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CHINA: Republicans demand answers from State Department on diplomats detained by CCP

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House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY-1) and House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken requesting information on American diplomats being detained by China in COVID-19 quarantine camps.

According to the letter, citing “U.S. Embassy officials in Beijing,” China has held 16 U.S. diplomats and their relatives in COVID-19 quarantine camps against their will, and they have been “subjected to strict confinement measures with no definitive release date.”

The letter expresses concerns that these diplomats are at risk of divulging intelligence and classified information while being in these camps. The letter cites a Washington Post article from July and whistleblowers as stating that the Chinese government has “engaged in a sustained campaign to deprive U.S. diplomats of their liberties under the guise of COVID-19 containment.”

Examples that the letter gives, citing “documents on file with committee” [which is presumably either the Committee on Oversight and Reform, or the Committee on Foreign Affairs] include China “improperly” testing US diplomats for medical conditions beyond COVID-19, isolating diplomatic families in “fever clinics” for prolonged periods of time, and attempting to separate diplomats’ children from their parents.

In January, US diplomats had petitioned the State Department to allow them to leave China over China’s treatment of them during the pandemic. At that time, two anonymous sources spoke to Reuters claiming that some in the embassy believed that “the U.S. government has been unwilling or unable to exempt American officials from strict quarantine measures.” According to Reuters, at one point as much as a quarter of US embassy staff and their family in China wanted to be evacuated.

The letter also claimed that China has killed over 30 American intelligence assets in China during the Obama administration.

Chinese officials claim the allegations surrounding the quarantining of US diplomats and their families are false. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning called the allegations “absurd and groundless,” and praised China’s COVID-19 quarantine policies as “open and transparent,” stating that China “adopts a science-based and effective epidemic prevention protocol for both Chinese and foreigners coming to China without discrimination.” Mao also accused the Congressmen who authored the letter of “China phobia.”

China similarly denied the allegations after the Washington Post story broke in July. At the time, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stated that China had been following the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and that “[f]oreign diplomatic and consular personnel in China are obliged to respect and comply with the Chinese regulations on pandemic prevention[…].”

Conclusion

China’s detention of American diplomats under the cover of quarantine demonstrates that the Chinese Communist Party can act against American interests with impunity. Coupled with the recent story that China maintains a covert police station in New York City, China continues to erode American power both in the US and abroad. The State Department should act swiftly to protect American diplomats and their families in China.

 

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic 

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China

New documents show China trying to establish ‘satellite state’ in Caribbean

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China has been “exploiting a fragile security environment and taking advantage of the region’s need for economic investment to gain influence and advance its malign agenda” in a move that challenges U.S. hegemony in the Americas, U.S. Southern Command Comm. General Laura Richardson recently told Congress in written testimony.

The Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, located about 220 miles from the U.S. Virgin Islands, is where China is planning to establish a special Chinese-run economic zone, according to documents reviewed by Newsweek

Just The News  reports that per the documents, the area will have its own customs and immigration facilities, a shipping port and it will even issue passports. China will also establish different kinds of businesses that will specialize in things from facial surgery to virology, the latter of which is closely associated with the research in Wuhan that is the suspected source of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for SOUTHCOM said that the U.S. military is “aware that China may use its commercial and diplomatic presence for military purposes. In Asia, Africa and the Middle East, China has already abused commercial agreements at host-country ports for military aims; our concern is they may do the same in this region.”

More than two-thirds of the 31 nations under SOUTHCOM’s responsibility have signed onto China’s belt-and-road initiative, which is Beijing’s program to lend money to developing nations to use for infrastructure projects, according to Just The News.

Several nations have had problems with repaying such loans, resulting in Beijing seizing the country’s assets. For example, Sri Lanka struggled to pay back Beijing in 2017 and instead signed off the rights to a strategic port, according to Foreign Policy.

Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., a member of the House Oversight Committee proving China’s incursion inside the U.S. sphere of influence, told Just the News on Monday night that Beijing’s aggression in the Caribbean reminded him of the Soviet’s intervention in Fidel Castro’s Cuba more than a half century earlier.

“It reminds me of Russia’s involvement in Cuba, just 220 miles off the shore of the US Virgin Islands. We have Antigua. It used to be considered the United States back yard. Unfortunately, today, it’s China’s front yard,” Burlison told the “Just the News, No Noise television show. “And China has used the united front to enter into loan agreements and contracts to create trade zones within Antigua in order to gain a foothold into the Caribbean.”

“And this is just part of their efforts around the globe, whether it’s in African countries or Laos. They’re they’re creating a network to try to undermine the U.S. dollar and try to end run around some of our tariffs and other programs,” he warned.

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