On April 22, House Democrats unilaterally approved H.R. 51, which would grant statehood to the District of Columbia if signed into law. Progressives claim this legislation will strengthen our democracy by enfranchising district residents who currently pay federal taxes, but lack representation in Congress like other U.S. residents.
However, Washington is full of corrupt officials and elites with financial ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Making it a state would thus disenfranchise Washington residents. In fact, it would disenfranchise all Americans by changing the U.S. electorate in a way that benefits Xi Jinping’s totalitarian objectives.
The United Front Work Department, the central propaganda organ of the CCP, conducts an aggressive influence operation within our capital that encompasses funding Washington think tanks such as the Brookings Institution and the Center for American Progress to sway public opinion toward Beijing’s policies. Increasingly, members of Congress are realizing that those who tout pro-CCP policies receive rewards while those who challenge Xi’s authoritarianism are silenced.
In a November 2020 letter to former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) warned of the CCP’s weaponization of the “revolving door” between the public and private sector to elevate CCP-friendly individuals to top positions within our government. Prestigious institutions in Washington, such as Georgetown and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, which are part of the revolving door for senior U.S. national security officials, also receive CCP money. By influencing the academic discourse on China within the United States, the CCP has extended its suppression of free speech to our democracy, where free speech is a right protected by U.S. law.
The true extent of CCP infiltration into our nation’s core remains unknown to many policymakers, especially since the Party’s fight to undermine our way of life is hidden in plain sight, by our own biases and greed.
For Washington residents, the pursuit of self-determination and voting representation in Congress goes hand-in-hand with their fight against so-called systemic racism. New census data shows that Washington’s population increased from approximately 602,000 to 689,545 in the past decade, rendering the city officially larger than Vermont and Wyoming—where fewer individuals enjoy greater representation. Democratic leaders argue that refusing to grant Washington statehood in spite of these demographic changes is evidence of discrimination against black voters.
In his proposed D.C.–Maryland Reunion Act, Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) writes that merging Washington with Maryland, a blue state, could redress grievances against disenfranchisement and racial inequality. Such a plan makes logical sense, as President Joe Biden won the 2020 election in Washington by 93 percent, and not one member of the city council is Republican. That liberal lawmakers dismiss retrocession as an alternative shows that H.R. 51 isn’t about representation; rather, this legislation is a mere power grab.
Unfortunately, the CCP can seize upon this partisan obstinacy to equate calls for Washington statehood with calls for Taiwan’s independence, accusing us of being hypocritical for supporting the island’s autonomy while not wanting Washington residents to have a say in government. The Party has proven itself masterful in weaponizing our rhetoric against us to deflect blame from its terrible human rights violations. Recently, the CCP drew a parallel between the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong from 2019, with China’s Foreign Ministry questioning why American media provided blatantly different narratives on both incidents of social unrest.
Just as the CCP can present itself as a unitary voice for the global Chinese diaspora and leverage woke ideology to prevent politicians from holding the Party accountable for COVID-19, it can reinforce the progressives’ argument that opposition to Washington statehood is a racially driven process in order to force lawmakers to create an American electorate more subservient to the CCP’s nefarious agenda.
Regardless of whether proponents of Washington statehood want a 51st state as political leverage or because they are genuinely concerned about ensuring full voting representation, the CCP will do whatever it can to manipulate the issue to bolster its self-serving narratives. H.R. 51 must never pass.
Dr. Robert Spalding, Brig. Gen., USAF (ret.), is a former senior director for strategy to the president at the National Security Council. He’s an Olmsted Scholar; a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, Washington; as well as a senior associate fellow at the Henry Jackson Society of London. He’s the author of “Stealth War: How China Took Over While America’s Elite Slept.” He holds a doctorate in economics and mathematics from the University of Missouri–Kansas City. He was a distinguished graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.