'An Existential Struggle': Congress Points to Escalating Global Threats from China
In its first public hearing, lawmakers on the newly formed Select Committee on China pointed out rising threats from the communist regime: issues like trade, Taiwan, and TikTok.
And the FBI says you can add deadly viruses to that list. Just hours before the committee met, FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted a lab leak in China may have caused the COVID pandemic.
"This is an existential struggle over what life will look like in the 21st century," said Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI).
The hearing came at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and China.
Former Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster warned that the next two years could be a dangerous time between China and Taiwan.
"There's a Taiwanese election in 2024. It's not going to be good, I think, from the view of Xi Jinping," said McMaster.
China Created COVID?
The hearing also came on the heels of FBI Director Christopher Wray's comments about China's role in the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan," Wray said in an interview with Fox News.
He added that China is interfering with investigations into a possible leak.
"I will just make the observation that the Chinese government, it seems to me, has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here," explained Wray.
The U.S. Energy Department also assesses that the virus most likely came from a Chinese lab leak, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Department of Energy oversees many U.S. national laboratories, and some of them conduct biological research.
The White House insisted Monday that the U.S. government hasn't reached a conclusion about the origins of COVID-19.
"There is not a consensus right now in the U.S. government about exactly how COVID started," said White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby. "There is just not an intelligence community consensus."
Economic Danger, TikTok Threat
The committee also heard testimony on China's threat to the U.S. economy as well as security concerns surrounding China's social media app TikTok.
"It gives the Chinese Communist Party the ability to manipulate our social discourse, the news," said Former Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger.
Meanwhile, the committee is encouraging Congress get busy passing laws to counter China's influence in this legislative session.
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