Reinstating the “China Initiative” in Congress reflects US worsening McCarthyism and racism
Published: May 24, 2024 01:07 AM
China US Illustration: Liu Rui

China US Illustration: Liu Rui

US House committee of the judiciary on Wednesday pass an act that is seen as the reinstate of the “China Initiative.” Chinese experts said the act reflected the fact that US is witnessing reincarnated and worsening McCarthyism; and the country’s deep-rooted racism. This toxic trend will only backfire the US itself, observers said.

This bill, known as the 'Protect America’s Innovation and Economic Security from CCP Act’, is established to counter “CPC’s nation-state threats to the US, curb spying by the CPC on US intellectual property and academic institutions in the US,” according a copy of the bill posted by the  US House Committee of the Judiciary. 

The bill also spelt out the goals of the CCP Act, including the identification of priority trade secret theft cases, developing an enforcement strategy for nontraditional collectors, and considering necessary legislative measures to protect US assets from foreign economic aggression. The bill is set to be in force for six years following its enactment. 

The bill was proposed by Congressman Lance Gooden, Randy Weber, Bill Posey and others. 

The bill was passed by the US House Committee on the Judiciary with 15 in favor and eight against.

Every country judges its relationship with another country based on their external actions, but those US politicians are deliberately stirring up trouble by pitting a country against a political party, Lü Xiang, research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

There is no legal basis for a country to be in opposition to a political party. If such a chaotic bill is eventually passed and enforced, it would be disruptive to the US foreign relations, Lü. 

The Trump administration implemented the notorious China Initiative in 2018 with the stated goal of investigating so-called economic espionage and trade secret theft by China. In 2022, US Justice Department said that it is scrapping China Initiative, as it increasingly came under criticism from civil rights groups that say it created a climate of fear among Asian Americans. 

The “Protect America’s Innovation and Economic Security from CCP Act” met fierce criticism after it launched. US Representative Jerry Nadler said in an opening statement for the House Judiciary Committee markup of the act that this legislation on Wednesday, said it “would simply reestablish the China Initiative by another name.” 

“The China Initiative did not just waste valuable resources.  Rather than keeping Americans safe, the China Initiative divided workplaces, ruined careers, and contributed to anti-Asian hate,” said Nadler.

Similarly, Asian-American Scholar Forum also condemned the “CPC Act.” 

The organization said the “CPC Act” is just to reestablish the “China Initiative”—a program that raised serious concerns of racial profiling and targeting of Asian Americans and immigrants, particularly those of Chinese descent. 

The reinstatement of the “China Initiative” would have devastating consequences especially for Asian American scholars, many of whom had their lives upended as a result of the harmful Initiative, said the organization. 

US congressmen and policy elites have not learned from the negative impact of the “China Initiative” during the Trump era, but have instead intensified their efforts. This can be seen as another example of the US' increasingly reckless approach to its policy towards China, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.

Both the “China Initiative” and “CPC Act” have exposed a deep-rooted tumor of racism within US society, said Li, noting that those moves reflect US resistance and prejudice against Chinese decedents in America and in China-American scientific and technological exchanges, which is a manifestation of racism. 

Although there are certain rational voices in the US political circles, yet containing China is becoming a mainstream in Washington and the country is witnessing worsening McCarthyism, according to Chinese experts, warning that this trend will prevent Chinese scientists from contributing in the US and will eventually backfire.