UPDATED 2:37 PM PT – Thursday, August 5, 2021
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) opened the Senate Intelligence Committee’s public hearing on Wednesday, where several witnesses came forward to speak on counter intelligence threats posed by China and the Chinese Communist Party. Warner said China’s activity within the U.S. has been working to “acquire critical U.S. technologies, intellectual property, hack into the U.S. cyber networks and conduct operations to shape narratives to be more favorable for the PRC and CCP.”
However, Warner stressed the problems they had were tied to Chinese leaders and not the Chinese people. In discussions, he said China is focused on targeting key U.S. technologies, including “aerospace, advanced manufacturing, AI biotech, data analytics, semi conductors and renewables.”
Warner also mentioned China’s pursuit of 5G tech and the threat that would ensue if all networks suddenly became reliant on one Chinese provider.
The long arm of #China reaching deep into American life isn’t some threat far off into the future
It’s already here pic.twitter.com/HfA8roOjJv
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 4, 2021
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also questioned security officials about Chinese propaganda and how it has continued to shape public opinion in the U.S. During the Intelligence Committee hearing, several officials said China had spread false information and conducted operations on social media to advance its interests. Rubio said in 2020 alone, China stole between $300 and $600 billion of American technology and intellectual property.
Rubio stressed how Chinese influence isn’t a distant threat to the U.S. because it’s already here. He added that it’s time to “wake up” to the threat posed by China.
For the hearing, some witnesses declined to participate as they were afraid of retribution. However, the witnesses that spoke gave a variety of recommendations aimed at tackling the threat coming from China. They added China is buying influence through U.S. businesses.
The meeting took place as tensions between the U.S. and China have increased.