While pledging a tough line on China, President Joe Biden‘s nominee for secretary of commerce would not promise to keep the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei on the United States’ economic blacklist.
“We can’t have the Chinese or really anyone having a backdoor into our network and compromising in any way our national or economic security,” Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said at her Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday.
When talking about Huawei, Raimondo said she would “use the full tool kit at my disposal […] to protect Americans and our network from Chinese interference or any kind of backdoor influence into our network.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) brought up that Huawei was one of many Chinese companies that had been placed on the Bureau of Industry and Security’s entities list under the Trump administration for their role in the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) mass surveillance and repression of Uighur Muslims. On his last day in the department, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo labeled the actions of the Chinese government as “genocide,” a view which Biden and his newly appointed Secretary of State Antony Blinken share.
When asked by Cruz if she would promise to maintain those companies on the blacklist, Raimondo said that “I will commit to working with you on that, and I certainly agree with you that the entities list is a powerful tool in the commerce secretary’s tool kit to shore up American national security.”
She was then asked about Huawei, to which Raimondo said that “I will review the policy, consult with you, consult with industry, consult with our allies, and make an assessment as to what’s best for American national and economic security.”
Cruz didn’t seem to like Raimondo’s answer, replying: “Well, I will say that there is chatter in Washington that the Biden administration is contemplating going easy on China and removing companies from the entities list—I certainly hope that does not happen, because I think that would be profoundly contrary to the national security interest of the United States.”
Later, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R) published a statement blasting this, saying: “This is ridiculous: Huawei didn’t change because America has a new President. Huawei is still the Chinese Communist Party’s tech puppet and a serious threat to national security.”
While White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday underscored “strategic patience” in the Biden administration’s interagency review process and its outreach to Republicans, Democrats, and global allies about its China strategy, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe felt that patience wasn’t the answer. On Monday, Ratcliffe told Fox News that the U.S. stance toward China needed action, not patience, according to The Washington Examiner. During her hearing, Raimondo said multiple times that the Biden administration was engaged in a broad review on how to tackle China.
While no vote was taken immediately on Raimondo’s nomination, Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) predicted she would soon win confirmation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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China Says It’s Ready for Monkeypox and the West Isn’t
As the Western press is becoming more and more concerned with monkeypox outbreaks, a recent bombshell report shows that Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China manipulated monkeypox to be more contagious in humans. This follows more evidence that the WIV had been experimenting with bat coronaviruses to increasingly infect humans.
But rather than agree to an honest investigation into the WIV and its role in spreading contagion around the world, China is once again trying to sell us an alternative reality. According to Chinese state-run media, it is China that is once again poised to be humanity’s savior and darling when it comes to fighting monkeypox, much like COVID-19. Not only that, but CCP press reporting shows evidence of China having an eerily well advanced infrastructure and gameplan to fight monkeypox. The West in contrast is not prepared, according to China.
Claim #1: China has the Wisdom to Fight Monkeypox
First, Chinese state-run media portray China as in a good position to combat monkeypox due to wisdom gleaned from combating COVID-19 and smallpox. One Global Times article noted that “[i]n the very early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has taken the measures of ‘early identification, reporting, isolation, diagnosis and treatment.’ Under such guidance, China has become one of the most successful countries in the COVID fight.” Another Global Times article cites a World Health Organization official as stating that “China’s COVID-19 control measures in place and largely reduced international arrivals minimize the risks of contagion in China.” A third Global Times article, citing “experts,” claims that “China’s successful experience in eliminating smallpox would also help the country act if monkeypox enters China’s borders…”
Claim #2: Chinese Healthcare Infrastructure Is Well Prepared to Deal with Monkeypox
China is well ahead of the game in dealing with monkeypox, according to Chinese state-run media. Chinese experts “suggest preparation of testing and treatment capacities in advance” to proactively combat monkeypox, according to Global Times. And “drug research should start early so that China can still control [monkeypox] should it assume pandemic proportions,” according to China Daily.
China is apparently quite far along in this “preparation” and “research.”
There are “several” Chinese manufacturers that have already made monkeypox nucleic acid test kits, and that these “can be quickly put into mass production and on the domestic market once approved by the government,” according to a second Global Times article. This article also states that Chinese manufacturer Liferiver Bio-Tech has a nucleic acid test that has already been ordered in China and abroad.
This same article also states that vaccine development faces “no technological problems” and a vaccine can be produced in China in a year if China’s drug administration administers “a rapid special review.” China’s CDC also has already stockpiled “millions” of doses of smallpox vaccine, produced “an emergency response technical plan on monkeypox, stocked monkeypox detection reagents, and conducted training on monkeypox nucleic acid PCR testing for provincial and municipal CDC professionals.”
Mirroring its earlier “mask diplomacy” for COVID-19, it looks like China is beginning to export its healthcare to the world to help combat monkeypox. China’s Sansure Biotech is ready to register its nucleic acid test kit for monkeypox abroad, according to Global Times. And Jiangsu Bioperfectus Technologies has already has its Monkeypox Virus Real Time PCR Kits in the international market, according to Global Times.
Claim #3: The West is Ill-Equipped to Handle Monkeypox
On the other hand, Chinese media portrays the West as ill-equipped to handle monkeypox. For example, according to one Global Times editorial, “[t]he COVID pandemic that killed more than 1 million people in the US has given a tragic lesson to the US and the West, but it still remains to be seen to what extent the US and the West learned from it.” The West’s “conspiracy theories” and “panic” contributed to the “Western countries’ poor response to COVID-19.” That CCP editorial also pontificates that “[i]t is hoped that Western countries hit by monkeypox can do a good job in responding to the outbreak. They should not misjudge the virus with outdated perceptions…”
Claim #4: Current Monkeypox spread originated from outside China
Chinese media avoids the possibility that this current monkeypox outbreak could have originated in China. One Global Times article claims that there have been no cases of monkeypox reported in China, and that China faces a threat from monkeypox due to the cases being “outside known epidemic areas of Africa.” The fact that many countries have now lifted bans against international travel is the culprit for increased risk of monkeypox transmission, according to anonymous source within the Chinese CDC as mentioned in that same article. Another Global Times article stated that China could quarantine inbound international travellers “if necessary.”
The CCP propaganda machine is at it again. Much like it tries to portray itself as a leader in fighting COVID-19, China is beginning to run a similar propaganda campaign for monkeypox. China is using COVID-19, and increasingly now monkeypox, as vehicles to curry favor and deflect responsibility for spreading contagion around the world, and to grow markets for healthcare technology and supplies.
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