China’s ruling Communist Party is continuing economic aggression and information warfare against the United States and is working to defeat President Trump in the next election, a senior White House official said Monday.
“Their near-term goal is to help defeat Donald J. Trump,” said Peter Navarro, director of the White House office of trade and manufacturing policy, in a speech to the Hudson Institute.
“Their broader strategic goal is to convince the world that Communist China’s authoritarian political and social systems, and command-and-control economy are far superior to an American exceptionalism built upon free markets, free persons, democratic elections, the rule of law and an independent judiciary.”
China is directly to blame for the deaths of 200,000 Americans from the pandemic, said Mr. Navarro, also a special assistant to the president.
The White House aide also condemned what he called “useful idiots” in the U.S. media and private sector who are parroting Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda and doing Beijing’s bidding.
“Regrettably, far too many of the American media, with their blatant hyperpartisanship, are helping to advance this corrosive and toxic CCP narrative,” he said.
“In doing so, far too many American journalists today are merely serving as what Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin viewed as ‘useful idiots’ for the CCP.”
Mr. Trump has cracked down hard on China’s illicit technology theft, unfair trade practices and human rights abuses, Mr. Navarro said.
“Communist China has continued its aggression against America unabated — and decidedly unabashed,” he said.
Mr. Trump’s economic nationalism has begun to reverse decades of economic losses for the United States that harmed American workers and created a “blue collar carnage.”
The economic warfare has included cyberhacking to steal trade secrets, theft of intellectual property, forced technology transfers and the dumping of low-cost products to undermine American markets.
China also has engaged in state-owned enterprise protectionism, currency manipulation and flooding U.S. communities with deadly fentanyl and other opioids, killing upwards of 50,000 people a year.
Globally, China is seeking to use its massive population and increasing military power to subvert and overthrow the rules-based international system, Mr. Navarro said.
“In these efforts, the [CCP] seeks nothing less than to replace America’s arsenal of democracy with the CCP’s own arsenal of dictatorship,” he said.
The Trump administration has pushed back against the economic aggression by imposing over $350 billion in tariffs on Chinese products, fined and sanctioned telecommunications companies Huawei Technologies and ZTE, and banned mobile apps such as TikTok and WeChat that are being used to surveil and monitor Americans and steal data.
The administration also sanctioned China for its widespread human rights abuses in western China, Tibet and Hong Kong.
The new approach is in stark contrast to conciliatory policies toward China in the past.
“Politicians from Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger to the George Bushes, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama told us that if only we would economically engage, Communist China would become more peaceful and democratic,” Mr. Navarro said.
“But what good does it do to engage economically if the result is simply a massive transfer of American capital and wealth to Communist China? American capital and wealth, by the way which is then used to finance a rapid military buildup aimed at driving America out of Asia.”
The spread of China’s dictatorial system is a growing danger, Mr. Navarro noted, declaring “America and the rest of the world must never, ever fall under the thumb, boot, or influence of the Chinese Communist Party.”
China is seeking to steal riches from the United States through economic and information warfare and attacks on the U.S. political system, including the use of legal warfare, or lawfare.
The goal is to leverage organizations like the United Nations to promote what the White House adviser called China’s “quest for global domination.”
Mr. Navarro sharply criticized China for co-opting American media outlets and for using social media to troll and undermine stability.
On the global pandemic, Mr. Navarro said China is directly to blame for “infecting our own nation and our president with a deadly virus.”
Mr. Navarro offered a blistering critique of Chinese trade officials who held talks in Washington on Jan. 15, when Chinese officials knew of the disease outbreak and provided no information to Mr. Trump or any White House officials.
“Instead, these Chinese Communist Party officials simply smiled at us, ate our food, shook our hands, and signed the Phase 1 trade deal,” he said. “In their silence, Xi Jinping and the CCP put President Trump, Vice President [Mike] Pence, and numerous White House senior staff and administration officials all in grave danger.”
Mr. Navarro compared news outlets like CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times to China’s Communist Party newspaper Global Times in relentless attacks on the Trump administration and support for Joseph R. Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee.
“This devolution of America’s fourth estate into partisan hacks and Democrat Superpacs is not just an existential threat to our eternal American quest towards a more perfect union,” he said.
“The rise of a partisan fake news conglomerate — and this is what the mainstream media misses — also provides aid, comfort and assistance to a Chinese Communist Party intent on setting the American sun in Asia.”
Liberal news outlets have devolved into “nothing more than attack dogs for the Democrat Party and useful idiots for the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.
Anarchists behind riots in American cities represent the most dangerous of the useful idiots for the CCP, Mr. Navarro said.
“When Antifa and BLM storm troopers swarm with military precision into Portland or Chicago or Kenosha dressed in body armor and armed with brass knuckles, frozen water bottles, and mace ready to loot and burn, they not only destroy businesses and livelihoods. They are destroying everything that is sacred about the tradition of American peaceful protest. Communist Chinese authoritarianism wins, American democracy once again loses,” Mr. Navarro said.
The most egregious action by the Chinese government was to permit travel by tens of thousands of potentially-infected Chinese nationals to travel to major cities around the world, enhancing the spread of the disease.
“The American people want to know where the CCP virus originated from,” Mr. Navarro said. “The CCP must stop hiding this information from the free world.”
Also, the American people want China to be held fully accountable for the trillions of dollars in economic losses and the tragic loss of life that was inflicted on the United States.
“And that bill must one day come due,” he said.
Mr. Navarro closed his speech by calling on Americans to unite to oppose the danger posed by China.
“We as a nation have the fight of our lives on our hands, and we cannot keep fighting amongst each other if we are to prevail,” he said.
• Bill Gertz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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