By: Jeffrey Cimmino and Matthew Kroenig

What is the kernel of the issue?

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is cracking down on human rights, enacting legislation to repress pro-democracy activism in Hong Kong and engaging in what the State Department has declared a genocide in Xinjiang. The CCP also is using advanced technology to control the Internet by strengthening its “Great Firewall.”

Why is the issue important?

China is the world’s second-largest economy and an increasingly important player on the global stage, but it continues to violate international norms by engaging in gross human rights violations. The CCP leadership’s crackdown speaks to its deeply held fear of regime instability; indeed, the CCP spends more on domestic security than on its military forces. It seeks to restrict information that could damage its image or energize pro-democracy voices.

What is the recommendation?

The Biden administration, in conjunction with the United States’ allies, should prohibit companies from assisting the CCP in bolstering the “Great Firewall.” Furthermore, they should pursue cyber operations to disable or circumvent the “Great Firewall,” thereby undermining the CCP’s ability to control the flow of information that may prove harmful to the regime. Such measures would impose a cost on China for its continued violation of human rights and more importantly enable the Chinese people to access information available to the rest of the free world.

Related Experts: Matthew Kroenig and Jeffrey Cimmino