World America's best defense against China's mushrooming international corruption is dangling by a thread
In rebuke of Biden’s proposed Pentagon budget cut, senators add $25 billion to annual defense policy bill
BOOSTING THE DOD TOPLINE BY $25B: In the end, the argument that the United States has to do far more now to build up its military or risk inviting a war with China over Taiwan carried the day and resulted in the Senate Armed Services Committee’s 23-3 vote Wednesday night to authorize an additional $25 billion to the Pentagon’s budget for 2022. © Provided by Washington Examiner DOD header 2020 The vote on the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act was a rebuke of the Biden administration’s argument that the administration’s proposed $715 billion spending plan adequately balanced current and future needs.
- China has elevated the art of state-backed corruption to a new and dangerous level.
- How Congress responds will define whether the US spends the next quarter century leading on anticorruption, or reacting to an increasingly destabilizing series of Chinese kleptocracy.
- A bipartisan bill to counteract China's strategic use of corruption was just passed and should be included in any final China-focused bill that Congress approves
- Scott Greytak is the Director of Advocacy for the US office of Transparency International.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke to the world in anfrom Tiananmen Square. Xi boasted of China's "new model for human advancement" and the Chinese Communist Party's intent to "build a new type of international relations." Any foreign force that would attempt to bully the Chinese people, the president said, would " ."
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US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Tuesday that China's claims and actions in the Indo-Pacific threaten the sovereignty of nations around the region while Washington is committed to building partnerships that guarantee the vital interest of all nations. © Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin holds a news conference on July 21, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. "Beijing's claim to the vast majority of the South China Sea has no basis in international law.
The world's diplomats are increasingly learning to take China at its word. Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi recently warned of the growing collaboration between the Chinese and Russian governments. That renewed friendship could mean a fresh surge inthat threatens American national security and weakens our competitiveness abroad.
Congress is fighting back with its own toolkit designed to counter the growing influence of Chinese and Russian corruption campaigns. The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently passed the Countering Russian and Other Overseas Kleptocracy Act (CROOK Act), mile-marking legislation on the US'sto fighting global corruption that would establish for the first time a dedicated "Anti-Corruption Action Fund." That fund can be used to support anti-corruption efforts abroad, including efforts to counteract China's strategic use of corruption to grow its economic and political influence in key parts of the world.
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Henan adheres to a familiar formula in Xi Jinping's China: Authorities turn tragedy into triumph, while controlling victims' narratives.Chen Yuanqiu lived nearby. He had witnessed the flood and knew that during rush hour the tunnel could be clogged with hundreds of cars. The government said that only six people had drowned. But rumors in chat groups suggested that bodies were being taken out of the tunnel in secret.
Thearrives just as Congress begins its negotiations over a broader China-focused bill, a key piece of foreign policy legislation that the Biden administration is eager to pass with bipartisan support. Those discussions present a timely and consequential opportunity to kickstart a wide-ranging approach to fighting Chinese corruption campaigns abroad. The quickest way to strengthen America's defenses is to ensure CROOK is included in the final China-focused package.
While the CROOK Act has broad applications for combating the rising tide of kleptocracy - which translates to "rule by thieves" - and other examples of state-sponsored corruption around the world, China has elevated the art of state-backed grifting to a new and dangerous level. The Chinese Community Party is now notorious for using bribery and other forms of corruption to expand China's economic and political influence across the world, undermining the rule of law and democratic systems along the way.
China Sends Sharp-Tongued Diplomat as Ambassador to U.S.
China dispatched a veteran diplomat known for pushing back against Western criticism to serve as its next ambassador to the U.S., an appointment that suggests Beijing is bracing for a period of prolonged tension with Washington. © Bloomberg China Sends Sharp-Tongued Diplomat as Ambassador to Washington Qin Gang, 55, who most recently served as vice foreign minister, arrived in the U.S. Wednesday to fill the post vacated last month by long-time ambassador, Cui Tiankai, according to a statement from the Chinese Embassy. He told a press briefing that he would work “to safeguard the foundation of China-U.S.
At Transparency International, we've seen China's trail of corruption snake into nearly every part of the world, from Africa to Southeast Asia to Mexico. In many cases, the social and economic chaos that follows further destabilizes regions, and resets the clock on good government.
The presidents of Chad and Uganda, for example, were offered bribes of $2 million and $500,000, respectively, by the chief executive of a Chinese energy conglomerate closely aligned with the Chinese government in exchange for opening the countries' oil and gas markets to Chinese businesses. Through such wide-ranging corruption schemes that exploit developing nations, China is able to ""
In both Chad and Uganda, prominent local advocates and politicians, including Chadian opposition party leader Succès Masra and Ugandan presidential candidate Bobi Wine, have called on the US to help promote civic rights and accountability in government. In those countries, targeted new support for strengthening anti-corruption legal and institutional frameworks, and for effectively pursuing cases of grand corruption, respectively, could help ensure more robust civic spaces and more competitive business climates.
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A fleet of British ships is currently sailing through the South China Sea en route to Japan.'The People's Liberation Army Navy is at a high state of combat readiness' says the pro-government Global Times, seen as a mouthpiece for the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Nowhere is China's corruption on such open display as in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an international corruption scheme cloaked in the language of economic development and interconnectedness. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies notes that for China, the opportunities for state-sponsored corruption aren't a bug in the BRI's programming - they're a key feature.
"Chinese-driven corruption now permeates high-profile BRI projects," writes Foundation for Defense of Democracies Senior Advisor. "Chinese influence is still near its high-water mark," she observes, and "BRI recipients may be even more dependent on Beijing as they grapple with post-pandemic economic recovery."
Each and every corrupt and destabilizing deal inked by the Chinese government has ripple effects for American economic vitality and national security. Without new tools for countering China's exporting of corruption, the United States will eventually feel the economic and governance hangover of Chinese corruption. That's where CROOK comes into play.
CROOK would help counter foreign corrupting influence across the globe by deploying rapid-response resources to anti-corruption voices in foreign governments, civil society groups, and media organizations when integrity is under threat. CROOK's dedicated anti-corruption funds will build a backstop for clean and ethical governance, and help anti-corruption champions fight back against authoritarian influence.
Beijing Games: Sports coverage fine, other things maybe not
TOKYO (AP) — The IOC says the Olympics are only about the sports; no politics allowed. This will be the mantra, as it always is, when the Beijing Winter Games open in six months. Covering ski races or figure-skating finals should be painless; just stay in the sports bubble and out of trouble. But reporters from other countries who puncture the PR skin to explore other aspects of life in China — as they have in Japan during the Tokyo Olympics — could draw more than criticism. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File) Covering ski races or figure-skating finals should be painless; just stay in the sports bubble and out of trouble.
The flexibility of CROOK funds is what gives the law an outsized impact. US foreign aid is often planned years in advance, has already been spoken for, or is beset by bureaucracy and red tape. CROOK takes a different path by allowing the US government to disperse anti-corruption funds in a variety of ways depending on the situation on the ground. This flexibility is key for meeting moments of opportunity, crisis, or transition.
For example, with a longer runway, grantees could apply for and receive CROOK funds through a competitive review process. With a shorter response window, recipients could be chosen from a pool of pre-cleared grantees. And when time is truly of the essence, US ambassadors could disperse CROOK funds at their discretion, akin to how the US Agency for International Development provides disaster relief.
The CROOK Act presents an opportunity for Congress to make substantive improvements to America's economic security, while also proving that our lawmakers can still come together to address critical issues of international importance. Without CROOK's improved protections, American companies doing business abroad will eventually fall into China's influence trap. At that point, preventative policy measures will be too little, too late.
How Congress responds to China's increasingly blatant international corruption will define whether the United States spends the next quarter century leading on anti corruption or reacting to an increasingly destabilizing series of Chinese adventures in open-air kleptocracy. The full House of Representatives and Senate must now act with a shared sense of purpose and urgency to ensure that the CROOK Act is included in their final China-focused policy package.
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