Biden caves to China again to appease Woke left

ben weingarten
Conservative Opinion

Ben Weingarten

Federalist Senior Contributor; Claremont Institute Fellow
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It’s no secret to anyone paying attention to geo-political issues that China poses a grave threat not just to America but to the world order. Here in the U.S., we have paid especially close attention to China’s attempt at insurgency through espionage and economic warfare. At least we did before President Biden took office. We’re now seeing the impact of Biden’s politically-correct priorities, as his Department of Justice has decided to do away with a key line of defense we had against the Chinese Communist Party.

The Trump DOJ had launched the China Initiative as part of the administration’s comprehensive effort to confront the CCP. 

The program aimed to combat the whole slew of national security threats posed by China, focusing on countering and prosecuting its economic espionage, IP theft, hacking, and other efforts to infiltrate and exploit strategically significant American institutions.

The DOJ had brought dozens of cases under the Initiative, most notably prosecuting the former chair of Harvard’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department, Dr. Charles Lieber, and the CFO of Huawei and daughter of its founder, Meng Wanzhou.

Given China’s penetration of America’s schools, research centers, and businesses, the initiative was long overdue. 

The reason the DOJ is dropping this crucial program is plainly obvious. Biden is bending the knee once again to the progressive wing of the Democratic party, which puts greater importance on niceties and PC behavior than on actually protecting America.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen essentially admitted this in a speech where he said, “We have heard concerns from the civil rights community that the ‘China Initiative’ fueled a narrative of intolerance and bias.”

It is patently absurd to kill a counter-intelligence program that guards against invasive actions from a country that has been proven to be working to undermine the United States, simply because the Woke left complains it could be racist.

But that is what President Biden has done. He has once again put the interests of the extremists in his party ahead of the best interests of the country.

While you were watching the war in Ukraine, the Biden administration was caving to Russia’s senior partner, Communist China, giving it its greatest gift yet.

Biden caved to the demands of American progressives–the Chinese Communist Party’s most useful of useful idiots.

In a little-noticed February 23rd university speech, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division announced the Department would be killing its most important counter-espionage program, the China Initiative.

This is happening at the very moment the Biden DOJ is ramping up its pursuit of American Wrongthinkers with the opening of a new domestic terror unit.

Who poses the bigger threat?

The Trump DOJ had launched the China Initiative as part of the administration’s comprehensive effort to confront the CCP. 

The program aimed to combat the whole slew of national security threats posed by China, focusing on countering and prosecuting its economic espionage, IP theft, hacking, and other efforts to infiltrate and exploit strategically significant American institutions.

The DOJ had brought dozens of cases under the Initiative, most notably prosecuting the former chair of Harvard’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department, Dr. Charles Lieber, and the CFO of Huawei and daughter of its founder, Meng Wanzhou.

Given China’s penetration of America’s schools, research centers, and businesses, the initiative was long overdue. 

In fact, as FBI Director Christopher Wray recognized just a few weeks back in a speech focusing on the domestic threat posed by China:

During Olsen’s speech, he agreed with Wray’s assertion that China’s threats are “more brazen [and]…damaging than ever before.” 

He conceded that China “stands apart.” 

But by the same token, he also noted that “the Justice Department confront threats from a variety of nation-state actors,” and that “there is no one threat that is unique to a single adversary.” 

Well, multiple nations might threaten in similar ways. But the extent of those threats—driven by both capability and will—of course can dramatically differ. 

Some foes are obviously way more threatening than others. 

And China is the single most formidable one of all.

Since the Biden DOJ is nixing the China Initiative, it would seem it either doesn’t agree, or doesn’t care.

Olsen said this in the Q&A that followed his speech: 

How are we supposed to take this as anything other than that the DOJ is de-prioritizing China — treating it as just one challenge among many, when it’s not. It’s a unique challenge.

By pursuing more nation-state threats, the DOJ will have fewer resources to pursue China’s threats.

Does a lesser focus on China also imply a weaker pursuit of cases against China? 

Well, the answer may well be “yes,” if the DOJ’s recent activity – or inactivity – is any indication. 

While it was reviewing the China Initiative, leading to up to its cancellation, the Department dropped many prosecutions and copped to a massive sweetheart deal in the critical Meng Wanzhou case mentioned earlier.

And what makes the killing of the China Initiative even more outrageous – if it can be made more outrageous – is the politically correct rationale behind it.

By its own admission the Biden DOJ didn’t drop the Initiative because it wasn’t worthwhile, or effective.

Instead, it did so because progressive activists cried racism, and the DOJ apparently lacked the will to weather the criticism let alone fight the criticism. Apparently, it cared more about optics than national security.

As Olsen recounted in his speech, “We have heard concerns from the civil rights community that the ‘China Initiative’ fueled a narrative of intolerance and bias.”

Therefore, the DOJ felt, in his words, that “by grouping cases under the China Initiative rubric, we helped give rise to a harmful perception that the department applies a lower standard to investigate and prosecute criminal conduct related to that country or that we in some way view people with racial, ethnic or familial ties to China differently.”

Olsen concluded the Initiative “is not the right approach”—purely based on “a harmful perception” of a policy.

Think about how asinine that is—how unserious that is!

Now it’s true, Olsen also recognized that academics had been pressuring the DOJ over its targeting of professors and researchers under the Initiative – since universities and research centers are major targets for Communist China – who claimed it was creating a “chilling atmosphere” damaging to America’s “scientific enterprise.” 

But this was not the driver of the DOJ’s decision to kill the effort according to Olsen.

No, instead it was progressive groups, that — as I’ve been writing about since back in January 2021, had been lobbying Biden to drop the China Initiative since before his inauguration — got a veto over our national security policy merely by claiming it gave the appearance of being discriminatory.

So now every other adversary has learned an effective strategy to get out of the U.S. government’s sights: Claim U.S. polices to counter them are bigoted, and stir up American progressive groups to pressure the national security apparatus to relent.

Of course, China is the greatest winner of all here.

And it’s not only because the Initiative thwarted its malign efforts. 

It’s because our DOJ gave it a propaganda coup. 

It legitimized rhetoric the Chinese Communist Party loves to spew that America is bigoted—which it uses to try to create some moral equivalence between its gulag regime, and our republic, or what’s left of it.

The Biden administration had already once given the CCP a propaganda coup when it banned terms like “China virus” or “Wuhan flu” in executive agencies the first week of the Biden presidency.

China of course had demanded for months you not call it the Chinese coronavirus, and smeared critics mercilessly as bigoted for doing so, because of course it was the most culpable party in this pandemic.

So this makes two times now that the Biden administration contributed to a CCP propaganda campaign.

And then there’s the elephant in the room that no one’s talking about. 

Chinese officials themselves repeatedly “urged” the Biden administration to execute measures similar to ending the China Initiative. 

Last summer, on an official U.S. diplomatic visit to China, Beijing hit Washington with two lists– a “List of U.S. Wrongdoings that Must Stop” and a “List of Key Individual Cases that China Has Concerns with” — aimed at getting the US to do thing like back off in its pursuit of certain cases, to remove sanctions, and lift student visa restrictions: 

Team Biden granted at least one major wish on those lists when it revoked the extradition request of Meng Wanzhou. 

Did Chinese officials ask the Biden administration to terminate the Justice Department’s Initiative within the two lists, or at any other time?

I posed just this question to the State Department, which referred me to the Justice Department. 

The Justice Department referred me to Olsen’s remarks, noting that he “addressed the reasons for ending the China Initiative and launching the new strategy to address nation -state (sic) threats” therein.

For China’s part, its foreign ministry spokesperson—channeling her inner American progressive during a press conference the day after Olsen’s speech—said of the China Initiative that it: 

exacerbates racial discrimination in the US, severely harms Asian-American groups, and also poisons the atmosphere of China-US mutual trust and cooperation. The Foreign Ministry of China and the Chinese Embassy in the US lodged multiple solemn representations on different levels from the very beginning to urge the US side to stop implementing the Initiative. [Emphasis mine]

The Biden administration obliged.

Only years from now will we know the extent of the damage done by a president so deeply in hoc to the Woke, who here have done the CCP’s bidding to devastating effect.