House Committee’s Incoming Chairman Says Confronting China’s Aggression a Top Priority

‘The China of 30 years ago is very different than the China today, even five years ago; they’ve become more aggressive at home, abroad, militarily.’
House Committee’s Incoming Chairman Says Confronting China’s Aggression a Top Priority
U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) speaks during hearings on then-President Donald Trump's first budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 28, 2017. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Frank Fang
Steve Lance

Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), the incoming chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), said confronting China’s aggression will be among his priorities upon assuming the post.

“It’s important that we take a fresh look at the relationship with China; we need to reset that relationship. The China of 30 years ago is very different than the China today, even five years ago; they’ve become more aggressive at home, abroad, militarily, and it’s important that we reset that relationship,” Mr. Moolenaar told The Epoch Times’ sister media outlet NTD on April 11.

Mr. Moolenaar is expected to take up the leadership role on April 19, following the early retirement of the panel’s current chairman, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.). House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) announced the appointment late last month, who said the Michigan lawmaker would be an “exceptional chairman,” given his experience in the private and public sectors.
In response to Mr. Moolenaar’s appointment, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), the top Democrat on the panel, said he and Mr. Gallagher “have achieved a great deal already in addressing the strategic competition with the CCP,” in a post on X, formerly Twitter, last month. He added that he looked forward to “continuing this important work with the new Chairman.”

“It’s also important that we deter aggression towards Taiwan, as well as around the world,” Mr. Moolenaar said. “We want to continue to build strong alliances, strong partnerships throughout the region, throughout the world, freedom-loving countries, countries that respect the rule of law.

“It’s important that we compete and win this competition economically, militarily, and protect freedom around the world,” he added.

Mr. Moolenaar currently serves on the powerful Appropriations Committee. He has also criticized plans by Gotion, an American subsidiary of a Chinese company, to construct an electric vehicle battery plant in Mecosta County, Michigan.


In February, Mr. Moolenaar visited Taiwan and met President Tsai Ing-wen as part of a visiting U.S. delegation led by Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Krishnamoorthi. In a statement about the trip, the Michigan lawmaker called Taiwan “a tremendous ally” and “a strong economic partner” to the United States.

“I think it’s important that we continue to arm Taiwan so it can defend itself. I think that is the best deterrence for conflict, we’ve seen China become more aggressive in the region,” Mr. Moolenaar told NTD.

“And to me, it’s important that we have peace through strength, and that the world knows that Taiwan is capable of defending itself and that the United States does our part to ensure that,” he added.

The CCP does not recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty and wants to bring the island under its communist rule even though the island is a full-fledged democracy with its own military and a democratically-elected government.

In recent years, the Chinese regime has been routinely sending military aircraft and vessels to areas near Taiwan, a coercion campaign intended to influence the island’s public opinion. On April 12, Taiwan’s defense ministry reported that it had detected 14 Chinese military planes and eight vessels around Taiwan in the past 24 hours.
Mr. Moolenaar has co-sponsored the Taiwan Cybersecurity Act of 2023, a bipartisan bill introduced in April 2023. If enacted, it would require the Pentagon to expand cybersecurity cooperation with Taiwan, which is a target of China’s cyber attacks and disinformation campaign.

Human Rights

Mr. Moolenaar said that the CCP’s human rights abuses will be one of his priorities after becoming chairman.

“We’ve heard from victims, from people who have suffered under the CCP’s oppression. We will continue to expose and highlight those situations and make sure that American companies are not willfully or unwillingly participating in this,” he told NTD.

“We have legislation in place that gives us some tools to enforce that, but it needs to be continually exposed where it exists and highlighted so that the world can understand what’s happening there,” he added.

In November last year, Mr. Moolenaar joined other Republicans on the House Committee in sending a letter to President Joe Biden ahead of his meeting with CCP leader Xi Jinping during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco. The letter asked China to release several political prisoners, including Gulshan Abbas, Ekpar Asat, and Jimmy Lai.
Mr. Moolenaar is also one of the original co-sponsors of the House-passed Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act (H.R.7521), a bill that aims to force Chinese parent company ByteDance to divest from TikTok.
Following the House vote, Mr. Moolenaar issued a statement calling on the Senate to “pass it immediately.”

“TikTok is owned by the Chinese Communist Party and we cannot allow the CCP to indoctrinate our children,” he said, adding, “I also encourage Americans using TikTok to strongly consider the personal risks of having their data owned by the Chinese Communist Party and hope they will stop using the app as this bipartisan legislation moves forward.”

On June 4 last year, Mr. Moolenaar took to his Facebook account to remind people of the atrocities committed by the CCP.

“On this day in 1989, the Chinese Communist Party killed thousands of Chinese citizens in the Tiananmen Square Massacre. The next day, as tanks approached the Square, one man courageously stood in their path,” he wrote.

“In the 34 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre, the CCP has continued to commit human rights abuses against its citizens. We must remain vigilant against the threats of the CCP.”

Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers U.S., China, and Taiwan news. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.
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