By Rachel Avraham
On December 3, 2020, in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, John Ratcliffe, former U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI), declared that China is the number one national security threat for the United States, the greatest threat since World War II. According to Ratcliffe, China domestically blocked travel from the Wuhan province to other regions of China when the pandemic broke out, but callously permitted travel from Wuhan to other areas of the world to continue uninhibited for far too long, and now they are trying to steal American research on the COVID-19 vaccine, so that they can add “insult to injury”, since the pandemic originated in China.
Recently, it was reported that China was one of the few countries to grow economically in 2020 during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. According to Bloomberg News, the Chinese economy expanded by 2.3% last year, while the US economy compacted by 3.5% that same year. More than 500,000 Americans have died in the COVID-19 pandemic, a staggering number that matches the number of Americans killed during World War II, the Vietnam, and the Korean Wars combined. The US has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the world, representing 20% of all COVID-19 deaths worldwide. In contrast, only 4,833 Chinese have been officially reported as having died in the current pandemic, although these numbers are considered suspect by many analysts.
Citizens For National Security recently hosted a webinar on Chinese espionage, where Nicholas Eftimiades, retired professor in the Homeland Security Program at Penn State University, noted that there are currently more than 600 Chinese espionage cases pending in the United States: “They hacked into state governments ahead of the 2020 elections. The Belt and Road Initiative is used to gather intelligence and target dissidents,” he said.
According to various reports, China has utilized the Belt and Road Initiative to spy on Belarus, the Maldives, Cambodia, various European foreign ministries, and numerous NGOs. Under China’s National Intelligence Law, Chinese citizens and organizations are obligated to cooperate with the state in gathering intelligence, a reality that has led to many Chinese students, scholars, and businessmen utilizing their positions in America to either spy on America or steal America’s intellectual property.
“As for China’s theft of intellectual property and technology, trillions of dollars have been lost because of them in the US,” Eftimiades added. “This led to the collapse of our steel industry, our solar panel industry, and our generic pharmaceutical industry. It is a massive economic loss. China is flooding the world with its fake products. It is estimated that 80 percent of fake products worldwide originated in China. Almost $600 trillion dollars have been lost, as have millions of American jobs.” According to Eftimiades, this poses a strategic threat to the United States: “Militarily, China has threatened to nuke the US. They have taken over the South China Sea. China is like a cancer. It takes over slowly, but it takes over in the end.”
In his new book The Multifront War, Ken Abramowitz noted: “Beijing’s scheme to control everything is advancing by leaps and bounds precisely because China excels in stealing Western technological and intellectual property. The Chinese are also adept at cyber warfare. Notably, the civilian and military needs of the country are integrated through its civil-military fusion doctrine. China excels at intimidating those in its geographic sphere, such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam.
“Not bound by geography, China exerts educational pressure on distant countries through hundreds of its Confucius Institutes,” he added. “Many of these ostensible language and cultural centers now exist at major US schools and universities, where they connect with Chinese students, prepare the general student body for Chinese interaction and intimidate the local entertainment and media industries. As of 2019, there were more than 500 Confucius Institutes in countries on six continents. The Chinese Ministry of Education aims to double the number every few years.”
Fortunately, federal legislation has barred China from operating at American universities that receive American government funding. As a result, many American universities have shuttered their Confucius Institutes.
Eftimiades called upon the United States to bar any Chinese organization or government enterprise that engages in the theft of US intellectual property from operating on the US Stock Exchange, to further counter Chinese aggression globally.
China poses a grave threat to America’s interests, as demonstrated by the recent tensions between the two countries along the South China Sea. Furthermore, China is forecast to become the global economic superpower by 2035, a reality that will be tragic, given that China is a communist dictatorship that brutally represses all dissent and is currently implementing a genocide against its Uighur minority. On January 19, 2021, the United States was the first country to declare China’s human rights abuses a genocide, and was swiftly followed by Canada.
Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working for the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, which is run by Mendi Safadi, a former Likud Candidate for the Knesset and a former chief of staff of former Israeli Communication Minister Ayoob Kara. Since 2012, she has been working as an Israel-based journalist and writer, covering Iran, Kurdistan, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other developments in the greater Islamic world.
Her articles have appeared in the Washington Times, the Hill, Front Page Magazine, the Daily Wire, the Christian Post, the Baltimore Jewish Times, the Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom, Ahval and many other publications across the globe. She received her MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She got her BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.