While the media frequently obsesses over the redistribution of wealth, they have ignored the Chinese government’s theft of U.S. technology, which has created “the biggest illegal wealth transfer” in world history. That is one of a number of startling facts that came to light during a rare, public hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee last Wednesday.
“China is stealing between $300 and $600 billion a year of American technology and intellectual property,” said Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the committee’s vice chairman, who added:
They use venture capital funds to buy promising technology startups; they hide their ownership, by the way. They partner with universities on research and then they steal that research — often research whose seed funding came from the U.S. taxpayer. They force American companies doing business in China to give the technology over to them.
“They have weaponized our openness, they have weaponized our decency and they have weaponized a corporate lust for profits against us,” said Senator Rubio. “China is already carrying out the biggest illegal wealth transfer from one nation to another in the history of mankind.”
China’s illegal espionage of U.S. technology costs “approximately $4,000 to $6,000 per American family of four … after taxes,” according to Bill Evanina, the former director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, who testified at the hearing. Much of the stolen information has military applications, and — since money is fungible — China can use any financial benefit to fund the ever-expanding People’s Liberation Army. “Economic security is national security,” Evanina said.
Americans’ privacy and cybersecurity have also been victimized by the Chinese Communist Party’s increasing technological hegemony. “It is estimated that 80% of American adults have had all of their personal data stolen by the CCP, and the other 20% most of their personal data,” said Evanina.
The CCP “now compiles dossiers on millions of foreign citizens around the world, using the material that it gathers to influence, target, intimidate, reward, blackmail, flatter, humiliate, and ultimately divide and conquer,” testified Matthew Pottinger, a former Trump deputy national security adviser who is now a fellow with the Hoover Institute.
Companies tied to the Chinese government also collect Americans’ genetic data — even those of pregnant women and their unborn children. “A Chinese gene company selling prenatal tests around the world developed them in collaboration with the country’s military and is using them to collect genetic data from millions of women for sweeping research on the traits of populations,” reported Reuters in July. Aside from gathering genomic information from Chinese and Americans, Beijing is also focusing on making itself an indispensable source of wind turbines and renewable energy, and “becoming a chokepoint for vital pharmaceutical ingredients” and “generic medicines,” testified Anna Puglisi, a former counterintelligence officer, at the hearing.
The revelations were meant to be eye-opening. “The Intelligence Committee … doesn’t normally hold open hearings, but Vice Chairman Rubio and I believe this story needs to get out to the American public,” said Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA). But the U.S. media have largely foiled that aim.
CSPAN and PBS NewsHour carried live footage of the hearings. The proceedings were covered by The Hill, which reports on all major congressional hearings — but not by Roll Call, which has the same mandate, nor Politico. CNBC merely linked Fox News’ coverage.
Otherwise, media coverage was restricted to center-Right news outlets including Fox News, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Times, the New York Post, Newsmax, CBN News, The Daily Caller, The Epoch Times, and The Well News. Media reports proved so sparse that some of those outlets covered separate aspects of the hearings again this week.
Sanchez lampooned the notion that China poses any challenge to the West. “Clearly, in the eyes of the men and women of the U.S. Senate — most of whom are older than dirt and see the world through the prism of the Cold War — China needs to be defeated, because it’s a threat,” Sanchez said.
Rubio’s opening speech “sounds like we’re in the 1950s,” Sanchez added. “I felt like I was listening to Joe McCarthy. That speech is a speech about Russia, about Vietnam, about Korea.”
But experts at the hearing said tighter scrutiny is precisely what is needed to end the oppression of the world’s most populous nation, even as it helped liberate Soviet citizens. “By not holding the Chinese government accountable, we give credence to a system that deprives China’s educated elite from the dignity they aspire to and deserve,” said Anna Puglisi. “The Chinese people deserve better.”
The hearing came as Senator Rubio introduced a flurry of legislation aimed at paring back Communist China’s hold on vital American institutions. Senators Rubio and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) reintroduced the “Countering the Chinese Government and Communist Party’s Political Influence Operations” Act, which requires the Secretary of State to compile a report on Chinese disinformation and economic coercion against U.S. targets.
He and Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced the “Greater Insight into Foreign Transactions (GIFTs) in Higher Education” Act to tighten disclosure requirements of gifts from designated foreign adversaries, including the Chinese Communist Party, to American colleges and universities.
And Rubio and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the “Sanction and Stop Ransomware” Act last Thursday, responding to both Russia- and Chinese-based cyberattacks on vital U.S. infrastructure and sensitive information.
To the extent that the legacy media have covered Rubio’s campaign against totalitarian Chinese communism, they have followed the familiar “Republicans pounce” model. “Marco Rubio pouncing on anti-China sentiment in Senate race,” wrote the left-leaning news service Axios in June. (Axios subsequently changed the headline to “Rubio’s play for anti-China vote.”)
Rubio did garner some reaction from a cable news host on the day of the hearings, as MSNBC host Chris Hayes criticized Rubio for “cowardice and whataboutism” in opposing mask mandates, even as the senator encouraged people to “get vaccinated. That’s the answer.”
This is a really perfect example of the constant triangulating cowardice and whataboutism that's infected the entire party and movement. He can't just say "Hey get vacccinated!". Have to find some way to own the libs. https://t.co/EicK2cQspQ
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 4, 2021
That kind of selective outrage and decision to ignore issues of global security enables Beijing’s continued bad behavior, analysts say. “The Chinese regime will not stop hacking American networks until the costs Washington imposes exceed the enormous benefits of this criminal activity,” wrote foreign policy expert Gordon Chang in The Hill this Wednesday. “Americans should be mad at Beijing — and at the people they elected to protect them but who have decided not to do so.”
You can watch the full, two-hour hearing below:
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.