As published in The Hill.
Here’s an incontrovertible fact: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is an aggressive criminal organization, and while it’s taken far too long, Americans are finally waking up to the threat posed by the CCP to the health, security and prosperity of the United States.
This year, the Communist state allowed a local outbreak of coronavirus to develop into a global pandemic, all for its attempt at self-preservation. Communist Party leaders silenced Chinese doctors, destroyed testing samples, and withheld critical medical information from the international community as we estimate untold thousands of their own citizens perished from the virus.
Sadly, this deception and obfuscation caused the deaths of over 1 million people globally.
Americans also witnessed this year the arrest of two Chinese military agents at the Houston Consulate for attempted theft of coronavirus vaccine research; the arrest of a NYPD officer accused of spying for the CCP; the State Department confirming that Chinse consulates in more than two dozen U.S. cities are helping Communist Party soldiers posing as students spy on our college campuses; and the FBI report more than 1,000 open cases of Chinese technology theft.
As Americans and the global community continue to awake to the transgressions and ill intent of the CCP, our approach to combating their malign activity must change. That’s why I recently offered legislation in Congress to provide our federal law enforcement agencies a clear strategic directive to take on the CCP for its illegal behavior.
The CCP and its leader, General Secretary Xi Jinping, have decidedly demonstrated the Communist Party’s win-at-all-cost nature and the willingness to employ the full resources of the country — with indifference to basic standards of morality and decency — in service to an Orwellian national strategy.
That national strategy, commonly referred to as Military-Civil Fusion (MCF), is the CCP’s plan to ensure it has the most advanced military of any country in the world by 2049. Moreover, it requires the systematic theft of American intellectual property and technological advances.
Last year, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper warned that China is perpetrating “the greatest intellectual property theft in human history.” Chinese hackers were behind the theft of F-22 and F-35 fighter jet designs and the hacking breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). What’s more, experts estimate that total CCP intellectual property theft costs the American economy up to $600 billion a year.
Thankfully, the United States has a bevy of tools that can be tailored to frustrate or permanently disrupt Xi’s plan.
My legislation, H.R. 8491, will designate the CCP as a transnational organized crime group and a member of the Top International Criminal Organization Target (TICOT) list. This critical labeling is an intragovernmental effort to identify and eliminate the international criminal organizations that pose the gravest threat to U.S. national interests.
Let me be clear: The actions of the CCP dictate that it be on the TICOT list.
H.R. 8491 will also encourage the attorney general to charge the CCP and its agents with crimes under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The RICO Act, known for taking down mob bosses and infamous crime families, must now be used to hold the thugocracy that is the CCP accountable.
Committing actions enumerated in the RICO Act — including international theft, counterfeiting, criminal copyright infringement, and trafficking, among others — can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
General Secretary Xi and his comrades are on a mission to destroy the United States and the freedoms we enjoy, all for the benefit of the Communist Party. Americans cannot afford inaction or to underestimate the threat of the CCP to our national security. Americans must start taking the offensive against the CCP and hold its members responsible for their criminal behavior against citizens of the United States, lest a timid response leave our national security in an untenable and unrecoverable position.