China Is an Existential Threat to the U.S. | Opinion

The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by Gordon Chang during a Newsweek podcast debate on China. You can listen to the podcast here:

I believe that China is a threat to the United States and to the international community. I also believe it's more than just a competitor, as president Biden has said, and it's more than just an adversary. It is actually our enemy.

We don't need to speculate about that because in May 2019, People's Daily, the most authoritative publication in China, declared a "people's war" on the U.S. That's more than just rhetoric. We know that the tactics against us have been malicious and they have pursued them relentlessly.

For instance, we know that last year, and perhaps the beginning of this year, that China was inciting violence on American streets with a purpose of overthrowing our government. That's more than just subversion. That's an act of war. We have seen, perhaps, China actually organize demonstrators on American streets. There is credible evidence of that—especially May 31, one block north of the White House, the night that St. John's Church was burned.

But in any event, we know that China has been malicious. They're accusing the U.S. of starting COVID-19. And this has been a constant propaganda theme of China's. We know that China steals hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. intellectual property each year. China is attempting to take down our government, and we've got to understand that our policies have got to be reciprocal.

We need to treat China the way it treats us.

America wants to have a good relationship with China as we do with other countries. It's just that China has made that extremely difficult, especially in recent years. China should understand that the rules-based international system is something that they benefit from. But in fact, they don't. And recently, we've even heard from the Chinese foreign ministry that they reject the rules-based international order. They say it's the U.S. version of the law of the jungle. So unfortunately, they don't accept it. And we've heard from Xi Jinping and from his officials that they believe that the current international order is no longer appropriate, that it should be replaced.

China existential threat
BEIJING, CHINA - JULY 01: Chinese President and Chairman of the Communist Party Xi Jinping is seen on a screen as the crowd listens during his speech at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party at Tiananmen Square on July 1, 2021 in Beijing, China. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

They talk about "tianxia" or "all under heaven," referring to the ideology of two millennia of Chinese emperors who not only had the right to rule all under heaven, but in fact, heaven compelled them to do so. Now, of course they didn't, but that's their ideology. And that's what Xi Jinping and his officials are now talking about.

So they don't want to compete with the U.S. in the international system. They don't even want to adjust that system to be more to China's liking. In fact, they want to overthrow it all together.

We should listen to what Chinese officials say because that is the best indication of what they're thinking, in terms of what China is doing.

Yes, China does benefit from the American market, but they are trying to compete with us in ways which are destructive.

Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China. Follow him on Twitter: @GordonGChang.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.