Blue Dogs Push Bill To Crack Down On Chinese Efforts to ‘Exploit’ Pandemic

July 6, 2020 by Gaspard Le Dem

WASHINGTON – A group of moderate House Democrats wants the U.S. government to track down potential attempts by the Chinese government to use the coronavirus crisis to its advantage.

The Blue Dog Coalition, an alliance of 26 centrist lawmakers, introduced a bill on Thursday requiring U.S. intelligence to report any efforts by China to “exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to advance [its] national security and foreign policy interests.”

Under the new legislation, the Director of National Intelligence and Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security would have three months to submit a report to Congress on possible Chinese wrongdoing tied to the coronavirus.

The proposal, called the “Preventing China from Exploiting COVID-19 Act”, was introduced by Rep. Kendra Horn, D-Okla., co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Task Force on National Security.

“No one should seek to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic for political or economic advantage,” said Horn in a statement. “We must examine whether the Chinese Communist Party has used intellectual cyber-theft, misinformation campaigns, and aggressive territorial maneuvers, among other tactics to take advantage of the pandemic. We need to get to the bottom of where the Chinese government has exploited COVID-19 and undermined our fight against the global pandemic. Where they’ve crossed the line, they must be held accountable.”

Early in 2020, Chinese officials spent weeks downplaying the size of its coronavirus outbreak, which epidemiologists say originated in the city of Wuhan. During that time, the virus spread to the rest of the world and many countries wasted crucial time that could have been used to lessen the severity of their outbreaks.

China has since seemingly managed to contain two separate waves of the virus through aggressive testing and contact tracing methods. But some experts say the Chinese government is using the global panic set off by the pandemic to expand its political influence across the world.

In April, as powerful nations were dealing with COVID-19 spikes, China claimed sovereignty over two new territories in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

Additionally, China-sponsored hackers may be carrying out an extensive coronavirus phishing campaign, sending fake emails about the virus laced with malware designed to scam internet users, according to a report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“From the opioid epidemic, to trade, to our intellectual property, China has a long history of trying to rip off America,” said Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., who co-sponsored the bill. “Why should we think the coronavirus pandemic would be any different? It’s not a question of if, but how China is going to use this crisis to its advantage — and we need to be working to prevent that.”

In May, the Blue Dog Coalition sent a letter urging House Leaders to support a federal inquiry into the Chinese government’s actions during the pandemic as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

“We cannot let the Chinese government’s campaign of dishonesty and disinformation continue without consequence, especially when it is placing American lives in danger,” the letter said.

Foreign Affairs

‘Devil is in the Details’ of Corporate Tax Reform
Business
‘Devil is in the Details’ of Corporate Tax Reform
April 9, 2021
by Victoria Turner

Just as corporations and tax practitioners are beginning to adjust to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Biden administration’s proposed changes would introduce further complexities into an already complicated system, according to three U.S.-based tax attorneys. Biden’s proposal increases the standard corporate tax rate,... Read More

Biden Repeal of Trump ICC Sanctions Welcome, But Concerns Remain
Foreign Affairs
Biden Repeal of Trump ICC Sanctions Welcome, But Concerns Remain
April 6, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Human rights organizations around the world cheered President Joe Biden’s decision to cancel punitive sanctions against the International Criminal Court, but they also agree serious obstacles remain to achieving justice for some of the world’s worst crimes. The court was created in 2002 to... Read More

Biden Reverses Course on Sanctions Against ICC
Foreign Affairs
Biden Reverses Course on Sanctions Against ICC
April 6, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden announced Friday that he is reversing a Trump administration policy that sanctions the International Criminal Court in what he described as another sign of a return of U.S. foreign policy to more cooperation. Trump criticized the ICC for its policies against... Read More

Eritrean Forces Exit Tigray Over G7 Concerns About Human Rights Abuses
International
Eritrean Forces Exit Tigray Over G7 Concerns About Human Rights Abuses
April 6, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp

The G7 issued a statement expressing concern over human rights abuses in Tigray at the end of last week. Since then, Eritrean forces have begun to withdraw from Tigray, according to information from the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, as reported by Reuters. The G7 statement had called... Read More

Iran, World Powers Ready to Welcome Back US to Nuclear Deal
Geopolitics
Iran, World Powers Ready to Welcome Back US to Nuclear Deal

BRUSSELS (AP) — Iran and the major powers in the agreement to keep Tehran from developing nuclear weapons said Friday they were ready to welcome the return of the United States to the deal. The chair of the group including the European Union, China, France, Germany,... Read More

Blinken Pressures Azerbaijani Bar to Reinstate Human Rights Lawyer
Foreign Affairs
Blinken Pressures Azerbaijani Bar to Reinstate Human Rights Lawyer
March 29, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp

Speaking to a gathering in Chicago last year, Shahla Humbatova, a lawyer from Azerbaijan, joked that well-meaning human rights lawyers in her country greet each other by asking: "Have you been disbarred yet?" Earlier this month, Humbatova herself was disbarred on the eve of International Women’s... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top