January 02, 2021

Chairman Risch: China is the Greatest Challenge of this Century

BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today highlighted significant achievements and steps taken during his first term as chairman to counter the challenges the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pose to the United States and its allies and partners.

“China is a strategic and global competitor of the United States, and is the greatest foreign policy challenge we face this century,” said Risch. “Over the course of my first term as chairman, I have made it a priority to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, as well as with allies and partners abroad, to find comprehensive policies and solutions to advance our shared interests and values and counter the CCP’s growing malign influence across the globe. As we look to the 117th Congress, it will be my highest priority to continue the progress we’ve made to protect our freedoms, build resiliency, and uphold the interests and values we share with our democratic allies.”

Risch frequently lists China as his top priority on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and has marked the last two years by introducing and advancing several legislative packages, including introducing the first comprehensive legislative strategy to compete with the PRC across a number of areas. He also delivered several speeches at prominent conferences and think tank events, and published an influential report on how the United States and its transatlantic allies should tackle shared challenges posed by the Chinese government in the coming years and decades. Risch has been a champion for human rights in China by standing up for autonomy in Hong Kong, highlighting the horrific human rights abuses against ethnic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, and advocating for the religious freedom of Tibetans and Christians throughout China.

Among Risch’s achievements this Congress are:

The STRATEGIC Act

Risch introduced the Strengthening Trade, Regional Alliances, Technology, and Economic and Geopolitical Initiatives Concerning China Act (The STRATEGIC Act), the first comprehensive legislation to advance a strategy for U.S. competition with the PRC.

“The STRATEGIC Act is intended to provide a U.S. strategy that will safeguard the interests shared by the United States and our allies and partners, and retain our position as a global leader,” said Risch. “The PRC government needs to know that the risks of seeking to dominate other states outweigh the benefits, and this comprehensive legislation provides tough new measures aimed at leveling the playing field. There was both Republican and Democratic input into this bill, and I plan to move this legislation forward on a bipartisan basis in the coming Congress.”

STRATEGIC Act in the news:

China-Europe Committee Report

Risch published a committee report entitled “The United States and Europe: A Concrete Agenda for Transatlantic Cooperation on China” to advance greater collaboration between the United States and Europe on the challenges posed by China. The report was published during an event with Risch’s counterparts in the EU and U.K.

“Throughout my years in the Senate, I have advocated for close ties between the United States and Europe, and will continue to do so,” said Risch. “This report summarizes the universe of shared challenges that the U.S. and Europe face as it pertains to China, and offers logical solutions that we can implement now and over the next decade. Both sides of the Atlantic must continue these important discussions chart a cooperative path forward on China.”

China-Europe report in the news:

Speeches and Events

On November 12, 2019, Risch spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on the growing economic, political, and military challenges that China’s behavior presents to the United States, Europe, and across the globe, and the need for a cohesive transatlantic strategy and policy response.

On November 25, 2019, Risch participated in a moderated discussion at the Halifax International Security Forum where he focused on China’s global economic and political influence, and the need for the United States and its allies to work together to develop a cohesive strategy to compete with China.

On March 5, 2020, Risch co-hosted an event with the European Parliament highlighting the dire situation of Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslim minorities in China.

On September 23, 2020, Risch gave virtual remarks during the Center for European Policy Analysis Forum in which he discussed the transatlantic alliance and the shared threat that China’s policies pose to the United States and Europe.

On December 9, 2020, Risch provided virtual remarks during the Atlantic Council’s Free World Commission hearing in which he discussed how allied democracies can better coordinate on addressing the challenges that China poses.

Legislation

Countering China:

  • Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act (S.1838) – signed into law on November 27, 2019.
  • Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (S.3744) – signed into law on June 17, 2020.
  • Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2019 (S.2539) – signed into law on December 27, 2020.
  • S.Res.221 – A resolution recognizing the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre and condemning the intensifying repression and human rights violations by the Chinese Communist Party and the use of surveillance by Chinese authorities, and for other purposes – agreed to in the Senate on June 5, 2019.
  • S.Res.760 – A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the atrocities perpetrated by the Government of the People's Republic of China against Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region constitutes genocide – introduced on October 26, 2020.

Building Alliances and Partnerships:

  • S.Res.96 – A resolution commending the Government of Canada for upholding the rule of law and expressing concern over actions by the Government of the People's Republic of China in response to a request from the United States Government to the Government of Canada for the extradition of a Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. executive – agreed to in the Senate on May 7, 2019.
  • S.Res.183 – A resolution reaffirming the vital role of the United States-Japan alliance in promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, and for other purposes – agreed to in the senate on October 29, 2019.
  • S.Res.435 – A resolution reaffirming the importance of the General Security of Military Information Agreement between the Republic of Korea and Japan, and for other purposes – agreed to in the Senate on November 21, 2019.
  • S.Con.Res.13 – A concurrent resolution reaffirming the United States commitment to Taiwan and to the implementation of the Taiwan Relations Act – agreed to in the Senate on April 30, 2019.
  • S.Res.406 – A resolution recognizing that for 50 years, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its ten members, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, have worked with the United States toward stability, prosperity, and peace in Southeast Asia, and expressing the sense of the Senate that the United States will continue to remain a strong, reliable, and active partner in the ASEAN region – agreed to in the Senate on January 1, 2021.

Committee Hearings

Risch chaired the following hearings on China during the 116th Congress:

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