Yes, Let's Ban Chinese Communist Party Members | Opinion

Critics are aghast that President Donald Trump may, as The New York Times reports, deny visas to members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their families. The paper also states that his administration is even thinking of taking a more drastic step: revoking visas to such individuals already in the United States.

Furthermore, Trump may extend the ban, which would be issued under the authority of the Immigration and Nationality Act, to members of the People's Liberation Army and executives of state enterprises.

The Trump administration has already been denying visas to China's officials and other Chinese nationals, including those responsible for repression of Uyghurs and other Muslims, journalists, students with links to Chinese military institutions and employees of Huawei and other Chinese tech companies. The just-signed Hong Kong Autonomy Act authorizes still more visa denials.

In sum, a visa prohibition, as the Times notes, could affect as many as 270 million Chinese. In a country of 1.43 billion people, that is about one in every five residents.

Moreover, because virtually all the country's elites belong to that organization, this prohibition, if it were enforced, would result in a complete breakdown in relations with China.

The CCP, now more than 99 years old, is no longer a revolutionary vanguard. A crucial transition occurred in May 2000, when Jiang Zemin, considered the leader of the Party's Third Generation, sponsored the Three Represents ideological campaign. The CCP, according to Jiang's campaign, must always be representative of the foremost productive forces in society, of the most advanced culture and of the fundamental interests of the people.

In this major ideological shift—ideology is critical in Communist China—private entrepreneurs, once the class "enemy" of workers and peasants, were welcomed into the ruling organization, helping to transform it from revolutionary to mundane.

The CCP no longer talks about the Three Represents, but that formulation nonetheless remains its guiding spirit. It has become, in recent years, even more of a bureaucratic organization—and in some cases, a social club or chamber of commerce. Many Chinese now join the CCP not to work for the attainment of the perfect state of Communism—Marxist zealots are not in great supply in China, these days—but to get ahead in business, gain a leadership role in arts organizations or attain social prominence.

As a result, the Party has become, as some say, "flabby," and flabby Party members are harmless to the United States. "The overwhelming majority of CCP members have no involvement or input into Beijing's policymaking, so going after the entire Party membership is like China sanctioning all Republicans because of frustrations with Trump," said Jude Blanchette of the Center for Strategic and International Studies to the Times. "Such a move would inflame public opinion in China, as this would target nearly 10 percent of the entire Chinese population and would do so based on blanket assertions of guilt."

Are ordinary Party members guilty? Yes. "Membership is support," SinoInsider correctly says.

Tiananmen Square during coronavirus
Tiananmen Square during coronavirus DI YIN/Getty Images

There are troubling indications that the Party, this year, has ramped up its "unrestricted warfare" to subvert American society. First, in late January, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents in Minnesota seized $900,000 in counterfeit $1 bills, sent from China. Nobody prints $1 notes for profit. Therefore, it's possible, in the months before the George Floyd protests, that Beijing was surreptitiously funding individuals or groups in Minneapolis or other parts of the United States.

Was Beijing itself involved? It's extremely unlikely that anyone could run an operation counterfeiting U.S. currency in China's high-tech surveillance state without its knowledge, which means the counterfeiting almost certainly had the CCP's official backing. Moreover, no one could make automatic weapons there and export them to the U.S. without Beijing's knowledge. In May, CBP in Louisville seized 10,800 assault weapons parts shipped from the Chinese city of Shenzhen.

Some believe the State Department ordered the closure of China's Houston consulate because, in addition to the official reasons, it was providing logistical and financial support to protest groups. These reports are unconfirmed, but what is confirmed is that the CCP's Global Times tabloid, in conjunction with the Chinese foreign ministry, was conducting a malicious disinformation campaign obviously intended to stoke racial tensions in America.

So if the CCP is a "social club" as some say, it is a club relentlessly subverting the American republic.

The Party is responsible not only for subversion, but also the annual theft of hundreds of billions of dollars of intellectual property, the deliberate spread of the coronavirus around the world, the invasion of neighbors, support of rogue regimes, repression of a billion Chinese people, genocide and other crimes against humanity, and a host of other horrific acts.

"A travel ban drives a stake through the heart of the Chinese communist regime," Maura Moynihan, a democracy activist, said to me this week. "It would encourage even more members who are not true believers to leave the Party."

She's right. The denial or revocation of visas "could fundamentally alter the view of the Chinese Communist Party held by China's people," Jonathan Ward, author of China's Vision of Victory, told Newsweek. "Many in China have genuinely valued the combination of economic opportunity and openness to the world that has existed for the past 20 to 30 years, and if Party members were to be cut off from America, many in China would likely begin to see the Party as less powerful, less respected and less trustworthy overall as the stewards of China's destiny."

Let's remember the CCP's People's Daily, the most authoritative publication in China, carried a piece, in May of last year, that declared a "people's war" on the United States.

If we are at war, CCP members are enemy aliens. Why should we ever want enemy aliens in our country?

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.