AUSTIN (Nexstar) – Texas Republican Congressman Michael McCaul is leading a newly-formed task force to investigate China. The task force aims to look into the origin of the coronavirus, among other issues.
House Republicans have said they intend to hold the Chinese government accountable for failing to accurately report the seriousness of the virus in the early days of the outbreak. McCaul has said that he believes China’s government broke international law.
“It was never properly reported,” McCaul said. The Congressman said he believes that the Chinese government engaged in a cover-up, which included trying to stop doctors from telling world health authorities that there was human-to-human transmission of the virus. The result, he believes, led to loss of life and economic chaos.
“You went from an epidemic to a global pandemic,” McCaul concluded.
“I think it’s going to be COVID-19-centric in terms of the investigation into the origins and what went wrong,” McCaul said. But he said the mission of the task force reaches beyond the virus.
“We’re also going to look at our foreign policy with China. We have to look at how to be more competitive with China,” McCaul said. He cited issues like artificial intelligence and the race to implement 5G as issues the task force would consider.
McCaul says he’s also concerned about human rights abuses and China’s “military posture.” The congressman says the committee will address what he believes is a generational issue.
“My father fought the Nazis in World War II. We had the Cold War. We had radical Islamists after 9/11. For this generation now, this is the issue,” McCaul said. “I believe that the Chinese government, the PRC, is now becoming the number one long-term threat to the national security of the United States.”
California Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy says the task force will be “Republican-led” because Democrats backed out of it. House Democrats say they were focused on China well before the virus.
“What Kevin McCarthy has in mind is something political that can be used during a presidential campaign,” said Representative Adam Schiff, D-California.