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Backlash against anti-China moves grows

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-07-14 09:30
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With yet more legislation in US Congress, peace, rights activists condemn actions

Hot on the heels of the latest anti-China legislation to be passed by the US Senate, lawmakers in the House of Representatives have introduced a bill aimed at further countering China. But with the intensified political action against China, peace and human rights advocates have been stepping up to condemn the legislative moves.

The Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement Act, also known as the Eagle Act, would commit over $200 million to the US military buildup in the Asia-Pacific region. It would, if passed by the House, encourage Taiwan and US allies in the region to heavily invest in weapons and munitions "to meet contingency requirements and avoid the need for accessing United States stocks in wartime".

Early last month, the Senate passed the US Innovation and Competition Act, which would provide for investments of about $250 billion over the next five years in technology and research to boost competitiveness against China.

But a backlash against the legislative maneuvers-coming on top of earlier actions taken by US lawmakers-is gaining momentum.

The bill before the House "provokes conflict and begins the buildup for a protracted war over Taiwan", and "these buildups cannot reasonably be called deterrence while this bill also agitates existing agreements for peace like the one-China policy," CodePink, an anti-war group in California, said in a petition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The group, along with Pivot to Peace, RootsAction, World Beyond War, and local activists protested against the bill in front of Pelosi's home in San Francisco on Sunday. Holding signs that read "No War on China" and "China is not an enemy", the activists urged Pelosi to block a vote on the bill unless its military funding for the Asia-Pacific region and antagonistic rhetoric toward Beijing are removed.

"The US is continuing its aggression toward China, and the Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement Act is just one element of this multi-pronged hybrid war," said CodePink co-founder Jodie Evans.

"If you care about the climate, the only thing that there can be is cooperation with China; if you care about human rights, human rights are the first casualty of war," she said at the protest.

She also said the language in the Eagle Act and the bills passed by the Senate incite hatred toward China, and the consistent anti-China rhetoric "paves the way for more dangerous, and potentially deadly, scapegoating of not just China's politicians and leaders but all Chinese and Chinese-perceived people".

Anti-China actions by US lawmakers have been steadily increasing.

The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in May passed the US Strategic Competition Act of 2021, which authorizes $300 million to be appropriated for each fiscal year to "counter the malign influence of the Chinese Communist Party globally".Then came the Senate's approval of the US Innovation and Competition Act last month.

"Both the Senate and the House have provisions that continue to treat Taiwan as a vital part of America's Indo-Pacific strategy," Pivot to Peace co-founder Julie Tang said.

The Senate's version would allow US government officials to interact "directly and routinely" with officials of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party and force the US Department of State to change other diplomatic protocols toward Taiwan, said Tang.

"The reversal of current protocols allows the US to move toward a commitment to oppose unification militarily. The Eagle Act, for now, has refrained from that posture," she said, "We are concerned that the House would buckle down to the Senate's hawkish version.

"These changes would materially change the one-China agreement and push China into war over the Taiwan question."

Tang said that of most concern are the Eagle Act's provision for $200 million in funding for "international militarization and education" and the $10 million to promote so-called democracy in Hong Kong.

"This money would break up Hong Kong and bring it back to the chaos of 2019," she said. "The US invaded countries such as Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan. After the invasion, there were over 1 million dead and hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing into Europe from those Muslim countries. The countries were much worse off after the US' invasion."

Jeffrey Shurtleff, a human rights activist, told China Daily: "Through history, the United States and other colonial powers have tried to divide China. We have been told that Hong Kong is a democracy separate from China. These are lies.

"There has been 'free Xinjiang' and 'free Xizang (Tibet)'. This is inside of China; it has nothing to do with America. There is one China," said Shurtleff, who also participated in Sunday's protest.

"I have worked for human rights and for Amnesty International, and we have been wrong. We have been wrong many times, unknowingly," he said.

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