Here’s 25 Questions Joe Biden Needs To Answer About China
Communist China poses a greater threat to America and our interests abroad than any other nation in the world.
If it wasn’t clear prior to the spread of the Chinese coronavirus, resulting largely from the Chinese Communist Party’s Chernobyl-like response, the subsequent threats should crystallize this point. It has acted malevolently toward the U.S., our European and Anglosphere allies, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and India, and across the South China Sea.
Countering the CCP is essential to preserving American life, limb, and liberty. The public deserves to know what presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s approach to China would be.
After all, this is a man who sat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for three decades. Biden ultimately chaired or served as its ranking member from 1997 on, during a career at the senior-most levels of government spanning almost the entirety of U.S.-China engagement. As a longtime senator and then vice president, Biden never once acted to scuttle the integrationist-accommodationist policy that has left America in such a perilous position.
This is to say nothing of the disturbing appearance of corruption surrounding Biden’s tenure as vice president, in which he managed the “China portfolio,” while his son Hunter contemporaneously entered into an apparent sweetheart Chinese investment deal.
Thus far in the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden has flippantly downplayed the threat from China, only to quickly walk back his comments when he faced backlash. He attacked the Trump administration for “xenophobia” in enacting a travel ban early in the coronavirus crisis, only later to backtrack on that too. Now, Biden is trying a new tack: Portray himself as tougher on China than Trump.
This assertion is belied by his historical rhetoric and action, in contrast with a Trump administration that explicitly rejected the status quo by way of its national security strategy. That strategy notes the flaws of a premise to which Biden has long subscribed — that “engagement with rivals and their inclusion in international institutions and global commerce would turn them into benign actors and trustworthy partners” — and the Trump administration has acted accordingly.
The former vice president must tell us whether his views and policy prescriptions have markedly changed, or if his presidency would represent a reversion to the status quo ante.
Here are 23 questions the press ought to ask him but almost certainly won’t:
1. Does Biden still believe, as he remarked during a 2011 speech, that “a rising China is a positive, positive development, not only for China but for America and the world writ large”?
2. Does Biden regret his support for granting permanent normal trade relations to China, setting it up for accession to the World Trade Organization that would supercharge its drive toward superpower status?
3. Does Biden believe the Obama administration’s responses, or lack thereof, to China’s rampant theft of intellectual property, militarization of the South China Sea, catastrophic hack of the Office of Personnel Management, and liquidation of Central Intelligence Agency assets were sufficient, and successfully checked China’s ambitions? If not, what would he have done differently? Did he propose such alternatives as vice president?
4. Does Biden disavow the Obama administration’s signing of a 2013 memorandum of understanding — following intense lobbying of the former vice president by Chinese leaders — granting Chinese companies continued access to U.S. capital markets, in spite of their unique noncompliance in skirting basic auditing and reporting requirements, resulting in numerous frauds?
5. Does the former vice president think it appropriate for former Obama administration national security officials to lobby on behalf of Huawei, the CCP-tied, national security-threatening, alleged U.S.-lawbreaking linchpin of China’s plan for control over global communications?
6. Will Biden disclose any and all funding directly or indirectly emanating from Chinese sources for the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement?
9. More fundamentally, would a Biden administration recognize that China poses the greatest threat of all to America?
10. Would every member of a Biden Cabinet adopt policies geared toward countering China, or ceasing cooperation with it?
15. Would a President Biden explicitly encourage U.S. companies to move their supply chains out of China?
16. Would a President Biden impose tariffs as a means of creating leverage over China in a bid to achieve free, fair, and reciprocal trade?
18. Would a President Biden maintain the substantially increased powers of the executive branch over conducting Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States reviews of transactions that might represent national security threats, and use it to scuttle relevant deals?
19. Would a Biden administration sanction Chinese entities doing business with sanctioned Iranian entities?
20. Would a Biden Department of Justice maintain the Trump administration’s China Initiative, aimed at preventing and prosecuting Chinese espionage and hacking efforts?
21. Would a Biden administration engage in a comprehensive strategic communications effort aimed at the CCP, including resolutely challenging its propaganda, delivering Mandarin pro-democracy and anti-CCP messages, and highlighting tyrannical CCP actions?
22. Would a Biden administration maintain restrictions on visas for Chinese students and scholars in strategically significant disciplines, and investigate and expose potentially corrupting Chinese funding of American higher ed institutions?
America awaits Biden’s answers.
Ben Weingarten is a Federalist senior contributor, senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and fellow at the Claremont Institute. He was selected as a 2019 Robert Novak Journalism fellow of the Fund for American Studies, under which he is currently working on a book on U.S.-China policy. You can find his work at benweingarten.com, and follow him on Twitter @bhweingarten.