A column in China’s state-run Global Times propaganda newspaper on Monday threatened to “ruin America’s Christmas” in response to American law enforcement officials allegedly heightening inspections of Chinese ships entering the country.
The inspections, the Times protested, including questioning ship crew members about their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, including asking if they were members.
The FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) have greatly increased their operations to find Chinese Communist Party actors seeking to steal intellectual property or engage in espionage in the United States. The DOJ published a report this month identifying as a significant risk to Americans “entities, subject to PRC [People’s Republic of China] influence, that seek to invest in U.S. companies or integrate into our supply chains.” It went on to name multiple cases of individuals who lied to law enforcement about their ties to the Communist Party of China in the process of applying for research visas to enter the country. The FBI has also identified Communist Party affiliates working to threaten Chinese dissidents who have fled to the United States.
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Imports to the U.S. from China represented a value of $471.8 billion in 2019, representing an over $300-billion trade deficit with China for America. China is the world’s largest exporter to America.
The outburst from the Global Times followed reports in other Chinese state media outlets on Monday that American law enforcement officials have added questions about Communist Party membership to their exchanges with shipping and aviation workers entering the country with Chinese cargo. China Daily, another state propaganda outlet, published a report citing unnamed “sources” who claimed American police were “raiding” Chinese ships and planes. The individuals questioned, it insisted, were not government officials or white-collar professionals, but the crews of the vessels being inspected.
“The U.S. side’s extensive questioning of Chinese personnel sometimes lasted for several hours, repeatedly fixating on their CPC membership and even asking about reasons for joining the Party,” China Daily claimed.
The propaganda outlet quoted the sources as complaining that the inspections constituted discrimination against communists.
“Such practices of the US side raise suspicion of discriminatory enforcement of the (U.S.) laws and of attempts to provoke ideological confrontation, disrupt regular exchanges of visits between China and the U.S., and deliberately create trouble and obstacles, giving people the impression that McCarthyism is resurging in the U.S.,” the anonymous “sources” allegedly said.
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The Global Times also called the investigations “McCarthyism” and warned that China “may ruin America’s Christmas” by limiting shipments of goods typically used as Christmas gifts. An overwhelming amount of goods sold in the United States are manufactured in China.
“Recent U.S. moves to raid and harass Chinese ships and question ship and air crew members on their Communist Party of China (CPC) membership could face China’s reciprocal countermeasures and ruin America’s Christmas,” the Global Times proclaimed, “as Chinese shipping companies may reduce the number of ships to the U.S., Chinese analysts warned.”
The Times noted that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying threatened unspecified “countermeasures” against America if it continued to safeguard against communist infiltration. Doing so, Hua accused, “created ideological confrontations, undermined normal people-to-people exchanges, and [has] become another example of the comprehensive suppression and containment of China by US anti-China forces.”
The Chinese Communist Party insists that it is inseparable from the Chinese people, a claim at odds with the fact that China has for decades been home to vocal dissidents, brutally persecuted by the Party. The Global Times noted that the Party has over 90 million official members as an indication of its reach in the country, despite the fact that this number is actually smaller than estimates of the number of Christians in the country. The Communist Party is officially atheist and severely represses Christians who do not worship under the Party’s rules.
The Global Times cited its Party-approved “experts” to threaten a halt in key shipments of goods to America during the peak shopping season.
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“It will affect the American people’s Christmas if Chinese ships refuse to go to the U.S. due to the harassment,” one “expert,” a professor at Fudan University, was quoted as saying. Another “expert” complained, “Whether a ship crew member is a CPC [Communist Party] member or not has no relation to his job of loading and unloading goods.”
The Trump administration has prioritized confronting the threat of Chinese Communist intellectual property theft, espionage, and sabotage.
“There’s no country that presents a broader, more comprehensive threat to America’s innovation, to our economic security, and to our democratic ideas than China does,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in June. “Just to give you some context for that, just as we’re sitting here having this conversation, the FBI has over 2,000 active investigations that trace back to the government of China.”
Wray noted that that number had increased by 1300 percent in one decade.
That month, Wray also warned that Communist Party agents were using an alleged anti-corruption scheme known as “Operation Fox Hunt” to persecute dissidents in the United States.
“We’re talking about political rivals, dissidents, and critics seeking to expose China’s extensive human rights violations,” Wray described. “Hundreds of the Fox Hunt victims that they target live right here in the United States, and many are American citizens or green card holders. The Chinese government wants to force them to return to China, and China’s tactics to accomplish that are shocking.”