China’s communist regime presents a unique threat to the American homeland and is actively working to undermine U.S. security and damage U.S. economic standing, according to a senior homeland security official.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a single-party state, seeks to leverage the whole of the Chinese nation against the United States, said Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Iranga Kahangama.
“Beijing presents an especially grave threat to the homeland,” Kahangama said during a May 23 hearing of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence.
“We must match our adversaries’ determination through a whole-of-government response, with DHS playing a leading role on the front lines of that defense every day.”
To that end, Kahangama said that the CCP regime “operates globally” and is “using all instruments of national power to target the United States” in its quest for global hegemony.
The United States, in response, must mobilize a whole-of-nation defense against such aggression, he said. The methods employed by the regime to undermine U.S. influence are just too varied to warrant any other response.
“[China] continues to employ both overt and clandestine methods to undercut U.S. national security and economic security interests, such as stealing advanced and sensitive technologies using traditional and non-traditional collectors, amplifying narratives that sow doubt in U.S. institutions, and messaging against U.S. politicians it deems hostile,” Kahangama said.
CCP Is ‘Trying to Undermine’ US
Subcommittee Chair August Pfluger (R-Texas) painted the growing competition between the CCP and the United States as one between democratic norms and values and rampant authoritarianism.
The CCP’s overarching goal, he said, was not merely to do better economically than the United States, but to destroy the very foundations of the republic as a whole, and to dismantle the international system built upon those foundations.
“This conflict is not with the individual citizens of [China],” Pfluger said.
“This conflict is with the CCP, an authoritarian regime that commits genocide against its own people, censors free speech across the globe, and aims to end democracy as we know it,” he said.
To that end, Pfluger provided the example of the recently closed Manhattan-based CCP police station, which operated as an extension of the regime’s ministry of public security, and said that the CCP sought to infiltrate and influence state and local governments to compel the United States into adopting policies that favored China from the ground up.
Subcommittee Ranking Member Seth Magaziner (D-R.I.) concurred, saying that the CCP was systematically destroying the United States’ economic advantage through illicit means.
“Each year, the CCP’s economic espionage against American business costs between $225–600 billion,” Magaziner said.
“It is indisputable … that the CCP is actively trying to undermine the economy and security of the United States,” Magaziner said. “More alarming, the intellectual property stolen by the CCP [does] not just include commercial products, designs, and trademarks for cheap knockoff and counterfeit products. It include[s] blueprints for fighter jets, helicopters, missiles, pharmaceuticals, and large-scale technologies.”
China Is the ‘Greatest Long-Term Threat’
FBI Deputy Assistant Director Jill Murphy testified that such illicit activities were part of a broader push by authoritarian powers including China, Russia, and Iran, which were cooperating with one another to erode the liberal system of governance espoused by democratic nations.
“We see nations such as China, Russia, and Iran becoming more aggressive and more capable in their nefarious activity than ever before,” Murphy said.
“These nations seek to undermine our core democratic values [and] our economic and scientific institutions. They employ a growing range of tactics to advance their interests and to harm the United States,” she said.
To that end, Murphy said, the CCP remains the foremost threat to the United States, and its leeching of American intellectual property and other espionage activities are an integral part of its strategy to displace the United States.
“The greatest long-term threat to our nation’s ideas, innovation, and economic security is the foreign intelligence and economic espionage threat from China,” Murphy said. “It’s a threat to our economic security—and by extension—to our national security.”
“The threat from China is complex and vast.”
Murphy said the regime’s goal of undermining and, ultimately, displacing the United States and the rules-based international order that it leads, requires the regime to attempt to subvert and turn U.S. corporate interests against the United States.
“The [CCP] aspires to equal or surpass the United States as a global superpower and influence the world with a value system shaped by undemocratic, authoritarian ideals,” she said.
“To pursue this goal, China uses not only human intelligence officers, co-optees, and corrupt corporate insiders, but also sophisticated cyber intrusions, pressure on U.S. companies in China, shell-game corporate transactions, and joint-venture ‘partnerships’ that are anything but a true partnership,” she said.
Pfluger questioned the FBI’s willingness to actually confront such challenges, however, noting that the bureau has not returned multiple Congressional letters regarding such issues nor answered fundamental questions as to its intelligence on the CCP.
“We have multiple letters that we have sent to you that have gone unresponded to,” Pfluger said.