Sen. Ted Cruz will declare China “the most dangerous geopolitical threat” facing the United States during a speech Thursday on the Senate floor as he introduces legislation targeting China, Hollywood, and Chinese Communist Party propaganda.
The Texas Republican’s speech, an advance copy of which was seen by the Washington Examiner, argues that the U.S. needs a “fundamental reassessment” of how it deals with China, especially following the coronavirus pandemic that originated there. Cruz will also introduce three bills on Thursday, the legislative text of which was also reviewed by the Washington Examiner, which focus on “how we unwind from China.”
The Ending Medical Censorship and Cover Ups in China Act would sanction Chinese government officials who engage in medical cover-ups or in political censorship. The Stopping Censorship, Restoring Integrity, and Protecting Talkies Act would cut off any Hollywood studio from federal assistance if it decides to self-censor its films to get them played in China. And the Blocking Evasive Attempts to Manipulate Signals Act would close an apparent loophole in Federal Communications Commission regulations that currently allows China to purchase Mexican radio stations and beam its propaganda into the U.S.
“I’m introducing these three bills to thwart China’s attempts to force Americans to self-censor, to spread propaganda, and to silence Chinese doctors, journalists, and activists who try to tell the truth about diseases and pathogens,” Cruz will say in his speech. “These bills are part of a larger endeavor to untangle the United States from China’s web and to hold the Chinese government accountable for hiding the truth about coronavirus from the world and sparking a deadly and devastating pandemic.”
The Ending Medical Censorship and Cover Ups in China Act would require the president to provide congressional committees with a list of people who have “engaged in censorship or other activities with respect to the People’s Republic of China.” This would sanction those who “prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of the People’s Republic of China”; those who “penalize citizens of the People’s Republic of China for the public dissemination of accurate epidemiological information, including information related to emerging diseases or pathogens”; and those who “limit access to print, broadcast, digital, or social media.”
There is well-documented evidence that China covered up the coronavirus’s spread, muzzled whistleblowers, intimidated doctors, misled the World Health Organization, and blocked outside health experts. Studies indicated that if China had acted faster, the global spread would’ve been greatly reduced.
Last month, it was reported that the U.S. intelligence community believed the Chinese Communist Party downplayed the severity of the initial coronavirus outbreak and that China continued to mislead about the infection rate and death toll inside the country. Beijing has denied orchestrating a cover-up of its coronavirus response.
“This legislation would impose visa bans and asset blocks on those who punish or censor Chinese citizens for reporting accurate information about a disease or pathogen, and hopefully help prevent something like this from ever happening again in China,” Cruz will say.
The SCRIPT Act says the president may only authorize the provision of technical support or access to U.S. government assets or allow the government to enter into a contract relating to the funding of a film by a U.S. company if the studio agrees in writing that it will not “alter the content of the film in response to, or in anticipation of, a request by an official of the Government of the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party.” The bill states the president cannot authorize aid for a film co-produced by an entity in China that would be subject to Chinese censorship.
When Cruz’s proposed legislation was first reported by Politico, it only applied to the Pentagon, but the legislation now covers the entire U.S. government.
In the upcoming film Top Gun: Maverick, it appears that the Taiwanese and Japanese flags and the U.S.S. Galveston patch on the back of Maverick’s jacket were removed. That would not be the first example of Hollywood censorship seemingly bowing to China. Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality in 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody was censored for Chinese audiences. In the 2012 Red Dawn remake, the occupiers of the U.S. were switched from Chinese to North Koreans. The Skyfall James Bond film in 2012 was edited in China to downplay torture by Chinese law enforcement. Mission Impossible: III in 2006 had a Shanghai scene cut because censors thought it portrayed the city unfavorably.
“Hollywood producers who claim to support the First Amendment and free speech readily let the Chinese government censor,” Cruz’s speech reads. “The truth is that Hollywood is afraid to stand up for free speech and is enabling the Chinese government’s censorship practices when it allows edits to movies.”
The text of the BEAMS Act says the FCC may not grant an application for the transfer of a permit that proposes a change in the broadcast programming’s primary language unless the FCC certifies to Congress that “the radio station is not, and will not become, subject to undue influence by a foreign government or a political party in power in a foreign country.”
Cruz’s bill stems from a Phoenix TV radio station owned by China, which uses a broadcast tower in Mexico to send Chinese government propaganda into Southern California. The Free Beacon reported that the Mexican station was bought by a China-linked investment group in 2018 and now beams out Chinese propaganda. Phoenix TV came under scrutiny this year when a journalist from the outlet questioned President Trump during a White House coronavirus task force press briefing.
“The Chinese government also attempts to spread propaganda in the United States by simply buying media outlets, sometimes directly but increasingly through convoluted schemes and cutouts,” Cruz’s speech says. “Enough is enough.”
Cruz will conclude by saying: “It is clear that China is our most dangerous geopolitical threat now and through the next century” and that “we need to do everything we can to address that threat.”
Author: Jerry Dunleavy
Source: Washington Examiner: Ted Cruz legislation targets Chinese cover-ups, Hollywood censorship, and CCP propaganda