Chinese officials blasted a bill passed in the Senate on Tuesday that aims to counter Beijing by spending almost $250 billion on science and technology research. The legislation also addresses just about every aspect of the US-China relationship and includes provisions to sanction Chinese officials, strengthen ties with Taiwan, and boost military alliances in Asia.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the bill was “full of Cold War zero-sum thinking” that distorts facts and smears Beijing. “We firmly oppose the US making an issue of China and treating China as an imaginary enemy,” he said.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s National People’s Congress released a statement on the US bill. “This bill seeks to exaggerate and spread the so-called ‘China threat’ to maintain global American hegemony, using human rights and religion as excuses to interfere in China’s domestic politics, and deprive China of its legitimate development rights,” the statement said.
The legislation, known as the US Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, passed in the Senate in a vote of 68 to 32, a rare show of bipartisan support that demonstrates both Republicans and Democrats view China as a “threat” that needs to be countered. Speaking on the Senate floor before the vote, Senator Chuck Schumer, who led the effort, said, “If we do nothing, our days as the dominant superpower may be ending.”
President Biden has made it clear that he views the US-China relationship through the lens of a new Cold War. In his first address to Congress, Biden said the US is in competition with Beijing to “win the 21st century.” He echoed this sentiment in a statement applauding the Senate for passing the new bill.
“We are in a competition to win the 21st century, and the starting gun has gone off. As other countries continue to invest in their own research and development, we cannot risk falling behind. America must maintain its position as the most innovative and productive nation on Earth,” Biden said. He also promised to sign the legislation into law “as soon as possible.”
The bill now moves to the House, where lawmakers have been working on their own massive piece of anti-China legislation, known as the Eagle Act. If the House passes its version, then the two chambers would have to negotiate what ends up on President Biden’s desk.