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Saturday, January 29, 2022

OPINION:

As we wander toward the start of the genocide Olympics on Feb. 4, it might be worth thinking about what the business and political elites in the U.S. have done and are doing to enable the Chinese Communist Party and its regime of slavery, genocide and destruction.

Fortunately, the last 10 days or so have provided some prime examples.


Just last week, the Biden administration canceled mineral leases in northern Minnesota that are essential to the development of mines that hold the copper, nickel, cobalt and other elements that are crucial to our daily life and essential to the development of electric vehicles and batteries. Right now, Communist China owns or controls about 80% of the critical minerals needed to make those vehicles and batteries.

Republican Rep. Pete Stauber, who represents northern Minnesota, noted: “President Biden is choosing to ban mining. He’s choosing foreign sourced minerals, including mines that use child slave labor, over our own domestic, union workforce that follows the best labor and environmental standards in the world.”

He’s right. Team Biden is perfectly content to rely on Communist China for these critical minerals. Mr. Stauber closed his comments in the only way possible for an American: “I choose to fight for our northern Minnesota miners.”

President Biden is bad enough, but sometimes Congress can be worse.  

On Jan. 20, dozens of members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai urging her to expand and expedite the process by which companies can be excluded from complying with tariffs on Chinese goods. They wrote: “To ensure that this relief is meaningful, we urge USTR to broaden the scope of the exclusion process to include all products covered under Section 301 tariffs and to ensure meaningful retroactivity …”

You get the general idea. Businesses and their friends in Congress want a tariff process that is full of exemptions, exclusions and loopholes.

Inexplicably, the letter was signed by 60 Republicans, including many who should know better, including Reps. Jody Hice of Georgia, Gus Bilirakis of Florida, Billy Long of Missouri and Young Kim of California. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy signed the letter as well.

The reality is that companies have had four years to migrate their supply chains away from Communist China. Many would rather spend much less money lobbying members of Congress for these sort of carveouts. It’s difficult to argue with a straight face that Republicans have become the party of the working class in the United States when they engage in this sort of thing.

Next time former President Donald Trump is thinking about whom to endorse or how to think about House leadership, he should consider this letter — which is more or less a direct repudiation of his approach to China — and its signatories carefully.

Finally comes Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, the international investment management company. In his 2022 letter to shareholders, he was careful to walk back his previous zealotry on climate change. But he remained notably muted on the subject of investing in China and Chinese companies.

Much of the American financial community is equally silent. One would think that China is just another emerging market, not a genocidal regime.

Christopher Iacovella, the president of the American Securities Association, has taken a slightly different tack. In testimony to a bipartisan congressional commission, he noted: “As China’s great power competition with America intensifies, financial markets have become a frontline battleground. The Chinese Communist Party has used deceptive statecraft to methodically exploit the U.S. capital markets. This has helped fund China’s rise while exacting heavy costs on American investors, the U.S. economy and the integrity of the U.S. capital markets.”

Few American investors understand that by buying emerging market investment funds, mutual funds or broader index funds, they may in fact be underwriting the activities of the CCP. Investment funds that hold Chinese government bonds, or track an index that includes them, transfer savings from American investors, retirement funds, university endowments, etc. to the CCP.

Since China is what it is, one has to assume that all of this cash eventually finances slave labor, child labor, “reeducation” camps, the Peoples’ Liberation Army and cyberattacks on the United States itself.

For instance, as far back as 2019, BuzzFeed reported that U.S. university endowments, foundations and retirement plans helped fund two Chinese facial recognition startups: SenseTime and Megvii, whose technology, of course, is being used to surveil and control Chinese citizens.

Most Americans probably don’t think the CCP should be able to access the U.S. capital markets to undermine the economic and national security of the United States. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t work in the financial-industrial complex.

As you settle in to watch the genocide games, think about the ways that the elites in the United States help the Chinese Communists do what they do. Make sure your own investments don’t unwittingly assist the bad guys. Then, come November, vote your conscience.

• Michael McKenna, a columnist for The Washington Times, is the president of MWR Strategies. He was most recently a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House. 


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