Stephen Bannon on Huawei and the Communist China Threat

Stephen Bannon on Huawei and the Communist China Threat
Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist and former executive chairman of Breitbart News, at his home in Washington on Aug. 23, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)
Jan Jekielek

Huawei is the greatest national security threat that America has ever faced—even greater than the threat of nuclear war—according to former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon.

The Chinese company Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, has close ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Bannon noted, and it is vying for control of 5G, the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications.

“The backbone of the future of technology is 5G,” Bannon said in an interview with The Epoch Times’ program “American Thought Leaders.” “Right now, the path that Huawei’s taking, as a front for the PLA, is to basically take over the networks and the components throughout the world. If we allow this to happen even for a couple more years, Huawei is going to control basically the communications systems of the West, and therefore will be able to control the West.”

Under the laws in communist China, companies have to cooperate with Chinese authorities and grant access to data when asked. U.S. legislators have highlighted the fact that Huawei equipment could be used by Beijing to engage in espionage or disrupt communication networks.

“Huawei is a methodology, a high-tech methodology to basically have domination over the world,” Bannon said. In his view, Huawei expanded its business largely under the radar for years. It now operates in more than 170 countries across the globe and serves more than 3 billion people, according to the Huawei website.

The threat of Huawei is spotlighted in a new film, “Claws of the Red Dragon,” which was executive produced by Bannon. The plot of the film was largely inspired by the 2018 arrest of the chief financial officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of Huawei’s founder. In the indictments, U.S. prosecutors charged Huawei with stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile and violating sanctions against Iran.

The film calls attention to the intimate relationship between telecom giant Huawei and the CCP and highlights the regime’s hegemonic ambitions.

“People will be shocked when they see it,” Bannon said. The 54-minute film, which will be released in September, is being distributed by New Tang Dynasty Television.

Huawei, Bannon said, isn’t a “fine corporate citizen,” as they would have people believe. Instead, “it’s a branch of the People’s Liberation Army. It’s an intelligence branch.”

Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart, is currently chairman of the Rule of Law Society and co-founder of the Committee on the Present Danger: China. Both organizations focus on the communist China threat to the West, as well as the Chinese regime’s suppression of the Chinese people.

The film, Bannon said, will “cause a lot of controversy. It’s going to cause a lot of conversation. That’s what we want.”

Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist and former executive chairman of Breitbart News, at his home in Washington on Aug. 23, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)
Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist and former executive chairman of Breitbart News, at his home in Washington on Aug. 23, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

The Culpability of Corporate America

The indictments of Meng and Huawei speak of decades-long abuses, so “why did both the Bush and the Obama administration kind of look the other way, while investigators at the Department of Justice and other places were pursuing this?” Bannon said.

“Every administration, every president of both political parties,” he said, has “folded when it came into the spotlight with the Chinese” and allowed the Chinese communist regime to freely renege on its promises.

In Bannon’s view, the crux of the problem was the marriage of corporate America and the CCP.

“Here’s the analogy I make: Wall Street is the investor relations department for the Chinese Communist Party, because they’re the ones that raise capital for them. The corporations are the lobbyists,” Bannon said.

“The tragedy and the crime,” in Bannon’s view, are the corporate elites who have knowingly chosen to look the other way in the face of egregious human rights abuses in China.

“They know all of it, and they don’t care.” Involvement with the Chinese regime “means more money. It means higher stock prices. It means lower slave labor [costs],” Bannon said.

“Wall Street’s the cheerleader. And corporate America has been the lobbyist.”

“They have no moral authority. They have totally bought into a system that’s completely corrupt, and they know all about it,” Bannon said. Yet, they “mock Donald Trump and say, oh, he’s the barbarian. He’s the wild man. He’s the disruptor to the system.”

In the end, Bannon said, “the blood and guilt is on their hands,” because they sought to profit from a close relationship with the Chinese ruling regime.

“And it’s the working men and women in the middle class in this country [who] have paid the price,” Bannon said.

“Over the past 20 years, we’ve de-industrialized the United States, and we shipped those manufacturing jobs to China,” Bannon said. And in return, “they sent in the opioids and the fentanyl to go into the old manufacturing areas in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan.” Former manufacturing workers, mired in depression and hopelessness about future job prospects, have been especially vulnerable to this influx of drugs from China.

“This is not just a crisis. It’s a tragedy of the United States,” Bannon said. Wall Street and the corporate elites are “going to be held accountable by history for what went on in this time and place, what went on in China, and what they knew about and looked the other way.”

“Donald Trump, the central reason he’s president is this: He said, we have to return America to her former greatness. We have to make America great again. And the way we’re going to do that [is] we’re going to confront the [CCP]. Wall Street has shipped those jobs over there, and I am going to bring them back,” Bannon said.

In Bannon’s view, Trump is the first president to take a strong stance against the Chinese communist regime.

On Aug. 23, Trump raised existing tariffs even higher and ordered U.S. companies to exit China, after Beijing announced retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. goods.

It was a “warning shot” to corporate America, Bannon said, to bring their manufacturing supply chains back to the United States.

The move has caused controversy among people who don’t believe the president’s mandate includes the power to order private corporations out of China.

“He does have emergency powers,” enumerated in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977, Bannon said. The president has threatened to declare a national emergency to force U.S. businesses to cut ties with China.

Many people don’t have a clear understanding of the ruling Chinese regime, Bannon said. Advocates of free trade, in Bannon’s view, are well-intentioned, but they often “have this kind of soft, gauzy notion that they read in Adam Smith about free trade, not understanding that you have a gangster organization that runs a totalitarian mercantilist state.”

For decades, Americans were made to believe a lie, Bannon said—namely that once China entered the World Trade Organization, received Most Favored Nation status, became wealthier, and started to develop a middle class, then China would gradually democratize and become more of a free market with rule of law.

Yet “we’ve seen the exact opposite. In the past 20 years, the CCP has become more radical,” Bannon said.

“Why is that? Because they have a totalitarian system” where the elite “essentially skims the money off the top.” Bannon said.

“You go to Belgravia, you go to the West End of London—a lot of that is Chinese money,” Bannon said, and “not from the Chinese people, not from the hardworking ‘Old Hundred Names’ that breaks his back every day in a factory for a buck a day. That’s from the elites in the [CCP] that have skimmed the money off the top of the slave labor of China, money-laundered it through banks and investment banks, and bought real estate and hard assets in the West.”

“The Chinese Communist Party is the Frankenstein monster created by the elites in the West—the capital provided by the elites in the West, the technology that’s provided by the elites in the West,” Bannon said.

“At Breitbart, for years, we were talking about the threat of, not a rising China, [but] the threat of the [CCP] and how it’s getting more radicalized over time and how it had hegemonic designs on the world.

“The people of China are some of the most hardworking, decent people on earth. They’re enslaved by a radical totalitarian surveillance state of the Chinese Communist Party and really a radical cadre inside that Communist Party that suppresses, enslaves the Chinese people.”

The nature of the Chinese regime becomes especially clear, in Bannon’s view, in the way the police are treating the Hong Kong protesters.

“When you see the tear gas, you see the beatings, you see the rubber bullets, you see exactly what they are. This is a gangster organization that doesn’t believe in any individual rights,” Bannon said.

“What they’ve done to the Uyghurs, what they’ve done to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhists, what they’ve done to the Evangelical Christians, what they’ve done to Falun Gong, what they’ve done to the underground Catholic Church is unacceptable,” Bannon said. “These are criminals that don’t abide by any rule of law.”

The Fight for Freedom

“The defining event I believe in the first half of the 21st century is the freedom of the Chinese people,” Bannon said. “I think the freedom of China starts in Hong Kong. I think it’s going to spread from there.

“The people in Hong Kong are among the most orderly and decent folks on earth. If you’ve ever been there, it’s basically a rock island with no resources, that the grit and determination of the Chinese people, coupled with English common law, has created the third-greatest capital market in the world,” Bannon said.

Historically, Hong Kongers have tended to be apolitical and business-focused, in Bannon’s view. Yet now, millions of Hong Kongers have flooded the streets over the past few weeks to protest an extradition bill that would allow the Chinese regime to wantonly extradite Hong Kongers—including dissidents and activists—and sentence them in a Chinese court.

“They’re standing up for freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech. They’re free-market capitalists. Many of them are Christians. To me, it’s very motivating to see young people that are not prepared to back down in the face of totalitarian brutality,” Bannon said.

“Those young men and women are exactly what the patriots of 1776 were in the United States. They have the grit, they have the determination, they have the indefatigability. They are not going to back down. They’ve been tear-gassed, they’ve been beaten, they’ve had rubber bullets shot at them, and time and time again, they show up.

“I think they’re heroes of the modern world. I think they deserve to be nominated for and win the Nobel Prize for peace.”

The moment that the CCP decides to stamp out the protests like they did with the Tiananmen pro-democracy protesters, the moment the Chinese regime repeats the Tiananmen Square massacre, Bannon said, “that’s the beginning of the end of the Chinese Communist Party.”

In Bannon’s view, China would be swiftly ostracized and shut off from Western technology and capital markets. But more importantly, he said, “I think even with the firewall, the contagion of freedom will start to spread in China.”

Eventually, Bannon believes, the Chinese people will stand up and say, “‘We’ve had enough of 100,000 people or 50,000 people ruling a country of 1.4 billion and stealing all our money, stealing all our wealth, taking it for themselves, making us live in a totalitarian surveillance state.”

‘A Profile in Courage’

“Only the Chinese people can free the Chinese people,” Bannon said. But people in the West can help by putting the spotlight on the Chinese regime’s brutal persecution of dissidents and religious believers.

The Huawei exposé film, “Claws of the Red Dragon,” seeks to inform people around the world about the opaque inner workings of the Chinese communist state—where major corporations are deeply influenced by the Chinese regime.

In the film, Canadian government officials grapple with whether they should hold the Chinese regime accountable, when doing so could potentially endanger Canadian citizens in China. China arrested two Canadians and charged them with espionage last December, a move that has largely been seen as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei’s Meng.

“Claws of the Red Dragon” is “a profile in courage,” Bannon said, that highlights the difficult moral dilemmas that ordinary individuals face in confronting a goliath regime like the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a “tense situation where people are making moral trade-offs all the time.”

“I think it’s a very powerful film, and I’m very proud to be associated with it,” Bannon said.

“The pursuit of truth and pursuit of your higher moral self comes at a great cost. It’s just like in Hong Kong. There is a huge cost they are paying. They’re being jailed. They’re being beaten. They are being [told] your careers are ruined, your careers are finished. This is a high cost in the modern society, and yet they refuse to back down,” he said.

“They will rise up to their higher, highest self.”

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the law from which President Trump derives emergency powers to order companies out of China. The correct law is the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977. The Epoch Times regrets the error. 
“American Thought Leaders” is an Epoch Times show available on Facebook, YouTube, and the Epoch Times website.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Jan Jekielek is a senior editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show "American Thought Leaders." Jekielek’s career has spanned academia, media, and international human rights work. In 2009, he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as website chief editor. He was an executive producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film "Finding Manny."