Hundreds of U.S. and international religious and human rights groups and activists are calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to declare the Chinese Communist Party a “transnational criminal organization," or TCO.
The effort comes as tensions between Washington and Beijing continue to flare, compounded by the U.S. shuttering the Chinese consulate in Houston last week and followed by the retaliatory measure of China closing the U.S. consulate in Chengdu.
The letter addressed to Attorney General William Barr and dated July 23 claims that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s "lethality and criminal sophistication demonstrates that this lawless CCP poses a clear and present danger to the health, security, and prosperity of America.”
The letter was sponsored by the religious freedom outfit Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition.
“The CCP transnational criminal organization designation is clearly justified by the epidemic of American citizens victimized and killed by the Chinese manufactured and transmitted lethal synthetic drug, Fentanyl. According to the CDC, deaths involving other synthetic narcotics, including fentanyl and fentanyl analogs continued to rise with more than 31,335 overdose deaths reported in 2018,” the letter says.
The letter goes on to stress that, “for decades, the CCP perpetrated and proliferated IP embezzlement and economic espionage on Americans and U.S. businesses, resulting in theft and loss of vast wealth and prosperity. The extent and breadth of the criminal reach of the CCP knows no bounds.”
One of President Trump’s first moves after assuming the office in early 2017 was to sign the executive order 13773 entitled, “Enforcing Federal Law With Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking.” This, according to the letter, authorized by the executive branch “to strengthen federal law enforcement to thwart transnational criminal organizations that present a threat to public safety and national security.”
“It is exceedingly evident that the list of transnational criminal organizations should include the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The pattern of the CCP criminality in the U.S. and around the world demonstrates a clear and present threat ‘to public safety and national security," the letter states.
It cites an array of examples, ranging from the 2014 findings that the CCP hacked Anthem insurance, collecting sensitive information on 80 million Americans, to the 2017 data breach of Equifax in which the names, birthdates, social security numbers and credit scores of 145 million Americans were harvested, to the 2019 break-in of the Marriott system, in which China’s top brass was accused of stealing information on 383 million guests, including their passport numbers.
“On July 7, 2020, FBI Director Christopher Wray raised the alarm about the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party to the economic and national security of the United States," the letter asserts. “According to Wray, the level of CCP criminality is so widespread and voluminous that, ‘the FBI is opening a new China-related counterintelligence case about every 10 hours and of the nearly 5,000 active FBI counterintelligence cases currently underway across the country, almost half are related to China.’”
In conclusion, the letter contends that the CCP fits the characterization of a TOC as the “organized criminal activity” every day “leaves Americans vulnerable to a widespread campaign of lawlessness, intimidation, and piracy by the CCP, which imperils our way of life.”
The letter – penned by the likes of attorney Elizabeth Yore, founder of anti-child exploitation organization YoreChildren and Dede Laugesen, Executive Director of Save the Persecuted Christians – has additionally been signed by more than 500 individual activists and representatives from more than 70 non-governmental agencies and foundations in the realm of religious freedom, politics, and human rights. This includes backing from the Campaign for Uyghurs, the South Asia Minorities Foundation, and the Christian Activist Network for New England, to Vietnamese Women for Human Rights, The Church Almighty God, Buddhist Solidarity Association, and Revealing Light Ministries.
As it stands, groups such as MS-13 and the Laos-based Zhao Wei Network – run by a casino kingpin, who has long been accused of drug and child trafficking – have been slapped with TOC designations by the United States.
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.