AG Barr’s searing indictment of China’s communists did not spare Hollywood, Silicon Valley

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By John J. Metzler

In a sweeping, scathing and searingly poignant speech, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr swept back the curtain on China’s communist regime in a tour de force rarely seen.

His focus centered not only on China’s rulers menacing their own people and those of East Asia, but also specifically underscored the clear and present danger the People’s Republic of China poses to the United States in the economic, educational, technological and strategic sectors.

This needed to be said.

Attorney General Barr at the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum in Michigan: ‘The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) . . . . seeks to leverage the immense power, productivity, and ingenuity of the Chinese people to overthrow the rules-based international system and to make the world safe for dictatorship.” / YouTube image

Speaking at the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum in Michigan, Attorney General Barr stated, “The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) rules with an iron fist over one of the great ancient civilizations of the world.  It seeks to leverage the immense power, productivity, and ingenuity of the Chinese people to overthrow the rules-based international system and to make the world safe for dictatorship.”

China’s economic reform process began in 1978, precisely to save the Chinese Mainland from the economic catastrophe of Mao Tse-tung’s state socialism.

Barr stated, “Deng Xiaoping, whose economic reforms launched China’s remarkable rise, had a famous motto: ‘hide your strength and bide your time.’  That is precisely what China has done.  China’s economy has quietly grown from about 2 percent of the world’s GDP in 1980 to nearly 20 percent today.”

Fast forward a generation. As the Attorney General stated,  “The People’s Republic of China is now engaged in an economic blitzkrieg, an aggressive, orchestrated, whole-of-government  campaign to seize the commanding heights of the global economy and to surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent superpower.”

He cited, “the Made in China 2025 initiative, a plan for PRC domination of high-tech industries like robotics, advanced information technology, aviation, and electric vehicles.  Backed by hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies, this initiative poses a real threat to U.S. technological leadership.”

Bill Barr added, “Made in China 2025 is the latest iteration of the PRC’s state-led, mercantilist economic model.  For American companies in the global marketplace, free and fair competition with China has long been a fantasy.”

He advised, “Although Americans hoped that trade and investment would liberalize China’s political system, the fundamental character of the regime has never changed.  As its ruthless crackdown of Hong Kong demonstrates once again, China is no closer to democracy today than it was in 1989 when tanks confronted pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square.”

“But instead of America changing China, China is leveraging its economic power to change America,” the Attorney General admonished.

After illustrating America’s dangerous dependence on Chinese manufactured medical gear, and pharmaceuticals, especially during the global Coronavirus pandemic, Bill Barr widened his lens to include the role Hollywood is playing to appease Beijing as to profit in the Chinese entertainment market.

“Hollywood actors, producers, and directors pride themselves on celebrating freedom and the human spirit.  And every year at the Academy Awards, Americans are lectured about how this country falls short of Hollywood’s ideals of social justice,” Barr stated before admonishing, “But Hollywood now regularly censors its own movies to appease the Chinese Communist Party, the world’s most powerful violator of human rights.”

He stressed, “This censorship infects not only versions of movies that are released in China, but also many that are shown in American theaters to American audiences.”  Topics considered politically sensitive, such as Tibet and human rights, must be censored from American films for screening in the Mainland market.

“Hollywood is far from alone in kowtowing to the PRC,” Barr said while adding, “America’s big tech companies have also allowed themselves to become pawns of Chinese influence.”  The Attorney General stated scathingly, “Over the years, corporations such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Apple have shown themselves all too willing to collaborate with the CCP.”

As the Attorney General concedes, “The CCP has long used public threats of retaliation and barred market access to exert influence.”  That’s a chilling prospect which American business rarely considers or blithely rationalizes.

Concluding, Attorney General Barr warned, “Globalization does not always point in the direction of greater freedom.  A world marching to the beat of Communist China’s drums will not be a hospitable one for institutions that depend on free markets, free trade, or the free exchange of ideas.”

After many U.S. Administrations sat by the sidelines while China reaped the benefits of unfair trade, now at long last the Trump Administration has pushed back to Beijing. America is challenging Chairman Xi Jinping’s China in the global arena.  It’s long overdue that the USA and Canada awaken to communist China’s challenge.

John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and defense issues. He is the author of Divided Dynamism the Diplomacy of Separated Nations: Germany, Korea, China (2014). [See pre-2011 Archives]