In a speech outlining the case against China, FBI Director Christopher Wray said this week that Americans need to be aware of three things that the Chinese Communist Party is trying to do to our country. In remarks that came just as President Donald Trump was announcing a ban on Chinese video app Tik Tok, Wray told attendees at the Hudson Institute that the CCP is willing to take any steps necessary to turn themselves into the world’s sole superpower.
“If you are an American adult, it is more likely than not that China has stolen your personal data,” Wray said. “We’ve now reached the point where the FBI is opening a new China-related counterintelligence case about every 10 hours. Of the nearly 5,000 active FBI counterintelligence cases currently underway across the country, almost half are all related to China. And at this very moment, China is working to compromise American health care organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and academic institutions conducting essential COVID-19 research.”
Wray said it was important that every American realize three things about the Chinese government’s efforts to disrupt U.S. leadership.
“First: We need to be clear-eyed about the scope of the Chinese government’s ambition. China—the Chinese Communist Party—believes it’s in a generational fight to surpass our country in economic and technological leadership,” Wray said. “That is sobering enough. But it’s waging this fight not through legitimate innovation, not through fair and lawful competition, and not by giving their citizens the freedom of thought and speech and creativity that we treasure here in the United States. Instead, China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world’s only superpower by any means necessary.
“The second thing the American people need to understand is that China uses a diverse range of sophisticated techniques—everything from cyber intrusions to corrupting trusted insiders,” Wray continued. “They’ve even engaged in outright physical theft. And they’ve pioneered an expansive approach to stealing innovation through a wide range of actors—including not just Chinese intelligence services but state-owned enterprises, ostensibly private companies, certain kinds of graduate students and researchers, and a whole variety of other actors working on their behalf.”
Wray said that the final thing Americans need to realize is that China’s totalitarian opaqueness gives them certain advantages.
“China has a fundamentally different system than ours—and it’s doing all it can to exploit the openness of ours while taking advantage of its own closed system,” Wray said. “Many of the distinctions that mean a lot here in the United States are blurry or almost nonexistent in China—I’m talking about distinctions between the government and the Chinese Communist Party, between the civilian and military sectors, between the state and the ‘private’ sector.”
The pandemic has shown the world, in stark reality, just how much of a threat China poses to the world. It is essential that we do not forget that lesson after the virus clears. It’s not one we can afford to learn again.