Wuhan Lab, Fentanyl And Nuclear Weapons: Defense Bill Takes Aim At China, But Leaves Out Key Restrictions

  • The National Defense Authorization Act of 2024 includes some measures to counter Chinese influence, but many others have been dropped.
  • Items in the bill include whether defense funds were used for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, whether the Chinese government supported Mexican drug cartels, and whether it requires the United States to remove China from the list of “developing countries.” However, the items excluded are wide-ranging from Chinese studies. Africa's role in embargoing arms exports to Hong Kong.
  • “[N]A compromise between the Democratic-led Senate and the White House would be perfect,” House Speaker Mike Johnson wrote in a letter to colleagues.

Congress' compromise National Defense Authorization Act of 2024 (NDAA) takes aim at China by scrutinizing its ties to Mexico's drug cartels and Russia, while also omitting key restrictions.

Government officials said both Major political parties often said Countering China's rise is a top priority for American foreign policy. On December 6, Congressional leaders issued a 3,093-page document. report The NDAA compromise includes several measures to counter Chinese influence, including an extension of the ban on arms exports and a study of Chinese influence abroad. Dozens of other items were withdrawn. (Related: House Republicans oppose potential extension of intelligence agencies' warrantless surveillance programs)

“We were successful in reducing redundant provisions in time for the NDAA, as evidenced by the fact that the final bill is 2,100 pages shorter than last year. The compromise is not perfect, but the final outcome includes meaningful changes,” House Speaker Mike Johnson said in a letter to his congressional colleagues shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “[O]The National Defense Authorization Act's reviewers reached an agreement with senators that delivers on our promise to focus the bill on core national defense priorities. ”

China-related items include asking the Department of Defense (DOD) to investigate whether some funds were diverted to fund the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a Chinese research facility widely believed to be the source of the virus. It also includes a clause requiring them to do so. Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Laboratory Leak.

Multiple U.S. government assessments have concluded that the virus is likely to be transmitted. leaked The research comes from a Chinese lab, and the Wuhan lab received U.S. taxpayer funding from the National Institutes of Health through the EcoHealth Alliance for coronavirus research before the pandemic. The NDAA prohibits both the Wuhan Institute and EcoHealth Alliance from receiving funding from the Department of Defense.

The provision also mandates an investigation into whether Pentagon funds were received by the People's Liberation Army, the military wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that makes up China's military. Another provision calls on the Pentagon to investigate whether the Chinese Communist Party supplied Mexican drug cartels with ingredients to make fentanyl. Chinese precursor chemicals The purpose is to manufacture and ultimately smuggle fentanyl into the United States.

Apart from these investigations, the NDAA also calls on the government to oppose the classification of China as a “developing country” and pursue efforts to revoke that status. China's nominal gross domestic product (GDP) is the second largest in the world, $17.9 trillion Although the poverty rate is 0.6%, it is still classified as a “developing country” by many organizations such as the World Trade Organization. favorable treatment.

The bill would also require intelligence officials to notify Congress if China cooperates with Russia in any way regarding their respective nuclear weapons. China and Russia currently have an “unrestricted” strategic partnership, which deepened further as the West isolated Russia during its war with Ukraine.

However, several other China-related measures were dropped during the negotiations. These included a provision prohibiting EcoHealth Alliance from funding Chinese government-supported research projects.

Other items removed from the bill include a ban on the Pentagon's funding of the Chinese film industry, a requirement to issue a Pentagon report on China's presence in Africa and the Arctic, and a requirement that China This included a commissioned study on how to stop fuel shipments. A military conflict.Government extends ban on arms exports to Hong Kong suppressed The democracy movement was also abolished.

Johnson and Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, chairman of the Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and Communist Party of China, did not respond to requests for comment.

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