China Perfecting Techno-Totalitarianism for Export Around the World: Rep. Gallagher

By Eva Fu
Eva Fu
Eva Fu
Reporter
Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S. politics, U.S.-China relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Contact Eva at eva.fu@epochtimes.com
July 12, 2023Updated: July 17, 2023

WASHINGTON—The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is seeking to perfect a techno-totalitarian regime for export to the rest of the world, according to Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.).

The regime’s worsening repression of faith was highlighted during a roundtable hearing that the lawmaker led on July 12. One key takeaway, noted by Gallagher, who chairs the House Select Committee on the CCP, and other roundtable participants, is that such abuses don’t stop at Chinese borders.

“Across the board, we’ve seen the Chinese Communist Party leverage access to their market and their economic power in order to coerce American companies, international companies,” Mr. Gallagher told NTD, The Epoch Times’ sister media outlet.

He made the comment in response to a question regarding a lawsuit against Cisco Systems, accusing the California-based tech giant of aiding the Beijing regime’s persecution of the spiritual group Falun Gong—which encourages people to live by the universal principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.

Cisco is alleged to have given the regime U.S. technology and components that allowed it to build a vast surveillance network. More than a dozen adherents, including one U.S. citizen, have claimed that the resulting system tracked their Falun Gong-related activities online, leading to their arrest and torture in China.

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Surveillance cameras in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, on May 29, 2019. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

“The techno-totalitarian regime that the CCP is perfecting in China will not stay there,” Mr. Gallagher said. “It’s a model increasingly they want to export around the world, so we’re considering a variety of pieces of legislation to counter that.”

At the roundtable, Chinese Christians, Tibetans, and Uyghurs also spoke about their suffering at the hands of CCP officials, with some, in the case of house church pastor Pan Yongguang, continuing to suffer even after they fled China.

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Pastor Pan Yongguang at Mayflower Church of China, who was granted asylum by the United States in April, speaks during an interfaith roundtable on the Chinese Communist Party’s threat to religious freedom in Washington on July 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Mr. Pan and members of Mayflower Church in China’s Shenzhen city left China in October 2019. After arriving in South Korea, many from the group received threatening phone calls from CCP officials demanding that they return to China. Members were also followed in Thailand by suspected CCP agents, while their relatives in China faced harassment and interrogation, Mr. Pan said at the hearing.

In February, he said Chinese police officers visited his wife’s parents in China’s Hunan province to try to pressure her to urge Mr. Pan to return. The stress of the blackmail and concern for her elderly parents’ welfare caused Mrs. Pan to suffer a heart attack.

“The Chinese Communist Party wants to dominate the world. If they achieved their goals, then what you see happening in China is going to happen around the world,” Rep. Carlos Giménez (R-Fla.), a member of the House’s China Committee, told The Epoch Times.

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Rep. Carlos Giménez (R-Fla.) speaks during an interfaith roundtable on the Chinese Communist Party’s threat to religious freedom in Washington on July 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

He pointed to Hong Kong, where authorities arrested and later fined Cardinal Joseph Zen, 91, over a support fund for pro-democracy protesters. Incidents such as that speak to the importance of speaking up about the regime’s abuses, Mr. Giménez said, because what’s happening in China right now could one day “be happening to you.”

“You have to be subservient to the Chinese Communist Party” and if “you pose a threat … in any way, you’ll be persecuted, you’ll be in prison, and sometimes, you may even lose your life.”

Multiple current and former U.S. religious freedom officials have already called attention to lobbying efforts on behalf of China that reach Washington, such as reports of big firms such as Nike and Coca-Cola seeking to try to weaken legislation that bans imports from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns.

The U.S. government needs to pay closer attention to such lobbying activities and stop multinational corporations from assisting the regime’s oppression, according to Frederick Davie, vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Dr. Weldon Gilcrease, an oncologist at the University of Utah, previously told The Epoch Times that the leaders of his school’s health care system had intentionally refrained from speaking out against forced organ harvesting out of fear of economic retribution by Beijing.

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Frederick Davie, vice chair of the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom and strategic adviser to the president at Union Theological Seminary in  New York, speaks during an interfaith roundtable on the Chinese Communist Party’s threat to religious freedom in Washington on July 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

To Davie, who earlier in the discussion voiced concerns about the CCP using bilateral academic partnerships to make U.S. institutions “immune to the atrocities,” the incident was a case in point.

“It just proves the point of the level of influence that the Chinese economic reach has around the world and in the United States,” he told The Epoch Times.

U.S. consumers have a part to play as well, noted Tony Perkins, former chair of the bipartisan religious freedom commission and president of the Family Research Council.

“China is actually more repressive today than they were two decades ago, and the reason is they can afford to be as American consumers fund their repression,” Mr. Perkins said.

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Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, speaks during an interfaith roundtable on the Chinese Communist Party’s threat to religious freedom in Washington on July 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

In his mind, the United States should have “no further economic transactions” with China until the human rights situation changes.

“Americans have become addicted to cheap goods—a very materialistic society—but they need to understand that the profits from that are coming back to influence policy, both here and abroad,” he told The Epoch Times.

“For our family, we read the label of where things are manufactured. And we do everything possible to keep from buying products from China, and we encourage others to do the same.”