China represents “the greatest long-term threat” to the economic vitality and national security of the United States, said Christopher Wray, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at a speech at the Hudson Institute.
The Chinese Communist Party, he said, is engaged in a multi-layered. generational campaign to become the world’s economic and technological leader:
“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.”
Those means, he noted, include economic espionage, data hacking, intellectual property theft, bribery, blackmail and other coercive attempts “to sway our government’s policies, distort our country’s public discourse, and undermine confidence in our democratic processes and values.”
FBI Director Wray emphasized that these malign and pernicious actions are the work of the Chinese Communist Party:
“This is not about the Chinese people, and it’s certainly not about Chinese Americans. For generations, people have journeyed from China to the United States to secure the blessings of liberty for themselves and their families – and our society is better for their contributions.”
All the while, China’s Government and Communist Party have brazenly violated well-settled norms and the rule of law. Director Wray pointed to a so-called” anti-corruption program established by General Secretary Xi Jinping, called “Fox Hunt.” “Fox Hunt”, Mr. Wray said, is really a campaign targeting Chinese who live outside China: “We’re talking about political rivals, dissidents and critics seeking to expose China’s extensive human rights violations.” In one example, China threatened someone to either return to China or commit suicide. They and their families are threatened, and those family members back in China have been arrested for leverage.
Director Wray declared that China’s whole-of-state approach demands a response in kind: “Confronting this threat effectively does not mean we shouldn’t do business with China,” he said. “But it does mean that when China violates our criminal laws and international norms, we are not going to tolerate it. The FBI and our partners through the U.S. government will hold China accountable and protect our nation’s innovation, ideas, and way of life – with the help and vigilance of the American people.”