On May 26, the Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum held a webinar “Security Threats from China” featuring a coalition of domestic and European lawmakers who took turns discussing the current geopolitical threats coming from the Chinese Communist Party. Former Congressman Robert Pittenger (R-NC), who founded the Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum as a global symposium for the discussion of national security threats at home and abroad, served as moderator.
The webinar also featured current members of Congress Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), and Congressman George Holding (R-NC), and Assistant Secretary of State Robert Strayer. They discussed the unique threat that China poses for western democracies and how they are using their business proxies to engage in cyber espionage campaigns in the U.S.
Assistant Secretary Strayer, in particular, focused his attention towards four major technology threats from China that the Department of State is monitoring. The threats include the illicit acquisition of technology, the disruption of international markets, the export of surveillance technology, and, most importantly, the country’s influence over Chinese companies that operate in the U.S. Since there are no checks and balances in their totalitarian government, businesses cannot decline to steal data or engage in espionage if the communist party compels them to.
Congressman McCaul highlighted how the recently created House China Task Force will be looking closely at China’s telecommunications influence, and how “Once they plant their 5G into a country through Huawei or other companies, they own and control all of the data that’s coming out of there.” He also emphasized that the United States will have to compete with China in artificial intelligence, 5G, and other technologies if we want to maintain tech dominance.
International cooperation will be key to pushing back on China’s rising influence in the technology sector, so it is encouraging to see these U.S. and European lawmakers shining a spotlight on some of the communist party’s many transgressions. Further leadership and diplomatic efforts from our elected politicians will be essential to preventing China from further influencing the technology sector and stealing data without repercussions.