‘It’s Always a Right Time to Speak Truth to the Communists’: FCC Commissioner Stands Up to Beijing Propagandists

April 23, 2020 Updated: April 23, 2020

In recent weeks, Brendan Carr, commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has taken to Twitter to call out the Chinese regime’s propaganda surrounding the pandemic.

His thread responding to a tweet by Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying went viral. In a series of posts, Carr asked the regime to “un-disappear” a group of citizen journalists, doctors, and others who have gone missing after they spoke out about the severity of the outbreak in China. The commissioner has been blocked on Twitter by another foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian.

His impetus for publicly calling out Chinese officials? “There is nothing that a communist dislikes more than the truth spoken freely,” Carr told The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” program. “I think we all have an obligation to do that.”

Carr said the Chinese regime has embarked on a global campaign to improve its image and deflect attention away from its initial coverup of the CCP virus outbreak that resulted in a global pandemic. This needed to be countered, he said.

“It’s important that we always send a clear signal, whether to our own media here in the U.S. or across the world, that we stand strong for free speech and not having the government interfere with the free flow of information,” Carr said.

Earlier in April, Hua responded to a tweet by U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus about the need for the United States and China to work together to combat the virus. Hua wrote that the U.S. official was “welcome to China anytime and talk to anyone in the streets to enjoy the freedom [sic].” Carr jumped at the opportunity to expose what “freedom” under the communist regime looks like.

In his reply to Hua, Carr said he’d like to speak with eight individuals who have been silenced by the regime for voicing their concerns about the outbreak. They include citizen reporters Fang Bin, Chen Qiushi, and Li Zehua, property tycoon Ren Zhiqiang, and law professor Xu Zhangrun.

“The Chinese people are the ones that are most directly and most often brutalized by the communist regime,” Carr said. “And so I think we should all stand up for them when they have the courage to stand up to these brutal communist leaders.”

Hua responded to Carr’s tweet, noting his list of names and adding that he was “welcome to Wuhan to pay respects to the heroic city. But Plz [sic] don’t pretend to be a detective.” The commissioner, in reply, reiterated his request to un-disappear those individuals so he could speak with them.

Securing Our Networks

Outside of Twitter, Carr’s work at the FCC has also focused on making sure telecoms infrastructure in the country is free from security threats posed by the Chinese regime.

“What we’re called to do with the FCC, increasingly, is to look at the threat and the potential threat to U.S. telecom networks of entities that may be owned and controlled by the communist regime in China,” Carr said.

For example, “we took action against Huawei and ZTE, two companies that we determined were too tightly controlled by the Communist Party,” he said.

Last November, the FCC voted unanimously to designate those two telecom gear manufacturers as national security risks, barring U.S. rural carrier customers from using federal subsidy funds to purchase their equipment. This came months after the Trump administration put Huawei on a trade blacklist, effectively banning it from doing business with U.S. firms.

The security concerns surrounding Huawei and other Chinese telecom firms stem from Chinese laws that compel companies to cooperate with Chinese intelligence agencies when asked.

The commission last May also voted unanimously to deny a bid by Chinese state-run telecom firm China Mobile to operate in the United States, citing risks that the regime could use the approval to conduct espionage against the U.S. government.

Earlier this month, a group of federal agencies recommended that the FCC revoke Chinese state-owned company China Telecom’s authorization to provide international telecommunication services in the United States, citing “substantial and unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks.” Carr said the Commission is moving to implement the recommendation, and will provide China Telecom with an opportunity to “make the case as to why they shouldn’t be kicked out of our network.”

But it’s not only China Mobile receiving more scrutiny; the FCC has also set its sights on all other Chinese companies currently participating in the U.S. telecom network.

“I’ve called on the FCC and for the national security agencies to take a look at each and every one of those companies, effectively to do a top-to-bottom review of all companies that may be owned or controlled by the communist regime,” Carr said.

5G

Ensuring the security of the country’s next-generation of wireless 5G networks is a core concern of the commission, Carr said.

“If our 5G networks are insecure, every single thing that we value in life is going to be insecure,” he said. “And that’s why we’re taking such aggressive action at the FCC looking at Huawei, ZTE, China Mobile, looking at China Telecom, supporting this trend to software-based network to make sure that we have not just the best 5G platform but the most secure platform as well.”

5G will offer internet connectivity at speeds 10 to 100 times faster than 4G. The fast connection is set to revolutionize many industries, including transportation, health care, and manufacturing.

Carr said that four years ago, the United States was at “serious risk” of ceding leadership in 5G to China. But “we’ve engaged in a significant turnaround, and the U.S. now has the strongest 5G platform in the world,” he said.

The FCC has achieved this, Carr said, by cutting red tape to allow 5G cell towers to be constructed faster and by opening up “more spectrum than any other country in the world.”

On April 20, the commission voted unanimously to allow U.S. satellite company Ligado Networks to deploy a low-power nationwide 5G network. Ligado will be able to use L-Band spectrum, a mid-band spectrum, which has slower speeds than high-band spectrums but offers more coverage.

“That’s one piece of probably a dozen or more spectrum bands that we’ve been getting across the finish line,” Carr said.

Follow Cathy on Twitter: @CathyHe_ET