We want to see China succeed and prosper. But we don’t want to see a militant regime take over the world.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.