Senator Tom Cotton, Banks Introduce the Countering Chinese Propaganda Act

Today, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Representative Jim Banks (R-Indiana) introduced the Countering Chinese Propaganda Act

The bill is based on recommendations from the Republican Study Committee’s National Security Strategy and authorizessanctions against the United Front Work Department (UFWD), which is an overseas influence arm of the Chinese Communist Party. 

“The Chinese Communist Party expands its disinformation campaign each day–concealing information regarding the origin of COVID-19, lying about its oppression of Uyghurs and other religious minorities, and infiltrating American universities and businesses. The United Front Work Department (UFWD) is just another venue for the CCP to spread its propaganda and to coopt foreign groups to toe the CCP line. We must put an end to their tactics,” said Cotton. 

“The United Front participated directly in the Uyghur genocide and the oppression of Christians in China—but its ultimate goal is to spread those persecutory tactics around the globe. The leadership in Washington may have changed, but China’s political warfare hasn’t. It’s fallen to Congress to expose and counter Communist Party disinformation. We can’t back down now,” said Banks.

The legislation: 

  • Creates a new sanctions authority against state backed disinformation networks.
  • Requires the Secretary of State to examine whether or not the United Front Work Department meets the criteria to be sanctioned under this new authority. 

Additional Background: 

On December 2, 2020 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took the historic step of imposing visa sanctions on individuals active in the UFWD.  

Chairman Xi has described the United Front as a “magic weapon” that will help bring about “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” 

The United Front has led aggressive campaigns of subversion and espionage on U.S. college campuses through the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) and Chinese-language centers called Confucius Institutes. The United Front has also funded a number of think tanks in Washington D.C., and co-opted business leaders to squash criticism of China. Despite this information, there are currently over a hundred United Front organizations that openly operate in the United States.

Republican Study Committee Member Rep. Jody Hice sent a letter today to the Carter Center in Georgia expressing concern over the group’s decision to co-host an event with the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament, which is an organization affiliated with the United Front of the Chinese Communist Party. 

The text of the Countering Chinese Propaganda Act can be found here