On June 9, the Biden administration revoked former President Donald Trump’s executive orders effectively banning TikTok and WeChat, and required the Commerce Department to conduct its own review of both apps.
The communist regime in China uses healthcare and apps as weapons as part of its playbook, said an expert on China and the Indo-Pacific. Cleo Paskal, an associate fellow at Chatham House and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said that lessons could be learned from China’s neighbors, particularly India and the Solomon Islands, in understanding the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), in a recent interview on Epoch TV’s “American Thought Leaders” program. “It is understanding how invasive and destructive and coercive the mentality of the Chinese Communist Party is—in terms of an individual’s right to think anything they want or believe anything they want, is imperative for understanding what we’re dealing with,” Paskal said. She added: “In a Chinese-run world or Chinese-influenced world healthcare is used as a weapon to punish political dissidents.” Paskal pointed to the example of Daniel Suidani, the premier of Malaita Province in the Solomon Islands and a prominent China critic. Since the South Pacific country ended its 36-year diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China in September 2019, Suidani has continued to voice support for the self-ruled island and rejected Chinese investment in Malaita. Suidani’s continued support for Taiwan—a de facto independent nation that China claims as a part of its territory—has put him at odds with the Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who enjoys a close relationship with Beijing. About six months ago, Suidani came down with a brain disease that required CT scans but the Solomon Islands does not have the medical device. As a result, the premier began seeking foreign medical care but was financially strapped to pay for it.
Paskal warned that ultimately the CCP wants to influence the mind of every individual. “So, be very aware. You are targeted. … The goal now of the Chinese Communist Party is political warfare—which is the front line of its attempt to achieve that number one position in terms of comprehensive national power is your mind,”
India has banned more than 200 Chinese apps, citing the apps’ collection of user data as a national security risk. China’s national intelligence law requires all organizations and citizens to “support, assist, and cooperate with national intelligence efforts.”