Bizarre bills against China stack up in the US Congress amid COVID-19 pandemic, showing US' last attempt before losing hegemony

By GT staff reporters Published: 2020/6/18 3:49:57

Photo taken on March 16, 2020 shows the White House Visitor Center in Washington D.C., the United States. Photo: Xinhua

Bills to confront China have been piling up in the US Congress in the past months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which analysts said is reflective of unrealistic yet radical appeals to contain China. Such attempts are made regardless of the sacrifices to the China-US relationships and people-to-people exchanges. Chinese experts said that such bills, which would for sure not affect China, do not manifest US prowess but its decay as the country is struggling to keep its global hegemony.

There have been at least 388 bills and resolutions related to China under the 116th US Congress (2019-2021) that can be tracked under the, an official website profiling the bills brought to the US Congress.

The bills and resolutions attack or harm China's interests and sovereignty, covering issues such as Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Pennsylvanian Republican Scott Perry in mid-May introduced a bill to the house on China's Tibet Autonomous Region, calling for authorization of the US president to recognize Tibet as "a separate, independent country."

Stability among nations, especially big countries, is based on respect for each other's vital core and key interests. If some US senators advocate the independence of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the island of Taiwan, it will lead to sharp problems between the big powers and even military conflicts, Li Haidong, an expert from the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Instead of thinking of the important trust given to them by voters to manage the country's internal affairs well, they have been constantly antagonizing China and triggering confrontations. When disputes arise, they are less likely to settle US domestic affairs, betraying voters' trust, Li said.

Hypocrites in high places

Many of these bills are related to the COVID 19 pandemic, with many based on US politicians' groundless accusations against China in handling the coronavirus.

A resolution introduced on March 24 by Republican Senator for Tennessee Marsha Blackburn expressed "the sense of the Senate that the government of China made multiple serious mistakes in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak that heightened the severity and spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the intentional spread of misinformation to downplay the risks of COVID-19, a refusal to cooperate with international health authorities, internal censorship of doctors and journalists, and a malicious disregard for the health of ethnic minorities."

All of Blackburn's accusations against China have been widely rejected by global scientists, top medical researchers, and the WHO. Experts said the Senator blinds herself from China's efforts in leading global cooperation in epidemic control and practicing its vows to share the research data of vaccines with the world public.

Another resolution, introduced on the same day, March 24, by Republican sponsor Joshua Hawley supports "an international investigation into the handling by the government of China of COVID-19 and the impact of handling COVID-19 in that manner on the people of the US and other nations." 

Analysts suggest such rhetoric reflects the hegemonic mentality of the US, while these Senators ignore the fact that the US is exactly the one avoiding international investigations on its botched responses to the pandemic.

One resolution continues the politicization of the virus and exploits Chinese doctor Li Wenliang's death to slander China. The resolution proposed by infamous anti-China figure Tom Cotton asks to commemorate the life of Li Wenliang and calls "for transparency and cooperation from the government of China and the Communist Party of China."

Another bill publicly provokes China on the Taiwan question by advocating US' support to the attempt of the island's separatists to seat in the WHO by threatening to stop US contributions to the WHO. 

The bill by Republican Representative Scott Perry asks "to prohibit all US assessed and voluntary contributions to the WHO until such time as the membership in the WHO of the People's Republic of China is terminated and the Republic of China (Taiwan) is afforded full rights, privileges, and responsibilities as a Member State in the WHO, and for other purposes."

Some other bills look absurd and ridiculous, such as "to prohibit the use of federal funds for purchasing dogs and cats from wet markets in China, and for other purposes," and "to prohibit importation of commercially produced fresh citrus fruit originating from the China."

Empty seats are seen as many senators attend remotely during a hearing on June 17, in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

Some members of the Congress lack the most basic common sense or even the most basic conscience in their understanding of China-US relations. They want chaos, not stability, Li Haidong noted. The bizarre bills also reflect some lawmakers' lack of understanding of where their country stands and its own problems, he noted.  

Li Haidong said that there are so many domestic problems in the US, such as racial conflicts and the epidemic situation. Instead of actively dealing with domestic affairs, some senators regard the confrontation with China as an important matter.

Lawmakers behind ridiculous bills seeking to acquire attention, political capital: experts

Behind US congressional bills interfering in other countries' internal affairs are lawmakers who play an anti-China card and propose sensational bills to acquire attention and gain political capital. 

Analysts noted such meaningless bills reflected the hubris of a declining hegemonic power and that the traditional anti-China card is played more frequently in the election year. 

Republican lawmaker Scott Perry, who introduced the bill in the Congress to recognize Tibet Autonomous Region as an "independent nation" and a similar bill regarding Hong Kong, showed an overt double standard on his social media when talking about protests and riots in Hong Kong last year and the ongoing protests in the US. 

Perry referred to the riots in Hong Kong, where black-clad rioters burned innocent passers-by in addition to committing arson and vandalism, as "pro-democracy" while dismissing domestic protests against police brutality as riots and violence. 

Perry, a Republican, also voiced support for US President Donald Trump's decision to terminate funding for the WHO, which was widely criticized by the international community as an irresponsible unilateral move. Perry claimed the decision was made due to the WHO's "failure in COVID-19 response." 

Ted Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, who ran for president in 2016, introduced a bill asking to restrict federal government assistance for studios that alter their movies to enter the Chinese market. Analysts said that the bill was actually a political declaration rather than of any real impact on the industry. 

Cruz had earlier called US news outlet NBC a subsidiary of Chinese government after a reporter said China is doing better than the US in cooperating internationally amid the pandemic. 

Such attack on a reporter's words only further exposed the Republican clique were ashamed over the US' total failure in handling the pandemic, analysts said. 

Cruz, similar to Perry, maintains double standards on Hong Kong affairs and the anti-racism protests in the US  as he referred to protesters in Minnesota as the "American Taliban" and urged rigid actions against them despite calling Hong Kong protesters freedom fighters in disregard to the last year's rioters that smashed shops, beat passers-by and set fire to public facilities and private properties. 

Yuan Zheng, a research fellow with Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that US congress members bring about a large amount of domestic "rubbish bills" attacking China. 

Such anti-China proposals showed congress members, Democratic or Republican, tend to display their harsh attitude towards China ahead of elections to grab attention and gain political interests. 

The trend is heightened due to bilateral rows over the past months and the upcoming election, Yuan said, noting they would rather draft eye-catching bills than solve real social problems at home. 

Yuan noted these bills have no actual effect on China as few of them will obtain enough attention or get discussed at the congress. But this phenomenon reflected some congressmen's arrogance and ignorance of China and how the US, a hegemonic power, is so used to pointing fingers at other countries' internal affairs when its influence is in decline.

Newspaper headline: Dying hegemony


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