In a speech at the Hudson Institute, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton warned that China was building a new evil empire that could one day become a global world order. He had earlier spoken for strict actions against Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE because of their connections with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“China has a plan for the world, and it’s as concrete as the prison cells where it keeps dissenters… Make no mistake: The brutal police tactics in Xinjiang are not just an assault on that province’s native people, although they’re surely that. They’re also an assault on the American-led world order and a disturbing premonition of an alternative world order — one controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and one that ends in Room 101,” he said in a statement (Newsmax). “Room 101” is a reference to the torture chamber run by the authoritarian government in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984.
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Cotton went on to say that the Chinese regime always feared its Western hinterlands, Xinjiang, and Tibet, and is trying to use these provinces as a buffer against rivals. The CCP has always tried to display military strength in the region as a kind of warning to its Eurasian neighbors. To project the idea of “One China,” the government enacted programs aimed at forcing the communities in the region, like the Uyghurs and Tibetans, to give up their regional identities and blend in with the overall Chinese identity as defined by the CCP.
He warned that China’s repression in these regions is what bolsters its confidence to be aggressive against America and its allies. The Senator’s speech was followed by a panel discussion that focused on the technological threats posed by China. The high-tech surveillance implemented by the CCP to monitor Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang was seen as a grim signal of what might happen if the Chinese regime were to expand its influence across the world.
“It should give us pause about the way that country would use data in the future… It would be naive to think… [China] would treat our citizens better than it treats its own citizens,” Rob Strayer, a deputy assistant secretary of state and cybersecurity expert, said in a statement (Washington Examiner).
Penalizing Huawei and ZTE
Cotton has been dedicated to using his position to curb Chinese influence in the U.S. Just last month, the senator and a few other lawmakers introduced a new set of bills that required the Trump administration to ban the export of U.S. components to Chinese telecommunication companies that act against America’s export control laws and sanctions.
“Huawei is effectively an intelligence-gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party whose founder and CEO was an engineer for the People’s Liberation Army… If Chinese telecom companies like Huawei violate our sanctions or export control laws, they should receive nothing less than the death penalty — which this denial order would provide,” he said in a statement (South China Morning Post).
By law, all Chinese companies are obligated to share any information requested by the CCP. Denial to comply with such a request would invite harsh punishment by the government.