April 21, 2021

Cardin Says U.S. Can Counter China by Upholding Our Values

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, lauded committee passage today of the bipartisan Strategic Competition Act, which he cosponsored. The bill recognizes the long-term, strategic planning needed to counter increasingly aggressive actions by the People’s Republic of China and it brings together strategic, economic and diplomatic tools for an aggressive response. Enactment of the bill would place the United States in a much stronger position to work with our allies against Chinese aggression, uphold human rights, and increase U.S. competitiveness and national security.

“China has been using its financial power and connections to expand its scope of influence in America and around the world for years. It’s time we stopped opening the door to such aggression and exposed their coercive, anti-human rights, anti-free market activities. The U.S. can counter Chinese threats to our national security by upholding our values, emphasizing transparency and exposing corruption.

“On the human rights front, I’m proud to have worked with Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-Idaho) to ensure key human rights, good governance and anti-corruption measures were included in the bill that was approved Wednesday. These include:

  • Repealing the sunset provision on the sanctions authority in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act
  • Authorizing of appropriations for promotion of democracy in Hong Kong
  • Authorizing of appropriations for protecting human rights in the People’s Republic of China
  • Imposing of sanctions relating to forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
  • Imposing of sanctions with respect to systematic rape, coercive abortion, forced sterilization, or involuntary contraceptive implantation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
  • Requiring a report on corrupt activities of senior officials of Government of the People’s Republic of China
  • Expanding a ban on post-employment by senior State Department officials on lobbying the U.S. Government on behalf of any foreign governments and state-owned entities

Key provisions of the Strategic Competition Act include:

  • Bolsters the United States’ diplomatic strategy in addressing challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China and reaffirms America’s commitment to its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world.
  • Calls for the United States to reassert its leadership within international organizations and other multilateral fora.
  • Renews America’s commitment to allies and partners by prioritizing diplomatic and economic engagement and security assistance for the Indo-Pacific region, assuring the State Department is organized and well-resourced for strategic competition, and strengthening U.S. diplomatic efforts to address challenges posed by China around the world.
  • Invests in universal values, authorizing a broad range of human rights and civil society measures including supporting democracy in Hong Kong, genuine autonomy for Tibet, and imposing sanctions with respect to forced labor, forced sterilization, and other abuses in Xinjiang.
  • Focuses on confronting and countering China’s predatory international economic behavior, and includes measures to counter intellectual property violations and Chinese government subsidies, to monitor Chinese use of Hong Kong to circumvent U.S. export controls, and to track the presence of Chinese companies in U.S. capital markets. Directs the United States to provide technical assistance to countries working to counter foreign corrupt practices.
  • Strengthens American competitiveness with investments in science and technology, global infrastructure development, and digital connectivity and cybersecurity partnerships.
  • Counters CCP influence and malign operations, especially in American universities, by requiring that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States review certain foreign gifts and contracts.
  • Calls for enhanced coordination and cooperation with allies on arms control in the face of China’s military modernization and expansion, and requires reporting on Chinese ballistic, hypersonic glide, and cruise missiles, conventional forces, nuclear, space, cyberspace and other strategic domains.
  • Authorizes the U.S. Governor to the Inter-American Development Bank to vote in favor of a 10th IDB general capital increase and requires U.S. diplomatic engagement in support of a capital increase to counter China’s efforts in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Includes critical provisions to increase transparency for Congress and the American public related to international agreements.