China is America’s greatest threat, says GOP task force with Utahns Chris Stewart and John Curtis

(Kin Cheung | AP file photo) A man carries his son across a road while riot police push back protesters on the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China from Britain in Hong Kong on July. 1, 2020. Hong Kong marked the 23rd anniversary of its handover to China in 1997, and just one day after China enacted a national security law that cracks down on protests in the territory.

A House Republican task force — which includes Utah Reps. Chris Stewart and John Curtis — on Wednesday called China the greatest long-term threat to America and issued a report with hundreds of recommendations on how to combat it.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy also contended that its finding help show that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden doesn’t see China’s threat and “why switching the administration would be wrong,” and perhaps “why China wants to influence this election.”

At a news conference to release the report, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chair of the task force, said, “The Chinese Communist Party is the greatest long-term threat to the interests of the United States of America.”

He added that America and its allies largely ignored that until he said cover-ups by the Chinese allowed a regional outbreak of COVD-19 to turn into a global pandemic as China bought up international medical protective gear and controlled supply chains for it.

“COVID created an awakening experience for the American people, and the sleeping giant has finally awoken,” McCaul said.

Stewart said at the news conference, “Who doesn’t agree that China is a threat to the future of our children? Who isn’t willing to say that? I don’t know anyone who isn’t — well, I think we’ve indicated there are some who are reluctant,” possibly referring to McCarthy’s earlier attack on Biden.

Besides COVID-19 cover-ups, the report said that in the past year China dismantled Hong Kong’s civil liberties; oppressed ethnic minorities including Uyghurs and Tibetans; increased its military buildup; and engaged in fatal skirmishes to grab land.

It said U.S. policy “often turned a blind eye” to China’s “human rights violations, economic malfeasance, expansionist aggression and empty promises….” It added, “This strategy has, simply put, failed.”

So, the report makes hundreds of recommendations on how to address challenges from China.

A few include better securing medical and national supply chains by giving tax incentives and grants to U.S. industries to provide essential supplies; increasing military spending by 3% to 5% a year to deter China; giving no U.S. subsidies to Chinese companies that operate here; and sanctioning Chinese telecommunications companies engaged in economic or industrial espionage.

Curtis issued a statement saying some bills he sponsored or pushed are prioritized by the report, including a bill that would seek a report on abuses against the Uyghurs, another that would facilitate bringing Hong Kong dissidents to the United States as refugees, and one to reassess Chinese influence on U.S.-Taiwan relations.

“The China Task Force was formed because it is clear that China is a growing threat to the United States,” Curtis said. “The recent takeover of Hong Kong, in clear violation of numerous international agreements and laws, is a power grab we have not seen in the world since the days of the Cold War. Congress’ response has been unified and forceful.”