"I want to be clear that we do not seek to decouple or to hold China's economy back," declared U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo during her August trip to Beijing.
Well, why not, Madam Secretary? The U.S. should be holding the Chinese economy back. In fact, we should be doing more than just that. Washington should be trying to end the rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It is time to declare a "people's war" against the CCP. We are in an us-or-them fight.
The Party certainly thinks that way. In May 2019, People's Daily, the CCP's self-described "mouthpiece" and therefore most authoritative publication in China, declared a "people's war" against the United States.
That phrase carries great meaning. As PLA Daily, an official news website of the Party's People's Liberation Army, stated in April, "A people's war is a total war, and its strategy and tactics require the overall mobilization of political, economic, cultural, diplomatic, military, and other power resources, the integrated use of multiple forms of struggle and combat methods."
What exactly are "multiple forms of struggle and combat methods"? Although it denies doing so, China's regime is conducting "unrestricted warfare" against America.
Unrestricted warfare means total war. The regime's deliberate spread of COVID-19 and support for the Chinese fentanyl gangs, for example, should be viewed in that light. We must remember: In China's tightly controlled public square, the extermination of Americans is a permitted topic, as the explosive comments of prominent academic Li Yi tell us.
Most Americans have chosen not to see the Chinese regime's hatred of America. Those who have noticed are probably perplexed by its overheated rhetoric.
Why should Americans be concerned?
The Party, with strident anti-Americanism, is establishing a justification to strike America. As James Lilley, the great American ambassador to Beijing, said, the Chinese always telegraph their punches. They are now telegraphing punches.
They are telegraphing punches when their country is facing severe economic and other problems. For ideological reasons — Xi Jinping is a Maoist at heart — China's leader is unwilling to adopt those measures that would stabilize the situation. Instead, he is pursuing strategies that are clearly making matters worse.
It can be no coincidence that, as the country's economy deteriorates and markets fall, China's external behavior has become even more belligerent. For instance, Beijing, by interfering with Philippine vessels resupplying an outpost at Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, has been risking war.
As Xi's regime telegraphs punches, President Joe Biden appears oblivious. On September 10 while in Vietnam, he echoed Raimondo saying, "I don't want to contain China."
Going one step further, Biden wished his Chinese counterpart well. "I want to see China succeed economically," the president said.
Biden's comments are at best perplexing in light of both China's malicious actions against America and his awareness that the country, as he proclaimed in August at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Utah, is a "ticking time bomb." "That's not good, because when bad folks have problems, they do bad things," he noted.
Biden's administration, however, is not adopting adequate measures to defend the U.S. in the face of such an evident danger. For example, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on September 5 said the United States "should continue on a course of 'small yard, high fence' set of technology restrictions focused narrowly on national security concerns."
Sullivan and others are willing to impose, for instance, technology sanctions on China, but they are largely ineffective. The general approach of the Biden administration is to prohibit transfers of technology to military-related parties in China — that's the reference to "small yard" — but allow transfers to nominally civilian parties.
America cannot enforce Sullivan's "high fence," unfortunately.
Xi Jinping has a policy of "military-civilian fusion," which means that anything a civilian organization possesses can be — and is — pipelined to the Chinese military. In the Communist Party's top-down system, every individual and entity in China must obey every Party order.
It's a warning to America: The just-released Mate 60 Pro smartphone of Huawei Technologies contains chips from SMIC, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., China's largest contract chip-maker. SMIC sold those chips to Huawei in violation of U.S. sanctions, including the Commerce Department's Foreign Direct Product Rule. U.S. sanctions applied because the chips in the new phone were made with U.S. technology. The U.S. Commerce Department allowed transfers of American technology to SMIC on the condition there would be no transfers to Huawei.
Why would Commerce ever think SMIC would keep that promise? The only realistic solution is to treat all Chinese parties as one and to prevent tech transfers to all of them.
Xi's regime is mobilizing all of the country's civilians for war. The Chinese leader never misses an opportunity to talk about it. China's regime is clearly planning to wage "kinetic" war — the type Americans are used to seeing in the movies — on America.
Obviously, American parties, especially businesses, should not be enabling the Chinese regime to kill Americans. This means they should not be engaging in any transaction that can strengthen any part of China. We should think of all of China as military.
Americans should take their enemy as it is, not the way they would like it to be. So Secretary Raimondo needs to say that, yes, the United States will take all measures to defend itself from China. And Biden must start telling the world that China is America's enemy.
People's Daily in May 2019 issued a commentary titled "United States, Don't Underestimate China's Ability to Strike Back." The Communist Party in that commentary stated this: "Don't say we didn't warn you!"
Yes, Americans have been warned. All of China is one military machine, so it is time to declare an American "people's war" on the Chinese Communist Party.
Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China, a Gatestone Institute distinguished senior fellow, and a member of its Advisory Board.