Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) told Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria” on Wednesday that the United States needs to fight back harder against the Chinese Communist Party’s intellectual property theft, and their attempts to influence things in the United States, by criminalizing taking money from China.
“The Chinese Communist Party continues its campaign of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer,” Cotton said. “It is past time for us to insist this stop. The Trump administration and the president have been doing that in various ways. I’ve got legislation that would take more steps, as well. So, for instance, criminalizing the payment of money to American professors and academics who are on the payroll of the Chinese Communist Party or their state-owned enterprises.”
“Right now, you can only prosecute those cases for things like wire fraud or lying on federal documents,” Cotton continued. “It’s the act of accepting the Chinese money itself that should be criminalized. There are other steps we can take, as well, to stand up for American companies that shouldn’t have to transfer their intellectual property to Chinese partners simply as a condition of doing business with Chinese consumers.”
Cotton’s remarks come after he called for changing the law last week in response to news that a former University of Arkansas professor with ties to China was indicted on fraud charges.
“Federal law enforcement deserves great credit for putting together a strong case against alleged Chinese agent Simon Saw-Teong Ang,” Cotton said. “But Chinese spies aren’t ordinary fraudsters – they’re working for a foreign adversary. We ought to change the law so foreign agents in the future are held accountable not only for wire fraud, but for taking money from the Chinese Communist Party in the first place, the real crime in these cases.”
Cotton also proposed an amendment this week to block Chinese companies from receiving any coronavirus loan money.
The amendment comes after The New York Times reported this week:
According to a review of publicly available loan data by the strategy consulting firm Horizon Advisory, $192 million to $419 million has gone to more than 125 companies that Chinese entities own or invest in. Many of the loans were quite sizable; at least 32 Chinese companies received loans worth more than $1 million, with those totaling as much as $180 million.
The report acknowledges that the participation of these companies in the lending program most likely saved an unspecified number of jobs based in the United States, but it also suggests that many of the businesses probably had access to other forms of capital from public or private markets to support their American operations. The Treasury Department has estimated that the overall program has kept 50 million workers employed in the United States.
Cotton’s office released a statement saying that the senator “introduced an amendment to the HEALS Act that would prohibit any funds in the HEALS Act-or residual CARES Act funds-from supporting any entity that is under Chinese ownership, control, or influence.”
“The legislation also mandates that the Secretary of the Treasury claw back CARES Act funds provided to Chinese firms,” the statement added. “The amendment comes in response to reports that Chinese-owned companies received PPP funding from the CARES Act passed earlier this year.”
“China unleashed this plague on the world and they must be held accountable-not given a cash bonus by the American government,” Cotton said. “My amendment would ensure all coronavirus relief funds stay right here in the United States where they’re needed the most.”
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