The FBI Takes a Stand Against Communist China
FBI Director Christopher Wray takes a stand against Beijing and its racist attacks on Chinese-Americans.
On Jan. 31, FBI Director Christopher Wray gave a brilliant and pitch-perfect speech on “Countering Threats Posed by the Chinese Government Inside the U.S.” He took a stand against racism, explained how America can beat the Beijing regime through American values, and pointed out that the bureau’s enforcement measures are used to protect Chinese-Americans, who are typically the primary target of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) overseas repression, including on American soil.
Wray argued that the CCP is a more dangerous adversary than was the Soviet Union of the first Cold War, because China has a much more powerful economy.
He said: “The Soviet Union didn’t make much that anyone in America wanted to buy. We didn’t invest in each other’s economies or send huge numbers of students to study in each other’s universities. The U.S. and today’s China are far more interconnected than the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. ever were, and China is an economic power on a level the Soviets could never have dreamed of being.”
Today, in fact, China’s economy is approximately 10 times larger than Russia’s. All that money can go into the military expenditures and overseas influence that Beijing uses to threaten democracies around the world and the international rule of law.
The FBI Takes a Stand Against Racism
Wray’s warnings about the regime in Beijing did not, of course, extend to Chinese-Americans. He said, “The Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party pose the threat we’re focused on countering, not the Chinese people, and certainly not Chinese Americans, who are themselves frequently victims of the Chinese government’s lawless aggression.”
Protecting Chinese-Americans and Chinese national residents in the United States from the CCP is “top of mind” for the FBI, according to Wray. “America is richer and stronger because of the generations of people who immigrated here from China, many of whom will celebrate the traditional Lunar New Year festival this week.”
Wray gave an example of a Chinese-American student at a major Midwestern university who had posted praise for students killed in Tiananmen Square in 1989. “Almost immediately, his parents called from China, saying that Chinese intelligence officers had shown up to threaten them because of his post,” said Wray.
“When this same student participated in an online rehearsal for a protest event with other students, the Chinese government knew what he’d said in the rehearsal, his parents called again, more frantic this time.”
What is public about the “transnational repression” of the Beijing regime, according to Wray, is just the “tip of the iceberg.” He noted that “for decades, the Chinese Communist Party has targeted, threatened, and harassed U.S.-based Tibetans and Uyghurs, Falun Gong members, pro-democracy advocates, and any others who question their legitimacy or authority.”
As Wray understands fully, protecting America is through celebrating and protecting Americans, who are a diverse group of ethnicities. Our strength as a nation is in that diversity and through its protection.
America Can Beat the CCP
One of the major points that Wray made in his speech is that American rule of law is a strength, not a weakness, in addressing the threat from China.
“Yes, the Chinese government understands the West’s free and open society and tries to exploit it, but the Chinese government’s worldview works as a blinder too,” he said. “They may think our adherence to the rule of law is a weakness, but they’re wrong.”
Wray noted that the FBI is a “rule-of-law agency in a rule-of-law country with rule-of-law partners,” and sees “how our democratic and legal processes arm us.”
Wray pointed out that the allegations that the FBI makes, it believes it can prove before neutral individuals, giving allies the necessary information to take action.
“Look at what’s been happening with Huawei,” said Wray. “When an independent grand jury returns an indictment accusing a company of serial trade secret theft, people think twice about entrusting their privacy and secrets to that company, and the threat Huawei poses is a lot better understood now than it was before our investigation led to those charges.”
The battles that America wins against the CCP are “not just while adhering to our values—but by [my emphasis] adhering to our values,” Wray said. “I believe that in the course of doing so, we’re showing why the Chinese government needs to change course, for all of our sakes.”
Extremist Criticism of the FBI Is Not Only Unfounded, but Dangerous to America
While both left and right in the United States like to gripe about the FBI, the reality is that it is an integral element of our democracy, tasked with the thankless job of enforcing the laws for which we all vote. A democracy without police would not be a democracy at all, but anarchic chaos. And a democracy without somebody peering into the autocratic shadows would be wide open to foreign agents, and easy picking for dictators like Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.
Does the FBI make mistakes? Of course they do. But we all do.
When the bureau makes a mistake, however, it is used by somebody, somewhere, to advocate throwing out the baby with the bathwater, or putting it on a leash. And you can be sure that foreign dictators pop the champagne when the FBI gets tied in knots by false claims of racism or the failure to follow due process. Maybe those dictators even fund some of the people making those claims.
Criticism of the FBI gets even more strident from extremists, again on both left and right, who want to use violence—for example, in rioting, revolution, or civil war—to divide or overturn our democracy and remake it in their own extremist image.
Nothing could be more irresponsible and self-defeating than to advocate violence among ourselves, when we face powerful totalitarian dictators—like those in Russia and China—that seek to destroy the freedom we have to disagree nonviolently.
Freedom of speech is one of our most important rights in a democracy. Without it, which is what violence and CCP thuggery causes, we don’t have a democracy. This is the rule of law, decided by our democratic processes, that Wray has so eloquently supported.