Top Republican: China ‘testing us and we did not rise to that challenge’

February 9, 2023

When Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) rose to back a resolution condemning China today, he did so with possibly the longest record of tackling the communist country than anyone in Congress.

Smith, in his 21st term, has led human rights fights against China for decades.

In his two-minute address today, Smith said, “I’ve chaired 76 hearings on human rights abuses in China,” said he’s been barred from ever visiting the country, and said that China’s President Xi Jinping has a “multiyear plan” to control the world.

“We all know it’s an existential threat to its neighbors, the region, and the United States,” he added.

Smith, well known in human rights and anti-abortion circles, cited a Washington Secrets article published over the weekend that said China may have been conducting a “dry run” of how it would attack the U.S. electric grid with a balloon-delivered electromagnetic pulse attack.

The article cited EMP expert David Stuckenberg, who said, “China’s recent balloon flyover of the United States is clearly a provocative and aggressive act. It was most likely a type of dry run meant to send a strategic message to the USA. We must not take this for granted.”

Smith agreed, saying, “They’re testing us, and we did not rise to that challenge.”

“We have to up our game and mitigate the threat to our own people. Americans deserve better,” he said.

Following his comments and those of others, the House voted 419-0 to condemn China’s weekend balloon assault over the U.S.

The vote came as officials were briefing some lawmakers on the balloon episode. After that briefing, Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) said he was dissatisfied with why the administration didn’t shoot it down much earlier.

“Unfortunately, I left the administration’s briefing with more questions than when I went in,” he said in a statement. “It is completely unacceptable and infuriating that the Chinese spy balloon was allowed to hover over Montana and our missile bases to begin with and was then allowed to travel across the entire United States before it was brought down. Montanans deserve more answers.”