House Republicans unveiled a new committee on May 7 to combat threats from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as the regime’s role in the CCP virus’s global spread comes under scrutiny.
“China’s coverup directly led to this crisis,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a press briefing announcing the initiative. “It follows the same threatening pattern of behavior we have seen from the Chinese Communist Party for years—something that has long-been the bipartisan consensus in Washington.”
Led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the panel includes the members of various committees overseeing relations with China: Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), Jim Banks (Ind.), Andy Barr (Ky.), John Curtis (Utah), Mike Gallagher (Wis.), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), John Joyce (Pa.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Darin LaHood (Ill.), Guy Reschenthaler (Pa.), Denver Riggleman (Va.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Chris Stewart (Utah), and Mike Waltz (Fla.).
Kevin McCarthy Hosts a Virtual Press Conference https://t.co/IIa6C5XlLl
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) May 7, 2020
The 15-member task force will look at a “wide range of China-related issues,” including CCP influence operations in U.S. academic institutions, economic threats, the regime’s “efforts to gain the technological advantage,” and its handling of the virus during the early stages of the outbreak, McCarthy said.
“Not only do we have to hold the CCP accountable for their role in the spread of coronavirus, the United States must take bold action to address the CCP’s malign agenda and better compete with China on the world stage,” McCaul said in a statement. He stressed that it was “the number one issue not only today but for the future.”
The virus pandemic has accelerated hardening of the U.S. stance on the oppressive communist regime in China and put on another strain on the bilateral relationships, where concerns of academic infiltration, trade theft, and economic influence have long loomed large.
McCarthy said he had initially hoped to announce the task force as a bipartisan committee with House Democrats, after months of collaboration and planning on the initiative. But the Democrats “pulled back a few months ago,” McCarthy said, “without notice or reason.”
“We cannot wait any longer, the stakes are too high to sit idly by,” he said, adding that he invites Democratic lawmakers to join the force. “There is no important time now to join with us together, to work as one nation as we face these challenges.”
Time to Decouple
Republican Rep. Mark Green (Tenn.) recently announced plans to introduce a bill to help U.S. businesses move their supply chains back home to cut U.S. economic dependence on China.
“Any efforts to decouple is … wise for us, both from an economic standpoint and from a national security standpoint,” Green told The Epoch Times in a recent interview.
Ranking Republicans from seven House committees have also pressed for a probe into Beijing’s investment in American colleges, following allegations that China’s central government is suppressing academic research into the virus origin. The lawmakers noted that Beijing-funded culture programs such as Confucius Institutes have provided the regime with “a window into U.S. culture, infrastructure, and planning” as well as “a gathering ground for Chinese intelligence agencies.”
Banks, who is named to sit on the China Task Force, recently called for an international court trial against the Chinese regime for its handling of the virus. He also introduced a bill to warn Americans about national security threats from the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok.
Of the task force, Cheney said in a May 7 press release: “The United States must lead the world in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its coronavirus deception and its many years of pernicious activities around the globe.
“This is a battle between freedom and totalitarianism, and we will never let the Chinese Government determine the kind of future we are going to live in,” she said.