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tv   Fmr. Homeland Security Secretary on Heritages China Report  CSPAN  July 27, 2021 7:15am-8:07am EDT

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>> thank you, and thank you to everyone joining us online for this discussion. you know, on servers have known and lamented the lack of transparency in the china across the board going back many, many years from economy to military to influence operations not knowing the full extent of the chinese threat to the united states and, frankly, not knowing the extent of the outrages they commit on the human rights
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front. because that's a real problem for the policymakers in the united states which, no doubt, is one of the reasons why china's government is so opaque to begin with. it's a feature of their system, it's not a bug. our report that's coming it next week on china transparency is seeking to get at exactly that problem. i'm going to say a little bit more about the report in just a minute or so, and we're going to talk to a couple contributors to the report. but first, we're very honored and please to have with us congressman steve shadegg who's going to make some opening remarks. the covid-19 crisis involving china has served as a wake-up call for the united states on a range of threats posed by the rise of china. more and more people are now asking what else are the chinese hiding. well, mr. shad egg didn't need any wake-up calls. he's long been a leader in addressing threats from china as well as powell issues in
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general -- policy issues in general. he's currently the chairman -- well, he's the ranking member, maybe chairman in the not too distant future, but ranking member of the house foreign affair subcommittee on the asia-pacific having served several years ago as the chairman of that subcommittee during republican control. so with that, i want to welcome mr. shadegg to make his remarks. >> thank you very much, walter, i appreciate it. i want to thank both you and the heritage foundation for this invitation to speak on what is really, i believe, a very important topic, and that's the lack of transparency and cooperation inherent in the communist chinese government. fortunately, as is the case with so many of the initiatives undertaken by the heritage, the hard work and focus and innovative thought that you've
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dedicated to the china transparency project will help to expose the fundamental flaws in our understanding of and approach towards the prc and should serve as a critical resource in developing more effective policies to combat the strategic challenges that the prc poses to both the united states and, let's face it, to our allies across the globe. as i think your report will make clear, we need to continue reevaluating our basic approach towards engagement with the chinese government. ever since nixon went to china, the united states has attempted to play nice9 with the prc inhopes that incorporating them into the post-world war ii order would push them to become more responsible global citizens. it's now become cheer that those hopes were -- clear that those hopes were, at best, overly optimistic. the communists in beijing were
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never interested in joining our system. instead, they've used our efforts at engagement against us, hiding their strength, investing heavily in their military and developing strategic initiatives to remake the world in their own image. make in mistake, on every front beijing is challenging the free world and our premise that open societies, free markets and the rule of law automatically result in a prosperous and equitable civilization. the chinese communist party's bid to replace our premise with their own ideology is obvious. whether we look at their fundamental disregard for human rights, their rampant in fact of intellectual property, their manipulation of the international trading system or their penchant for secrecy and cover-up which only worsened the
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covid-19 pandemic. as a result of this direct challenge to our way of life, the united states finds itself in a strategic competition we did not seek and we really do not want but which we must win. finish for republicans on the house foreign affairs subcommittee and the entire committee overall, this competition our top priority. and that's why, as you mentioned, as ranking member of the asian-pacific subcommittee if formerly the chair of that committee, i made advancing our strong policy to counter china my principal objective. fortunately in our subcommittee, i've been able to work across the aisle with chairman berra, and he actually was my ranking member when i was chair, and i'm the ranking member while he's chairman. we work together to expose china's' manipulation and lack of transparency, and i hope and expect that we will continue that work in a bipartisan
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manner. we actually do have republicans and democrats working together at least on that committee. .. >> economic and national security threat posed by the chinese communist party on so many issues our understanding of what china is doing is incomplete, we see openness of the virtue because in democratic societies we drive our strength directly for the people and they have a right to know what the representative like myself are doing chairman and his ccp leadership cronies on the other hand derive their strength through division, oppression and manipulation. consequently, there is no need for the ccp to communicate its
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activities to the people. which means it's accountable to no one but itself. whether it is the belt and road initiative, the origins of covid-19, china's true economic situation, its investment decisions. it's hidden human rights practices, it's hidden co-op elites across the globe, beijing's internal decision-making for that matter, or drive for technological supremacy, we need a better understanding of what is truly going on in the prc, the prc is dangerous for three reasons. first, it increases the risk of miscalculation, no one fully understands what is happening in china, on the one hand china seems to be unstoppable posing an exponential threat to peace and read him throughout asia and the region. the other hand internal problems like pending
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catastrophic debt and serious demographic challenges. the problem so many of our military, economic and business decisions depend on accurately judging china's trajectory, intentions, capabilities and more immediately where they're investing in what they are doing without an understanding of china's activities and intentions or overreact to any given signal, there is inherent dangers presented by miscalculation that can only be avoided by a better more thorough understanding of beijing's activities and intentions. second the less that we know about what's going on in china the greater the risk china's problems will become the world's
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problems if the last year end half has taught us anything it's that we live in a highly integrated global society and significant events in any nation can potentially impact everything or person on the planet in ways that are unimaginable just a few decades ago if beijing had simply shared information about covid-19 earlier and a more honest and transparent manner, there is a chance it would not become a pandemic and it's certain the death toll would not have been nearly as devastating. even without cooperation for beijing better access to information from china might've allowed us to see the pandemic coming sooner and better prepared to deal with the ramifications in a more timely manner. the more that we understand those challenges the more it becomes clear, pardon me, if we
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want to win our strategic competition with china it will require a far greater and deeper understanding of china than we currently possess is a great chinese strategic figure, if you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the result of 100 battles. but the prc capacity makes that quite difficult to make no mistake that is by design, secrecy as an asset both economically and militarily and they are correct breaking through the veil of secrecy is critical to help us design a more effective response to the challenges china poses now and in the future. the more that we understand these challenges the more it becomes clear why heritages work with the china transparency project can be so valuable to the policy community since his ccp won't discuss its own active
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base we must do our best to determine independently both what beijing is doing and what they are capable of doing, that's just as important the work that you have undertaken to make the information more readily available would go a long way towards helping policymakers craft the appropriate policy response in so many areas. whether it's china's economy, their outbound investment, their approach to energy and the environment there atrocious record on human rights the growing global influence operation or their massive investment into a military system and technologies, it is critical for us in congress and the administration and analyst across the policy community to have access to the most complete and up-to-date information possible. it is my hope and prediction that heritages annual report will become a touchstone for understanding the prc in the
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years to come. i know it will help congress to craft better legislation to win the struggle for global ideological supremacy between beijing and the free world i want to think the heritage for doing this very important work and i yield back the floor. >> as we say in the house, thank you. >> i don't know what else i need to say that was better than any pitch we have made on its importance. were going to dig into it a little bit and i'll give you a few highlights so you have an idea what to expect in the report when it comes out. what we do systematically looking at what information the ccp and the government made public and identify gaps, needless to say there are tons
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of gaps but more important what we do we survey done since of private efforts outside of china that are doing their best to provide this information despite the lack of cooperation from authorities in beijing. we evaluate the state of the private sector's efforts, the overall picture that they paint how it's in an area that they're looking at and we provide a rating both for how well the chinese are doing and how well the private efforts are addressing the gaps and information so that way we have a basis, baseline for deciding how much progress is being made or the lack of progress in similar areas there's not much progress at all in the last few
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years we posted a summary in the equivalent of the chat on the software, if you're looking from home you should be able to download that into the areas i'm talking about but all hit a few briefly to give you an idea what to expect in the report comes out, on the economic issues and we kind of touched on this a little bit but needless to say chinese information, and the economy is notoriously unreliable, what we have identified is going behind the members and to find out how the chinese corrupt the statistics that would level in the process do they corrupt them in a retail figure at a local level and where exactly do these numbers
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become arm the reliable and why maybe it comes directly from beijing, they've got certain figures to hit and they have lower levels, energy environment, actually in the range chinese are best, it's still not great, they seem industrial projects and environmental cost under the guidance of secrets and you have no way of accessing and if you try as a chinese citizen you probably find yourself under arrest and try as an american reporter and escorted out of the country environmental is so important because so many areas when we talk about chinese, the
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cyst may be an area we can work with, they can provide us reliable environmental information and challenging to find ways on the environment and human rights issues that is probably also a surprise but what were trying to report is the prospect of making research cutting-edge technology being used to study particular problems in china like the fate of the uighurs and a lot of work done with satellite technology correlating that satellite technology and personal stories and press stories and evidence and internet presence, it is the approach that would work across the board and other human rights issues, we should give it a try there, the last intervention,
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how do we focus on this for now, the dimension of political development both the access group and documents and online resources have become increasingly scarce in both of those areas, believe it or not there was a time you can walk into a bookstore in beijing and you could buy a book written by a pla general and access isn't there anymore and political information in the database made publicly available, and may difficult to know what is going on and what's the level, spending is in a particular category, and mostly propaganda, does not mean much at all what matters is when you break those
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numbers down into how much you spend in operation maintenance, the court tries to identify the gaps and suggest ways that we can improve them. the report, the bigger transparency report also includes a range of analytical essays from leading experts in their fields in order to drill down the specific areas of concern which brings me too her neck speaker both of whom were very lovely to have witnesses which whom we work very closely in government and out of government. the first speaker in the first person alternative for questions chad wolf former homeland
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affairs he's currently a visiting fellow at the heritage foundation, he is our vice president for national security and foreign policy and contributed an essay to the report on the influence of the chinese and u.s. research universities. i'm going to talk to him about that. and then david fife is coming off of the state department where he most recently served as deputy assistant circuitry undersecretary he's not pageant fellow at the center for cmos for new american security sometimes and forget the whole thing there, david co-authored along with laura crouch i should mention interpersonal capacity she is a professional staff but her personal capacity she worked
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on this report. it concerns undersea enables and the threat that the chinese post and deployment in the potential form. for using them in ways that could damage u.s. and allied security interest. were gonna jump right in with the discussion i have a lot of questions but we also away for you to ask questions online, put your questions in the chat. and we will get to them before were done. the first thing no one asked chad, could you break out the issue of chinese influence in the u.s. university, is a obligated one and this needs to be broken out into steel to its essence what is the current state of knowledge about what is going on in other areas you would identify as things you don't know quite enough about. both known and unknowns and unknown unknowns.
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>> thank you again to heritage for during this event. in allowing me too be part of the report, the gets critically important and when i was at the department of homeland security were used to look at a variety of threats facing the homeland and the threat of malign chinese influence to the homeland was at the top of the list every week, every month that you looked at it, it's something i've been talking about and it's something the department of homeland security is taking a closer look beyond the traditional threat of counterterrorism and other threats the country is facing from china. a big part of that what is going on in our universities today, china's ultimate goal as we all know is to be the world leader in science and technology into do that they will need to recruit individuals and foreign experts in the way they do that is looking at u.s. institutions, universities and college they can do that in different ways
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that we have seen they can recruit u.s. researchers and professors and through a couple of different programs will talk about the confucius institute but also sending chinese nationals to the u.s. on u.s. student visas and how they take advantage of the visas, what they do on the visas while they're here in the knowledge transfer they sent back to china on a variety of sensitive subjects. we need to look closer harder look at that we did that with the trump of administration and hopefully that will continue but that's critically important making sure that the thousands and thousands of student visas that we issued a chinese nationals to come to study they need to be better checked, screened, vetted and we need to periodically check up on them because what we sell you can do one check but if they're in the country and they get extensions to the student visas and going to graduate degree programs, you don't have a good idea what
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they're doing, this is about disclosure and holding them accountable versus what they might do after being here years and years at a time, i think it's a growing issue to address within our university system, i think what we seen over time there's a lot of university and colleges that are willing to accept a lot of funding from the chinese government and chinese backed institution without disclosing to make it apparent, what is that relationship and what does that relationship until and what does not entail. >> can i ask you how do you sort the purpose of the students being here, there is some field
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as a student or as a graduate researcher or professor that has no real impact on u.s. security. >> there's probably some area between retard to make a call, how do you sort that. >> was to the vast majority of chinese nationals coming over in the hard science versus more of what you would classify as liberal arts degrees, we see them in the stem field and elsewhere which is concerning but i think it comes back to the transparency and disclosure making sure that we can but these individuals and look into what types of programs are they going to study in the u.s., and where do they study in china perhaps and who is backing them what's their end goal. asking these questions with a
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variety of different subject be met thank you. >> the one way that you look at the area that chad looked at in the availability of information chad really had to dig into and go to university. >> taking for the opportunity to participate in an impressive transparency aspects are
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completely visible and yet as a major public and strategic challenge for the united states and our allies the issue has been long overlooked in key ways, one aspect of the problem is the internet age is hard to actually understand the systems we rely on because her dealing with the invisible transmission of enormous amounts of data through telecommunication infrastructure that is often visible in the way that we can see cell towers but it is still hard to understand and at a minimum complex. part of the challenge can be seen in the contrast with the public understanding or the public consciousness of
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satellites. people have all of our public imagination as since the satellites are out there and they're very important we've all seen movies where their dramatic scenes of satellites doing this without and it's almost not known at all, it's 95 - 99% of global data flows, not to satellite but through cables. and cables are visible but are most entirely unseen, almost no american and very few american officials have seen the cable at the bottom of the ocean and seen a cable where it plugs in to a landing site in a secure fenced in area along the coastline, it's not something that we have a real consciousness of inner policy debate in recent years inner international diplomacy in recent years we had a major
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expansion of understanding of the chinese communist party dedication to dominating telecommunications to take advantage of telecommunication infrastructure to access data to manipulate data and hold vulnerable data in the future and possible future crises, we had all the awakening around 5g and huawei, as welcome as that is almost all of her attention from a policy perspective and a diplomatic perspective has flowed to 5g terrestrial hardware, the question of who will eat or european allies in developing countries use for their five jeep base stations that's an important step of questions but all of those concerns and the risks of compromise of the data to a chinese communist party apply to the cables and one of the main
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points of our paper is to note that the concern and policy creativity and the diplomatic seriousness that we increasingly understand we need to apply 5g when you look at terrestrial systems and huawei and it needs to be applied in the thinking of the u.s. government and her allies and friends overseas to undersea cables and who builds them and finances them. >> you mentioned different ways of the 5g issues and terrestrial hardware concerns have contrast in the amount of attention to undersea cables, being undersea you cannot see them you can see cell towers and some concept of how that might work but there's a disparity between the way we have treated in the past to the extent that were focused on it
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the threat from russia and china, a few years ago, the obama administration began to focus on the threat to the cables, what happened, why not china. >> there's a telling difference in the way that policymakers have looked at the cable issue as regards of russia and china. it was very visible and surprising ways inside the u.s. government, the u.s. government has a vast interagency that goes back literally generations that focus on undersea cables and focuses on the cables overwhelmingly in their defense from foreign adversary military sabotage or in their defense from natural disasters, earthquakes undersea that might cause outages in these cables, what you mentioned about the russians foreign military threat there were a lot of navy versus
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navy spy type dynamics between the u.s. and russians during the cold war for example around access to undersea cables for espionage purposes and possible military sabotage this is an aspect of the undersea cable challenge where there is real awareness across government and military in the u.s. and among our allies. what happened five or six years ago with the obama administration used on news reports about the russian navy gaining new capabilities that might allow them to threaten undersea cables in europe and trans atlantic in ways that were concerning, those concerns are indeed real and need to be addressed. but what is interesting as those concerns generated greater interest in undersea cables, there was a complete oversight
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of the fact that we have real commercial concerns as well that come from china. china as a military rival of the united states also poses potential risk in the military domain but what china poses that russia does not is major ambition in the commercial domain which we have seen from china and many other areas of technology in international congress including huawei were the main undersea cable construction player out of china was known for a long time as huawei marine networks now it's been rebranded but it's the same company and what it wants to do it wants to capture a large share of the international cable seen market not by sabotage undersea but by winning contracts from telecommunication companies and governments all around the world to build
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cables, this would be done legally, it would not be in active military sabotage but it's backed by the same influence campaigns in the massive state subsidies and technology and abuse that chinese industrial policy uses pandemic and it would pose in a enormous threat to the data integrity of the enormous amount of data of hours in countries all around the world that flow through the systems and recognizing while we protect cables from russian submarines we need to have a much better understanding of the commercial landscape were undersea cables are being constructed in larger and larger numbers as 5g comes online and 40% of the world gets on the internet for the first time that will be very large numbers of contracts and competitions that are run by governments and run by private contortions of telecommunication firms, whether those are built
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by trusted providers from the united states, europe or japan on the one hand or built by unfortunately on trusted providers from china from the data fest and data subversion of the chinese commonest party is a strategic question for the coming years because enormous amounts of our private data or consumer data and scientific and governmental will be flowing through these for years to come. >> i want to come back to you for something and then we will see if we have some questions from the online audience, can you tell us about the talents program and similar type programs, what they're aiming at and track record it seems it was a focus of the administration the last few years. >> the program overall is many talent recruitment programs that the chinese company has in the
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idea is to incentivize these individuals in the u.s. that are engaged in research and development to transfer the knowledge from the u.s. back to china and to do so in exchange for money, salary, for grants, lab time and other incentives. that is concerning because the transfer of knowledge is for national security military aims for the chinese government and the idea here, you want to make sure that we shine light on that the goal at the beginning of the program which started in 2008 was to recruit somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000 - 3000 individuals upwards they ended up recruiting 700,000. >> this is international highly successful overall but the world in the u.s. started catching on more and more spotlight and focus has been on the thousand
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talents program there's been reports saying were not really taking this seriously. this goes back to disclosure and transparency making sure if the researcher gets a grant from a chinese institution of some kind let it be known what that is. instead of hiding and out which is a main concern. chinese government has rebranded this program and it's no longer a program and we talk about that in the report but there's a lot we don't know it goes back to the transparency and disclosure, again the idea that the chinese institution is going to engage with academics in the u.s. is not necessarily bad but the concerning part is not understanding what that relationship is, what are the
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incentives and what are they being paid and by who and let's bring that into the public in the open so we can make informed decisions. elizabeth: is a big country, the united states is a big country with thousands of universities it's hard to know what's going on and how the chinese are engaging. >> this ties into the institutes that are here in the u.s. which have been dwindling over time because we are shining light on this relationship between u.s. institutions and chinese institutions and the lack of transparency not understanding what is going on in their several high-profile justice department cases of prosecuting individuals that have abuses and not been transparent about the funding in the research of the doing. >> at one point last year maybe the attorney general made public that there was an investigation or an indictment for some time and it turned out to be an
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important function by showing where the neither and that's an issue as well, knowing what is going on is the first step, but doing something you need to have the resources in the justice department is stretched. >> i think that is right director from the bureau has been very outspoken on this as well not only the chinese threat to the u.s. specifically but the threat to universities and what's going on at the university level. >> thank you, do we have a question from the audience. >> my microphone is not working, the first question, we've obviously seen the us administration and institute but
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why is it harder to address and what makes it so difficult to target the program directly. elizabeth: the question was the thousand talents program and what makes it difficult to target that likely done with the confucius, if you go back the senate homeland security on the thousand talents program the more light in education that we provide to people we see on the confucius side where u.s.
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universities had said it's not worth it, it's not worth having this relationship, i don't know what's going on you see the number of institutes around the campus dropped considerably it was a high of close to 100, is a handful and those that are still there need to be more proactive and more transparent about that relationship. part of that relationship that we have found in some of those institutes that university professors cannot talk about or research certain things having to do with the prc it was concerning your target about stifling research and development and thought on u.s. college campuses, not what you want to do it they did the day both of them have the confucius institute has taken off recently with a thousand talents program has always been there for several years we've been looking at the chinese government has
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rebranded the thousand talents program and they call it two or three different names but the intent is still there to recruit individuals so you have a transfer of knowledge back to china i think the best thing that we can do there is a number of bills being introduced to stop the practice the best that we can do is more transferring to, more disclosure and we understand what these are in we can make informed decisions. >> is a problem for partners and allies who have a sense of information that can help the chinese and have a connection and proximity and a greater target in some ways, i want to ask a similar question around this policy, how much
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transparency on the u.s. side of policy development on where we are and amount of information being shared by the government for the american people on an extent to undersea cable problem and i don't mean to imply a purposeful effort, something that is already asked. there is no effort made to get information out there, what is the state of affairs. >> it is a mixed bag when it comes to u.s. policy and are domestic to telecommunication infrastructure the federal communications commission plays the leading role in giving licenses for the construction of undersea cables that come internationally and land on u.s. shores there is a high degree of transparency and is a hardening of u.s. policy with respect to
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cables to be built by china's huawei marine networks or even cables that would be built by trusted providers that would connect between the u.s. mainland and china, there are several three or four of these connections that are direct between the u.s. and china but the license was given by the fcc for a link in 2017 and since then you've seen several proposed projects that have not yet met with fcc because of cc has become completely unable to trust the cable that would land in shanghai or hong kong and would be free from chinese state subversion. another piece of the u.s. domestic policy mix has to do with technology controls and their it's a little more opec, how are we managing things like
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export controls to see the sophisticated fiber-optic technology needed to allow the chinese players to compete at the top-tier against the long-standing and more advanced democratic country players, are we preventing american institution and companies exporting that technology or are we seeing leakage of the damaging variety and some of that has to do with the u.s. companies that would be exporting this technology and some in a way that speaks to the points that china has been raising two american universities are doing with the sponsorship of chinese technology and telecommunication companies and whether they're providing technology to china that we would rather not see them provide all of these are important policy areas. >> i think it's critically important that you talk about fcc and the undersea cable issue, they rely on a policy
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decision at the end of the day and they rely on state department, department of homeland security, treasury department and providing recommendation on these cables and as david indicated the trump administration took a very proactive view about the threat of chinese noncontrol in these cables but it is a policy decision, were gonna have to take a look at the biden of administration and what view do they take on this as well is a stronger hardening view or will they sit back and be influenced by some of the service providers at the end of the day because it makes business sense to them. >> i would note telecom is an important institution in this way for advising the fcc on national security issues and it was through the team telecom process that you saw the first denial on the license application to the specific cable about one year ago in
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2020. an additional piece of the regulatory regime that is emerging was initially teed up in the trouble administration and has been taken forward by the biden of administration is the icy ts process, this is about the information and communication technology and services supply chain, it is essentially a regulatory inner agency process for scrutinizing cross-border data flows. which is so much of our economy and clearly seen in the cable issue, it's an inner agency process led by the treasury that scrutinizes what would be foreign investment in the trouble administration inviting has taken for an inner agency fashion is all about getting
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ahead of the game in critical technology and sort of information and understand what the chinese are trying to do at the base of the, we can always control at the end of the day we gotta get back closer to the start, that's what the report is all about, identifying all the threats that maybe we do not see that are emerging because there in impulsivity and hidden behind in activities across the board. in the me think you both for being here today and talking
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with us and the contributions to the report, we appreciate and value them june 30 is a release date, were expecting to see it and they can agree to the rest of it touching on all the areas, thank you very much. of 2021.
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the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. pallone: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. pallone: thank you. h.r. 2467 is a comp


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