Golden, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Hold China Accountable, Protect Americans During COVID-19
Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) and a group of 13 members of Congress have introduced new legislation requiring the U.S. government to identify, analyze, and combat efforts by the Chinese government to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Preventing China from Exploiting COVID-19 Act would mandate that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) investigate the ways in which the Chinese government intends to seize on the COVID-19 pandemic to promote its interests on the national stage, evaluate risks to the United States, and provide policymakers with the information they need to address and counter Chinese actions when necessary. The DNI would report their findings to Congress.
“Since COVID-19 began, there is evidence that China is at work using the pandemic crisis against Americans through cyber-theft and the spread of misinformation,” said Congressman Golden. “We need to fully understand these threats and respond to them. We’re introducing the Preventing China from Exploiting COVID-19 Act to gather and analyze important intelligence our country needs to protect the American people and businesses.”
The legislation requires the DNI to investigate, analyze, and report on the following topics, among others:
- The techniques used by the Chinese government to obstruct or retaliate against nations that have sought a full inquiry into China’s role in the emergence and spread of COVID-19, and the Chinese government’s motivations for such efforts.
- The activities undertaken by the Chinese government, like cyber-theft, intended to acquire information and intellectual property related to COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines.
- The manner in which the Chinese government seeks to advance its foreign policy interests by providing economic aid or medical equipment to nations adversely affected by COVID-19, and the degree to which this aid makes recipient countries more likely to adopt positions favorable to China and detrimental to the United States.
- The ways in which the Chinese government is using, or may be planning to use, the global disruption and distraction associated with COVID-19 as an opportunity to more aggressively pursue longstanding objectives, including with respect to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang, and territorial disputes.
- The means by which the Chinese government is disseminating misinformation about COVID-19, including on U.S. social media platforms.
- How all of these activities, taken together, further Chinese interests, and the extent to which they constitute a continuation of the longstanding practices of China or represent an evolution in the foreign policy behavior of China.
Golden introduced the bill with Reps. Kendra Horn (OK-05), Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Max Rose (NY-11), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Ed Case (HI-01), Ben McAdams (UT-04), Lou Correa (CA-46), Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Joe Cunningham (SC-01), Daniel Lipinski (IL-03), and Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02).
If passed, the law would also require that the DNI’s report be submitted to Congress within 90 days, and that a public and unclassified version be provided online.