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House Reports Push for More Focus on China by Intelligence Agencies

  • September 30, 2020

The report’s unclassified summary does not address the loss of the C.I.A.’s spy network on China, which devastated the agency’s ability to collect information there and made the United States much more dependent on British and other allied countries’ intelligence for insights on Beijing.

The unclassified portion of House Intelligence Committee report also does not make recommendations of stepped-up covert action in China and describes only in general terms how it would build up C.I.A. expertise on China.

There is little doubt that China’s intelligence activity has become more aggressive under President Xi Jinping, said Derek M. Scissors, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. The United States, including its intelligence services, needs to become more aggressive at deterring Chinese intervention in American politics, he said.

“The obvious play is to threaten spreading anti-Xi information in China,” Mr. Scissors said. “We can devote more resources to doing that. We can evade Chinese censorship, internet controls and so on.”

Like the intelligence report, the Republicans’ China task force report looks at national security issues and China’s bid to dominate emerging technologies like quantum computing and artificial intelligence. But it also looks more broadly at China’s theft of American secrets and competition in key industries, and calls for a tougher attitude toward Beijing’s human rights violations against the Uighur minority, the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and its poor environmental record.

The Republican report covers a variety of industries and technologies, including next-generation mobile communications. But it also looks at some areas, like space launches, that have been less of a focus of the Trump administration.

One key finding of the report is that the United States must watch investment by China in privately held space companies to ensure Beijing cannot steal technologies or other intellectual property being developed by the United States.

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