Gordon Chang Commentary: The Chinese Economy Is Collapsing

Chinese ruler Xi Jinping has staked his rule on making China larger, by annexing neighbors. Taiwan is not his only target. He needs success to assure a precedent-breaking third term as the Communist Party’s general secretary, but the Chinese people, preoccupied by a failing economy, are in no mood for their leader’s aggression.

We start with the Party’s storyline that the relaxation of COVID-19 lockdowns is leading to an economic revival.

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Report: The U.S. Military Is Almost Completely Dependent on China for Key Mineral Used in Ammunition

The U.S. military depends almost completely on China for a mineral essential to the production of ammunition and other defense products, Defense News reported Wednesday.

The House Armed Services Committee released draft legislation on Wednesday which would require a briefing on the antimony supply by October and a five-year outlook on supply chain vulnerabilities, Defense News reported. The U.S. has no domestic mine for the mineral antimony, which is reportedly used in the production of night vision goggles, armor-piercing bullets, explosives and nuclear weapons.

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Commentary: Fake Goods Fund Real Crime

Illicit trade has increased significantly over the last several years, fueled in part by the growth in internet sales and the COVID-19 pandemic. While this criminal activity is happening in communities throughout the United States, the money often flows to dangerous organizations based overseas. Combating this issue is complex, but today we see a growing willingness to combine forces to help fight this danger.

Two years ago, pandemic-related shortages in health care supplies created an ideal environment for counterfeiters and other criminals. Front line health care workers needed personal protective equipment and were too often getting swindled or receiving fraudulent products that could put them at risk. This even extended to medicines and pharmaceuticals.

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China’s Most Powerful Bombers Buzz U.S. Military Bases in Japan

China’s most powerful bombers circled U.S. military bases in Okinawa, Japan, on Wednesday, according to Chinese state-run media Thursday.

A pair of China’s H-6J bombers crossed between two of the largest islands of Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, where the U.S has multiple military installations, before circling in the region, Global Times reported. The bombers likely coordinated with the Liaoning aircraft carrier group, which has been conducting drills in the region since May 2, according to the report.

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Victor Davis Hanson Commentary: The Cycles of Revolutions in Our Midst

We are witnessing a number of radical military, social, and political revolutions that are changing the United States—and the world—in fundamental ways that we still have not appreciated. 

The taboo about never mentioning the first-strike use of nuclear weapons in a major conventional war is now apparently over. Vladimir Putin routinely threatens their use. Communist China hints at its growing nuclear capability and is hell-bent on rushing into production a huge new nuclear missile force. The world is defining nuclear incineration down.

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NIH Director Confirms Agency Hid COVID Genes on Orders from the Chinese

On Wednesday, Lawrence Tabak, the acting director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), confirmed during congressional testimony that officials at the NIH deliberately withheld crucial information about early genomic sequences of the COVID-19 virus on the orders of Chinese scientists.

As reported by the New York Post, Tabak told the House Appropriations subcommittee that the agency “eliminated from public view” all the data from the location of the virus’s origin, Wuhan, while adding that researchers can still access the information through a “tape drive.”

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Commentary: Joe Biden vs. We the People

The Biden Administration last June unveiled its “National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.” Despite its anodyne-sounding name, the “national strategy” was anything but anodyne. The pamphlet represented the logical culmination of the Left’s cynical use of the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot as a means of ginning up large-scale, nationwide anti-Republican/anti-Trump voter sentiment.

The result, evinced again by Attorney General Merrick Garland’s disgraceful October 2021 memo directing the FBI to intrude on local school board meetings and crack down on anti-critical race theory parental revolts, has been a roiling cold war waged by the ruling class against us “deplorables” and our political “wrong-think.”

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China Harvests Organs from Tens of Thousands of Living Prisoners Each Year, Activist Tells Congress

The Chinese government harvests tens of thousands of organs from prisoners each year, many of whom are living, according to expert testimony delivered at a hearing Thursday.

An estimated 25,000 to 50,000 detainees from the approximately one million ethnic minorities imprisoned within China’s concentration camps are targeted for organ harvesting each year, Ethan Gutmann, a senior fellow at the Victims of Communist Memorial Foundation, said at a hearing held by New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington, D.C.

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Rand Paul Blocks Swift Passage of $40 Billion Ukraine Aid Package

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday threw a wrench in the Senate’s plans to swiftly pass the $40 billion Ukraine package this week, delaying the vote until at least next week, and possibly beyond.

According to the Hill, Paul wanted to include language in the bill to expand the Afghanistan inspector general’s role to include oversight of the Ukraine funds. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered him a deal that would have set up votes Thursday afternoon on the funding bill and on an amendment from Paul.

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Math Professor Convicted of Hiding China Ties to Get Taxpayer Funding

A federal grand jury found a professor at a public university guilty on espionage charges Wednesday, according to court records.

The jury found Mingqing Xiao, a math professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), guilty on four counts related to filing false tax statements, according to records from The Southern District of Illinois United States District Court.

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Commentary: The Political Necessity of Trump’s Challenge of Climate Hysteria

Sin, punishment, redemption: as an ideology, environmentalism shares many features with organized religion. Falling after Easter this year, Earth Day, which was celebrated April 22, focuses on the sin-and-punishment parts of the trilogy. Redemption comes later, toward the end of each year, at the annual U.N. climate conferences that will save the planet.

On Earth Day this year, however, a loud dissenting voice was heard. Speaking at a Heritage Foundation event in Florida, Donald Trump attacked climate-change catastrophizing.

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China Buddies Up to Major American Foe with New Military Agreement

China and Iran agreed to strengthen military ties during talks in Tehran on Wednesday, according to Chinese state-run media.

China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran for high-level talks, where the parties pledged to deepen counter-terrorism cooperation ostensibly to further security and stability in the Middle East, Xinhua News reported Thursday. Wei guaranteed China would support Iran’s national sovereignty and dignity and expressed his nation’s intention to further develop their nation’s military relationship, according to the Chinese state-run media report.

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Biden Admin Looks to Gut Chinese Tariffs in Latest Attempt to Shift Inflation Blame

The Biden administration is mulling removing U.S. tariffs on Chinese “non-strategic” goods in an effort to ease inflation, a move critics said would do little to alleviate the current crisis.

“It has absolutely nothing to do with inflation,” Nick Iacovella, senior vice president of Public Affairs and Communications at the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview. “Janet Yellen is a very intelligent person and I am almost certain that she knows that removing China tariffs will have no impact on inflation.”

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Commentary: Our Spanish Civil War

From 1936 to 1939, the civil war in Spain became a European laboratory of new tactics, strategies, logistics, wartime morality, and weapons. Right-wing nationalists under General Francisco Franco finally defeated loyal supporters of an evolutionary socialist republic—but only after much of the Western world had variously weighed in.

The cost to the Spanish people of such brutal and vicious strife was horrific. Over 500,000 Spaniards would die in a little over two-and-a-half years. The country was left in shambles.

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Americans Support Trump’s China Tariffs as Republican Senators Push to Remove Them

As GOP senators seek to roll back former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China now that he’s out of office, polling indicates Americans want to keep the harsh policies in place.

“For decades, Congress cut tariffs without much thought. But we cannot continue to do that when it comes to products made in China,” Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “We should do everything possible to move supply chains out of China, but this so-called ‘China bill’ is actually subsidizing manufacturing in Communist China. It’s ridiculous.”

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Nearly Two-Thirds of Voters Believe Biden Is Compromised by Ties to China, Poll

Nearly two-third of U.S. voters think President Biden has been compromised by his and his families’ ties to China, according to new survey.

The survey from the Trafalgar Group, in conjunction with Convention of State Action, found over 50% of those polled said it is “very likely” that Biden is “conflicted/compromised when dealing with China due to the Biden family’s personal business dealings in China.”

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Cartels Selling Fentanyl to Migrants, Locals in Northern Mexico

Fentanyl

As cartels continue to devastate American communities with fentanyl, they’re now finding more customers for the drug in northern Mexico, Noticias Telemundo reported.

Migrants and locals just south of the border, in areas like Tijuana, Mexico, are seeing more users on the streets turning to the drug, the report detailed.

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University of Kansas Researcher Convicted of Secretly Working for China

On Thursday, a researcher with the University of Kansas was convicted of covering up illegal work he was doing on behalf of China while living in the United States.

According to ABC News, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson is still weighing a motion to have the case against Feng Tao of Lawrence, Kansas dismissed. Robinson asked Tao’s lawyers to submit in writing their arguments for dismissal. Until then, the trial will proceed accordingly.

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Joe Biden Performed Special Favor for Hunter’s Chinese Business Partner: Report

Emails from a laptop owned by Hunter Biden reportedly reveal that Joe Biden wrote a college recommendation letter for the son of one of Hunter Biden’s business partners.

Biden, then the former Vice President, sent the letter of recommendation for Christopher Li, the son of BHR CEO Jonathan Li, directly to Dr. Christina Paxson, the president of Brown University in February 2017, Fox News reported. BHR is a Chinese investment firm of which Hunter Biden previously held a 10% stake.

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Dr. Yan: Trump’s COVID-19 Actions Saved American Lives

Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor of The Star News Network, interviewed former World Health Organization researcher and Wuhan virus whistleblower Dr. Li-Meng Yan, who told him about the actions of President Donald J. Trump saved American lives.

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‘Genocide’ and ‘Eugenics’: Bipartisan Commission Releases Stunning Human Rights Report on China

A bipartisan commission released a report detailing Communist China’s gross human rights violations on Thursday.

The annual report published by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) determined that China had perpetrated “systematic violations of human rights” and that it posed a “challenge to the rules-based international order,” a press release accompanying the report’s publication stated.

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Congress Considers Bill to Expose Russian, Chinese Funding of American Groups

Newly introduced legislation would require think tanks and nonprofits to reveal whether they have significant funding from governments and political groups in Russia and China.

U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, introduced the “Think Tank and Nonprofit Foreign Influence Disclosure Act” Thursday, which would require nonprofits and think tanks to disclose foreign donations over $50,000. The bill would require the U.S. Treasury Department to create a “publicly available in a searchable database information relating to such gifts and contributions received from foreign governments and political parties…”

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American Elites Have Deep Ties to a New Chinese Spy Chief

The new deputy head of a propaganda and espionage agency in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has documented ties with business tycoons, university heads and other elite members of American society.

Chen Xu, former party secretary of one of the PRC’s most prestigious universities, Tsinghua, was promoted to deputy head of the United Front Work Department (UFWD), according to an updated leadership roster on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) portal, which was first reported in Chinese media on Feb. 28.

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Commentary: New Afghanistan Report Warns of China’s Emerging Role

man in green jacket standing through sun roof in a moving vehicle

At a time of tectonic shifts in foreign policy alliances, with Russia and China forming a new pact and aggressively asserting themselves on the international stage, Washington’s national security community is splintered across the ideological spectrum on how best to counter the dual threats.

Yet, even before Russia invaded Ukraine, a group of national security practitioners, military veterans, and scholars began trying to move beyond their policy differences to help repair the damage inflicted by the last U.S. foreign policy failure – the chaotic U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan nearly seven months ago.

When the Vandenberg Coalition, a group of primarily Republican experts representing diverse foreign policy views and approaches, began their Afghanistan assessment, its members couldn’t have known that international alarm over Russia’s bloody land grab would soon eclipse the U.S. evacuation of Afghanistan. Some national security experts believe that the two U.S. foreign policy nightmares are inextricably linked – that America’s ignominious retreat in Afghanistan emboldened Vladimir Putin to move on Ukraine.

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Ukraine Crisis Will Accelerate China’s Push for the Yuan as an International Currency

Xi Jinping

For years, Beijing has pushed to have the Chinese yuan accepted as an international currency, while countries unfriendly to the U.S. such as Venezuela, Iran, Russia, and North Korea have been looking for a dollar alternative for international trade. Western economic sanctions against Russia are now accelerating talks between Moscow and Beijing about finding “workaround” solutions, as Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell is warning the invasion of Ukraine may step up Beijing’s efforts to cut its dependency on the dollar.

Over the past decade, it has irked Beijing that, in spite of being the number two economic power, China’s currency has never become truly international. Technically, the yuan’s admission to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Special Drawing Rights currencies (SDR) in 2016 makes the yuan an international currency. In practice, however, the yuan has very limited internationalization. Only 10.9% of the SDR is comprised of yuan. The only country which recognizes the yuan as an official currency is China, whereas about 15 countries use the U.S. dollar as their only official currency or an additional official currency.

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The Star News Network Interviews Author Peter Schweizer About Biden’s Ties to China

McCabe: Investigative journalist Peter Schweizer in his new book Red Handed documents the financial ties between the Chinese communist party and President Joe Biden. He told The Star News Network that Biden and his family have blended public service and private gain.

Schweizer: The Biden family has collected some $31 million dollars from deals in China. You’ve got intelligence officials involved or at least indirectly involved which raises I think very troubling questions about whether the Biden family is compromised.

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The Star News Network Interviews Author Peter Schweizer About Mitch McConnell’s Links to China

  TRANSCRIPT: McCabe: In his new book Red-Handed, investigative journalist Peter Schweizer documents how the senate’s top republican, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, is tied through his wife to the top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. He also told The Star News Network that his wife, Elaine Chao, as transportation…

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Schweizer: U.S. Institutions of Higher Learning Fail to Report Millions of Dollars from China

TRANSCRIPT: McCabe: Investigative journalist Peter Schweizer, in his new book Red-Handed, reports how the Chinese Communist Party has targeted American institutions of higher learning. Schweizer told The Star News Network how these institutions, after receiving funds from communist China, have worked to suppress criticism of the communist regime there and…

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Commentary: We Have to Be Strategic About Strategic Material Production

The most important duty of government is to provide for the security of its citizens. Providing that security is a complex enterprise. Its most obvious feature is military power: providing the surface naval, air, and space forces necessary to protect national interests. Of course, military power depends on economic power. In today’s security environment, that means maintaining the capability to provide for both the prosperity of American citizens as well the high tech weaponry necessary for modern warfare.

While the world’s attention is focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we need to keep in mind that the People’s Republic of China is America’s foremost adversary. While the United States dominated the “third industrial revolution” based on computation and communications, China seeks to lead the “fourth industrial revolution” based on metadata and artificial intelligence. China’s grand strategy is focused on achieving that goal. For example, Beijing has employed its Belt and Road Initiative in combination with digital technology in order to integrate billions of people into China’s economic sphere.

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Analysis: China Will Learn from Russia’s Invasion That ‘Decisive, Overwhelming Force’ Is the Surest Path to Victory

In light of the West’s united front against Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine, China will likely be forced to reexamine its plans for making Taiwan a part of the communist country, experts on the region told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“I think that the military planners in Beijing, as well as politicians in Beijing, have to be very concerned at a deeper level about their assumptions and plans regarding Taiwan,” David Sacks, a research fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the DCNF. “The democratic world has really come together behind this and … the narrative would be very similar with a Chinese attack.”

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Dr. Oz’s Ties to Pharma, Tech Complicate Anti-Corporate Campaign Claims

While Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz has billed himself as a staunch opponent of big corporations, his ties to major technology and pharmaceutical corporations complicate his campaign rhetoric.

Oz, who announced his candidacy in late November, is running for the empty Senate seat left by retiring Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey. The celebrity doctor has made opposition to major technology and pharmaceutical companies a hallmark of his campaign, pitching his experience working in television and exposing scams as an example of his anti-corporate positions.

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Report: Fauci Knew of COVID Information Being Withheld by China in January 2020

Anthony Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), was apparently well aware that the Chinese government was withholding crucial information about the coronavirus as far back as January 2020.

The Epoch Times reports that new documents uncovered by Judicial Watch reveal communications between NIAID and their Chinese counterparts which signal that the American agency actively coordinated with the Chinese leading up to the pandemic, and subsequently covered up the fact that China was withholding information.

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Oversight Organization Battling National Institute of Health in Court over Chinese Involvement in COVID-19

A government watchdog Tuesday took the next step in its battle to expose Chinese connections to the National Institute of Health (NIH).

“Empower Oversight filed an amended complaint today against the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation for documents related to a request by Chinese researchers to remove genetic sequences related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus from a database controlled by NIH,” that group said in a press release. 

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DOJ Kills the China Initiative, Kowtowing to a Chinese-American Group with Documented Chinese Communist Party Ties

Matt Olsen

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the termination of the China Initiative Wednesday citing agreement with Asian-American groups critical of the anti-espionage strategy.

While announcing the termination of the China Initiative Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen launched the Strategy for Countering Nation-State Threats, a program aimed to counter espionage stemming from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In addition to the high-profile December 2021 conviction of Harvard nanotechnology professor Charles Lieber, the Department of Justice website lists eight examples of successful 2021 China Initiative cases, which include crimes such as the theft of GE trade secrets, misleading global financial institutions, lying on government grant applications, illegally exporting $100,000 of U.S. goods to a Chinese military university, economic espionage against Coca-Cola, two cases involving the theft of trade secrets related to pediatric medical conditions and the illegal exportation of cesium atomic clocks.

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Commentary: Russian’s Invasion of Ukraine Has the Potential to Embolden China

With a reconnaissance plane in tow Thursday, a small fleet of eight fighters deliberately probed disputed airspace before scrambled jets scared them away, an air-to-air episode that may be part of the larger international epoch which President Biden frequently describes as one of “democracy versus autocracy.” But these weren’t Russian fighters. They were Chinese.

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Professor’s Race-Based Class Participation Policy Inspired by Chairman Mao

The “Class Discussion Guidelines” section of Ana Maria Candela’s “Social Change -Introduction to Sociology” syllabus, which instructs white male students to wait their turn to speak after “non-white folks” talk, opens with a quotation about speaking from Mao Zedong, the communist Chinese dictator who killed 45 million people.

“No investigation, no right to speak,” the quote reads in the document for the Binghamton University class.

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Students Launch Bipartisan Protest Against University’s China Investments

George Washington University (GWU) students held a bipartisan protest Tuesday, urging the Washington D.C. institution to divest its endowment from companies that are complicit in China’s human rights abuses.

The demonstration, which involved both of the university’s College Republicans and College Democrats chapters, comes one week after university President Mark S. Wrighton rescinded his criticism of on-campus artwork that critiqued China’s abuses against its Uyghur population.

“We’ve all banded together,” activist and GWU alum Juan Carlos Mora told Campus Reform during the protest.

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Genocide Games: China’s Human Rights Abuses Went from Unthinkable to Undeniable

Eight countries and hundreds of human rights organizations have condemned China for committing human rights violations against minorities.

Yet NBC’s coverage of the 2022 Winter Olympics has minimized the Uyghur genocide, despite 200 human rights organizations and eight governmental bodies, including Canada, the U.S., Holland, the U.K., Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and France, declaring that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has committed atrocities against ethnic Uyghurs and other minority groups.

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Convicted Hunter Biden Business Pal Uses Chinese Banking Associate to Plead for No Prison Time

Hunter Biden’s longtime business partner is making an unorthodox bid to avoid prison time for fleecing an Indian tribe, portraying himself to the sentencing judge as a victim of the Biden family’s “vitriolic media coverage” while using the presidential son’s Chinese business partner to make a case for leniency.

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Commentary: American Business Dealings in China Show Stakeholder Capitalist Commitments Are Hollow

This is a bad year to have paid the International Olympic Committee $100 million for the right to put its iconic rings on your soda cans or shampoo bottles. But this is what the rarefied air of being a top Olympic sponsor buys you in 2022: The Winter Games are being played in an authoritarian state with an atrocious human rights record, and none of its underwriters are eager to play up their association in the important American market.

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Time to Scrap One-China Policy, Recognize Independent Taiwan, Trump Security Adviser Says

Keith Kellogg

The United States should abandon its policy that China is one country and instead acknowledge Taiwan as an independent nation, according to Army Lt. Gen. (Ret) Keith Kellogg, a former Trump administration national security adviser.

“Taiwan is an independent country, and we need to support them,” said Kellogg, national security advisor to Vice President Mike Pence and chief of staff of the National Security Council in the Trump administration. “The rest of the world should support them as well, their democratically elected leadership.”

Kellogg made his remarks this week on the John Solomon Reports Podcast, hosted by Just the News.

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Bill Gates’ ‘Deeply Troubling’ Ties to China: Excerpt from ‘Red-Handed’ by Peter Schweizer

Bill Gates is one of the world’s richest men, rightly recognized as a visionary who helped build a massive technology industry. He has moved into the world of philanthropy to pursue support for some notable causes. He also has a deeply troubling relationship with the Chinese regime.

No one can blame a corporate executive for being enticed by the Chinese market’s opportunities. From the earliest days of the internet, China, with approximately four times the population of the United States, has been seen as a lucrative market for the tech industry. You can bet Bill Gates saw it, too.

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Commentary: GoFundMe and How the Left Came to Despise the Working Class

Blue Collar Worker

What irony!

Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger must be turning over in their graves.

Bernie Sanders must be having sleepless nights.

The left-wing anthem “Which Side Are You On?” is no longer about whether you’re a “union man” or a “thug for J.H. Blair.” It’s about the size of your stock portfolio or when to go public with your start-up.

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Authorities Charge Chinese Telecom Company with Stealing Trade Secrets

Federal authorities charged China-based telecommunications firm Hytera Communications with conspiring to steal trade secrets from a U.S. company, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday.

Hytera allegedly recruited employees from U.S. telecommunications company Motorola to steal digital mobile radio (DMR) technology, according to an indictment unsealed Monday. The Chinese company then allegedly used Motorola’s technology to accelerate the development of its own DMR products, the DOJ announced.

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Commentary: Don’t Watch the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

In December, the United States, United Kingdom and Australia all announced diplomatic boycotts against the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, and since then, several other nations around the world have joined the boycott.

A diplomatic boycott means that government officials from those nations will not attend the Olympic Games. This sent an important message to the citizens of those countries that attending the games even as spectators is immoral and at odds with the spirit of their own nation.

The Chinese Communist Party knew this, and in a preemptive attempt to avoid the embarrassment of empty bleachers, it made a decision on Jan. 17 not to sell spectator tickets to people from outside China’s mainland, and invite in controlled groups instead.

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FBI Director Says China Is Bigger Threat to U.S. Than Any Other Nation

On Monday, FBI Director Christopher Wray declared that the greatest foreign threat to the United States is the country of China, adding that the nation’s recent escalation of tensions regarding the country of Taiwan are “more brazen” and “more damaging” than anything seen in recent history.

The New York Post reports that Wray made his remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. Just days before the start of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Wray said that China poses a threat “to our economic security and to our freedoms: Our freedom of speech, of conscience, our freedom to elect and be served by our representatives without foreign meddling, our freedom to prosper when we toil and invent.”

“I’ve spoken a lot about this threat since I became FBI director,” Wray continued. “But I want to focus on it here tonight because in many ways it’s reached a new level — more brazen, more damaging than ever before, and it’s vital, vital, that all of us focus on that threat together.”

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Commentary: The Russia Time Bomb

President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin participate in a tete-a-tete during a U.S.-Russia Summit on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at the Villa La Grange in Geneva. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

The crisis on the Russian-Ukrainian border has been a surreal spectacle for some weeks. This is not how invasions occur and wars begin. The potential aggressor does not mass large forces on the border of a possible target country before full international view and issue continuous statements to the international media about its intentions. And the senior military officials of great powers do not—as Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley ( leading man of the Afghan debacle) and some of his colleagues have done—publicly speculate on the psychology and likely intentions of the leader of the country implicitly threatening to start a war. Whatever Milley’s talents may be, there is no reason to believe that mind-reading is among them. It is, in any case, not part of his brief to give regular bulletins on what he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions may be.

This is Gilbert and Sullivan warmongering. 

If Putin intended to invade Ukraine he would do so as he did with Crimea in 2008 and attempt to achieve some element of surprise. Instead he has made an international public spectacle of amassing six to 10 divisions on the Ukraine border, which every informed person in the world knows is inadequate to defeat and dominate a resistant country of 40 million people. This is theater: Russia pretends to threaten to be going to war; America pretends to react strongly, the NATO allies send forces to neighboring countries that are not under threat while asserting that they will on no account deploy forces into Ukraine, but will apply sanctions to Russia; some even propose preemptive sanctions against Russia although it has not actually done anything objectionable. (Russia could never be more than moderately inconvenienced by sanctions, especially if China and Germany ignore them.) 

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