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Lankford Stands Against Communist Chinese Economic Coercion Worldwide

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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today participated in a hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), on which he serves as a commissioner, entitled, “How China Uses Economic Coercion to Silence Critics and Achieve its Political Aims Globally.” Lankford’s questions focused on China’s international economic coercion attempts and how the US can continue to counter the communist Chinese government’s expanding economic influence worldwide. Lankford noted the threats people in Australia and Taiwan face from China’s economic predations and what the US can do to support the people of both nations against China’s efforts to undermine regional stability and the international order.

Lankford is the author of the Safeguarding Internet Freedom in Hong Kong Act, which would counter China’s erosion of free speech in Hong King with firewall circumvention technology. He is also the author of the Iran Sanctions Preservation Act, which would sanction China for cooperating with Iran’s oil and gas sector.

In November, Lankford participated in a CECC hearing entitled, “Techno-Authoritarianism: Platform for Repression in China and Abroad.” Lankford’s questions focused on the communist Chinese government’s misuse of data and how American companies can better protect themselves, ongoing privacy concerns, and China’s use of a “social score” to determine a person’s worth to the communist government.

Lankford continues to caution vigilance of the communist Chinese government amid China’s growing regional influence and highly questionable technology and data use practices. Lankford recently called out China once again for its human rights abuses after the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) released its report entitled, “To Make Us Slowly Disappear: The Chinese Government’s Assault on the Uyghurs.” 

Lankford joined all Senate Finance Republicans in a letter to President Biden requesting that the Administration begin digital trade negotiations with our allies and partners in Asia. Lankford joined Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and 18 senators to send a letter to President Biden urging the Administration to oppose the European Union’s (EU) unilateral implementation of a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) and to instead work with developed countries on policies targeted at the largest greenhouse gas emitters like China.

The panel of witnesses at today’s hearing included Bonnie Glaser, Asia Program Director of the German Marshall Fund of the United States; Zack Cooper, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; Jenny Wang, Senior Strategy & Research Associate at the Human Rights Foundation; and Ho-Fung Hung, the Henry M. and Elizabeth P. Wiesenfeld Professor in Political Economy & Chair at Johns Hopkins University


On China’s worldwide “belt and road” initiative and the US role in market coercion

Lankford: Professor Hong, I want to continue on with our dialogue on this and the ‘belt and road’ initiative and what China’s doing in countries around Africa, around multiple regions of Asia, around the Western Hemisphere, Central and South America, to be able to influence markets but to also be able to minerals, to control ports, control airports, and be able to take on some of those sovereign debt. You have written about some of these issues specifically, about them taking on debt around the world and how sustainable that is but also the effect for those individual countries as well. Can you elaborate more on that?

Hong: …Actually that is the design and the intention of the Chinese government to use Hong Kong as a kind of offshore financial center to channel money and to finance a lot of this China communists going to belt and roads. And in this regard, China is definitely extending a lot of loans  and debt to the belt and road countries and at the same time that the US still has leverage to shape how these developments can unfold…

On the effect of Australia’s pushback on China’s economic coercion has had on Beijing

Lankford: What should we see from the issue of Australia, what should we learn from that, and what awareness should we have from our own supply-chain issues?

Cooper: …I think Australia is a really important case for several reasons. The first is that actually China has struggled to get its political objectives obtained in Australia, and I think it’s done remarkable damage to Beijing’s cause…

On the ongoing challenges Taiwan faces from China

Lankford: Ms. Wang, you’ve talked extensively and written extensively on the issue of Taiwan. It’s very different than the issue of Australia. It’s very different than the United States in the threats that they face in Taiwan in particular. They’re exceptionally isolated. Could you get a chance to talk about some of the economic pressures that they are facing right there in Taiwan and what the united States in particular can do to be able to lessen some of the economic pressures, and what other countries, as China tries to cut off diplomatic relationships with any country that has diplomatic relationships with Taiwan, what other countries can do that actually support the people of Taiwan, rather than isolate them.

Wang: The topic of Taiwan is quite sensitive to the Chinese government as we all know. Taiwan is one of the sensitive ‘three t’s’ along with Tibet and Tiananmen. Taiwan is increasingly under pressure from the Chinese authoritarian government. They’re diplomatically isolating them, and they’re bullying them on a geopolitical level. I think what we can do to support Taiwan is to continue these delegations to visit the island and to meet legislators there as well.