By: John Curtis and Chris Stewart

https://www.deseret.com/opinion/2020/9/30/21495691/guest-opinion-china-task-force-communist-party-chris-stewart-john-curtis-ccp

The astonishing depth and breadth of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) aggression laid out this week by the House China Task Force is unparalleled anywhere in the world. Serving on that task force, we have both been astounded not only by the audacity of China’s plans, but by the extent of the collateral damage inflicted around the world. It is time to sound the alarm.

In doing so, we want to be clear. Our issue is not with the people of China. It is the Chinese Communist Party that poses this grave threat, and not just to the United States, but to China’s neighbors, its own minority communities and our allies around the globe. The tactics and ambitions of this regime demand a forceful and decisive response.

While many Utahns are aware of threats of health contagions and technology theft, CCP activities are much more malicious than that and include forced labor, reeducation camps that vary little from concentration camps, the social intimidation and isolation of their own people who dare breathe any criticism of their leaders and spying on a scale not seen since the height of the Cold War. The list of atrocities in which the CCP is complicit is extensive. No amount of economic opportunity is worth the price of enabling this evil regime.

All Utahns have been directly affected as we suffered the devastating health and economic impact of a virus allowed to spread from China due to CCP leadership’s malicious incompetence. Early in the virus progression, China withheld critical information from global researchers. More disturbing, they closed Wuhan to domestic travel while simultaneously encouraging international travel from the region, dramatically amplifying the impact of the pandemic worldwide.

We need to ask ourselves why would they do that? Why would they seek to protect their own people while facilitating the spread of the virus around the world? Because of their actions, millions of people have been infected while thousands of Utah families have suffered heavy economic loss.

As destructive as these actions have been, they pale in comparison to the impacts we may experience if the CCP is allowed to proceed unimpeded with its global strategic plans.

China’s monopoly on rare earth minerals and specialized metals leaves Americans vulnerable to shortages of crucial prescription medications, semiconductors, renewable energy and electric vehicle infrastructure and even weapons systems. Fully 97% of the antibiotics upon which we rely are sourced from China.

As a member of the House Foreign Affair Committee, Congressman Curtis has done a deep dive on the foreign policy implications of China’s transparent objectives. But in truth, one need not dig very deep to discover the genocide taking place in Xinjiang, the widespread environmental destruction of the world’s largest carbon emitter or the immediate threat to democratic allies in the region like Hong Kong and Taiwan. China has been quite open about its objectives.

Evidence continues to surface of horrific forced organ harvesting from persecuted minority religious communities reminiscent of the worst human rights abuses of the 20th century. Evidence of forced sterilizations and mass expansion of Soviet-style labor camps among Muslim and Tibetan minorities is piling up.

Included among the extensive recommendations put forth in the committee report this week is the implementation of important legislation put forward by Rep. Curtis to protect those threatened and persecuted by the CCP, including the full implementation of the TAIPEI Act, the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act and the Foreign Advanced Technology Surveillance Act.

As a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Congressman Stewart has sought to address the CCP’s goal of military supremacy. As China builds up its navy, seeks dominance of global shipping lanes, builds up a nuclear arsenal, and acquires ports and airfields abroad, the threat to our security and the possibility of devastating supply chain interruptions becomes a military challenge as well as an economic one.

China continues to invest heavily in developing technologies that pose a serious threat to theoperational capabilities of our early warning, navigation and communication systems. Quantum computing, in particular, is a high-stakes, winner-take-all proposition. In addition, China is pursuing hypersonics, robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to press its operational advantages against the United States.

Though many of the details of these challenges are classified, the conclusion is clear. We cannot wait to address these threats. The time to act is now. We cannot afford to make this another partisan issue that divides us, especially since China is counting on us to do so. In fact, we found they’ve invested in domestic influence campaigns and election interference efforts to ensure we are divided and politically paralyzed.

The task force report contains numerous recommendations that can be implemented immediately. Regardless of how the November elections turn out, we hope our Democratic colleagues will lock arms with us against a threat far greater than the partisan differences that have separated us.

Utah Rep. Chris Stewart and Rep. John Curtis are members of the 15-person China Task Force, made up of GOP members of the United States House of Representatives.

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