McCaul on Anniversary of Westminster Address: UK and US Must Defend Democracies Against CCPPress Release
Washington D.C. – Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Republican Leader on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to British Ambassador Karen Pierce seeking input on policy solutions to address the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) malign behavior on the world stage, including more information on the United Kingdom’s recent “D10” proposal. On the anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s Westminster address, McCaul called for the United Kingdom and United States to band together with our allies and partners to defend democracy against the CCP’s authoritarian agenda. In the letter, he wrote:
“I write to you on the anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s historic Westminster address to assure you that we in the United States stand ready to work with the United Kingdom and other likeminded allies to push back against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) malign influence on democracies around the globe, in the same spirit of our joint stand for liberty against Soviet tyranny...As we have discussed, I am the chair of the new China Task Force that is charged with developing new and enduring policy solutions to address the CCP’s malign agenda and better compete with China on the world stage. I would greatly value receiving any inputs you may want to provide, including on the UK’s recent proposal to form a “D10” coalition of democratic partners to address issues such as reducing our reliance on and providing alternatives to the Chinese tech firm Huawei.”
Full text of the letter can be found here or below:
Dear Ambassador Pierce:
I write to you on the anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s historic Westminster address to assure you that we in the United States stand ready to work with the United Kingdom and other likeminded allies to push back against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) malign influence on democracies around the globe, in the same spirit of our joint stand for liberty against Soviet tyranny.
Today, the CCP poses the greatest threat to the liberal world order since the end of the Cold War. The COVID-19 pandemic has irrefutably exposed the true nature of the CCP and why open and democratic societies must once again build a coalition that seeks to protect and foster democratic values, religious freedom and human rights around the world.
Beijing has exploited its enormous access to the global economy by using its leverage to silence anyone, from corporations to politicians, that might criticize CCP policies. It is exporting debt, corruption, unconscionable labor practices, authoritarian governance, and Orwellian domestic surveillance technology through its Belt and Road Initiative. At home, it eliminates political dissent, censors free speech and religious text, and rounds up and oppresses ethnic and religious minorities, including Uighurs, Tibetans and Christians. As you know, the CCP also seeks to play a leading role in multilateral bodies to shape global governance to better suit its interests.
Yet, the CCP touts China’s model of governance as superior to that of liberal democracy. A central theme of China’s propaganda campaign surrounding the coronavirus has been that authoritarian governments are more capable of responding to the pandemic. To aggressively combat this fallacy, we must emphasize the superiority and legitimacy of the democratic model just as President Reagan did when he contended before your Parliament that “the march of freedom and democracy” would “leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.”
At the time President Reagan spoke, his optimism was not shared by many who stood by and watched as the Soviet Union suppressed democratic movements, such as Poland’s Solidarity, and supported communist regimes well beyond its borders, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua. However, President Reagan found hope in what he saw as man’s instinctive desire for human dignity and freedom surfacing time and again behind the Iron Curtain.
I am heartened to see this same instinctive desire driving people to push back against the CCP’s repression and brutality today. In particular, the continued determination of Hong Kongers to stand up against the CCP’s relentless attempts to undermine their freedoms and autonomy vividly demonstrates that democracy remains a universal aspiration. They are among today’s flag bearers for “the march of freedom and democracy” that President Reagan knew would triumph.
As you well know, President Reagan also used the Westminster address as a call to action. While he contended that “democracy is not a fragile flower,” he also believed the growth of freedom and democratic ideals would require the active support of free and open societies. In the United States, this led to the creation of organizations like the National Endowment of Democracy, the International Republican Institute, and the National Democratic Institute that have since become critical components of America’s continued support for democracy around the globe.
The free world is once again waking up to the fact that we face a threat to our way of life. Governments like ours are starting to take real actions to challenge the CCP as it consolidates power at the expense of freedom around the world. We must fully seize the legacy of President Reagan’s Westminster address now and embark on a renewed global campaign in support of democracy to push back against the CCP’s malign influence. Toward that end, I want to thank you for your government’s decision to offer residency to Hong Kongers if China’s new national security law is imposed. As you know, our Administration is closing the chapter on our prior approach with the CCP, including by determining that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous.
Yet, the threat posed by the CCP’s authoritarian system expands well beyond its borders. We need to work with likeminded allies and partners to develop new ways to make susceptible nations more capable of defending themselves against the corrosive effect of the CCP’s malign influence. Addressing this issue will require not only jointly standing up for democratic values, the rule of law and human rights in the face of the CCP’s repression, but also cooperating on countering disinformation, diversifying trade, reviewing supply chains, protecting the critical infrastructure and strategic sectors of our economies, and re-examining R&D collaboration and academic ties that support China’s military-civil fusion strategy.
As we have discussed, I am the chair of the new China Task Force that is charged with developing new and enduring policy solutions to address the CCP’s malign agenda and better compete with China on the world stage. I would greatly value receiving any inputs you may want to provide, including on the UK’s recent proposal to form a “D10” coalition of democratic partners to address issues such as reducing our reliance on and providing alternatives to the Chinese tech firm Huawei. In addition, I look forward to sharing our comprehensive report and recommendations with you in the fall.
What President Reagan declared before the British Parliament on this day in 1982 remains as true today as it did then: the triumph of democratic governance, individual liberty, and internationally recognized human rights poses the greatest threat to authoritarian regimes like that of the CCP. We have harnessed our special relationship many times throughout history to ensure the triumph of democratic values and freedom. I hope to do so once again and begin a focused dialogue with you and your government on how our two countries can best work together and with likeminded allies on a renewed campaign to push back against the CCP’s global malign influence. I look forward to talking with you again soon on this great challenge of our generation.
MICHAEL T. McCAUL
House Foreign Affairs Committee