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Subcommittee Chairman Pfluger Delivers Opening Statement in Hearing on Confronting Threats from the CCP to the Homeland

March 9, 2023

Subcommittee Chairman Pfluger Delivers Opening Statement in Hearing on Confronting Threats from the CCP to the Homeland

WASHINGTON, DC — House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Chairman August Pfluger (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement for a hearing to examine the numerous threats the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) poses to the U.S. homeland and what actions must be taken to mitigate the threat to U.S. homeland equities.

Good morning, and welcome to the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence’s first hearing of the 118th Congress. I would like to thank all our witnesses for testifying today and welcome the Ranking Member and other Members of the Subcommittee.

Despite years of attempts by the United States to develop a productive, fair, and honest relationship with the People’s Republic of China, America has been met with dishonesty and aggression.

The PRC government, run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has deceived and manipulated us at every turn, committing espionage in our homeland and working to overturn the global rules-based order. The U.S. is now locked in a peer competition with the CCP in which the Chinese government is seeking to place itself at the top of the global world order while degrading America’s power militarily, diplomatically, and economically. In recent months, the CCP has escalated this competition.

On January 28th, a Chinese surveillance balloon entered U.S. airspace and spent the next 8 days traveling over the majority of the continental U.S.

While we do not know what kind of information the Chinese surveillance balloon was able to collect, we can be certain that the CCP’s intention was to exploit sensitive U.S. military sites and critical infrastructure across the country. This Chinese surveillance balloon was a brazen display of espionage in the U.S. homeland, but it is ultimately one of many ways the CCP is working to exploit our vulnerabilities. Today, we must take the conversation beyond the balloon and discuss all the avenues the CCP is threatening U.S. homeland security.

Through the CCP’s aggressive national strategy of Military-Civil Fusion, which aims to establish the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as the dominant global military force by 2049, the Chinese government is stealing information from U.S. military and civilian targets. A majority of the threats China poses to U.S. homeland security are occurring below the threshold of traditional conflict. We need to be cognizant of these threats and generate multifaceted solutions to deter them.

These threats are already directly affecting American citizens.

MD Anderson Cancer Center, one of the nation’s top hospitals for cancer care in my home state of Texas, ousted several scientists from the center in 2019 who had ties to China. The scientists were flagged by the U.S. National Institutes of Health regarding a variety of threats, including data security and intellectual property loss, and they were ultimately investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI. This incident was by no means unique, with the CCP consistently targeting American research and innovation across the country.

Additionally, the CCP is exploiting the open nature of American academia to steal vital research and development. Confucius Institutes, marketed as mechanisms to promote Chinese language and culture, have been used by the CCP to recruit American talent to support Military-Civil Fusion, monitor Chinese nationals studying at American universities, and have faced allegations of visa fraud. In recent years, the U.S. government has worked to close most of these Confucius Institutes; however, the CCP has made efforts to change the Institutes’ names or obfuscate their influence on American universities.

Today, I am reintroducing with Chairman Green and Congressman Wenstrup the “DHS Restrictions on Confucius Institutes and Chinese Entities of Concern Act,” which passed out of this Committee with bipartisan support last Congress. This bill works to close Confucius Institutes, and any other programs with the same goal, operating in the U.S. It also holds American universities accountable and ensures they prioritize their students’ educations and right to free speech above partnerships with Confucius Institutes that require universities to censor curriculums in favor of CCP ideology.

I appreciate the support from Chairman Green and Congressman Wenstrup and look forward to working with the two of them to advance this bill.

In addition to threats to American IP and academic freedom, the CCP is targeting U.S. cybersecurity and critical infrastructure and undermining our economic security. Moreover, illicit fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, and related precursor chemicals are predominately sourced from the PRC and Mexico. These poisonous drugs continue to fuel the tragic fentanyl crisis in our homeland. I am eager to discuss these challenges and much more during today’s hearing.

Let me be clear to anyone who is listening at home or abroad: This conflict is not with individual citizens of the PRC – this conflict is with the CCP, an authoritarian regime that commits genocide against its own people, censors free speech across the globe, and aims to end democracy as we know it.

This hearing is the first step of many this subcommittee and the greater Committee on Homeland Security intend to take to confront the threats stemming from the CCP that target our homeland security.

We will meet CCP aggression with strength, its deception with unflinching truth, and its attempts at exploitation with justice. We look forward to bipartisan cooperation this Congress as we all seek effective solutions to combat the pervasive threats posed by the CCP to U.S. homeland security.