[Fox News] GOP threatens to block Biden from easing China sanctions in exchange for fentanyl cooperation

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FIRST ON FOX: House Republicans are threatening to block President Biden from agreeing to Beijing’s reported demand that the U.S. lift human rights sanctions against China in exchange for cooperation on fentanyl trafficking.

“The [Chinese Communist Party] is using American lives as a bargaining chip to achieve sanctions relief for its human rights abuses,” Rep. Young Kim, R-Calif., House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and China select committee Chair Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., wrote to the Biden administration.

Their letter, sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, cited a Wall Street Journal report that said Chinese officials want Biden to lift certain economic penalties related to the CCP’s human rights abuses in exchange for Beijing’s help to stem the flow of fentanyl ravaging the country. They also warned that if the talks continue in that direction, Congress could move to block the effort.

“Given how many of our constituents have died from fentanyl overdoses, we expect the Administration to regularly engage our offices on efforts it is taking to hold the PRC accountable to these obligations,” the letter said. “We do not support lifting export controls or sanctions as a condition for cooperation with [China], and we are considering legislation to ensure the Administration cannot circumvent Congress.”

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“China’s Ministry of Public Security’s (MPS) Institute of Forensic Science was added to the Department of Commerce’s Entity List on June 5, 2020, for engaging in human rights violations and abuses in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR),” they added. “This demonstrates the CCP’s continued efforts to link unrelated issues as a negotiation tactic and to leverage diplomatic engagement as a reward for CCP-perceived ‘good behavior.’”

The institute was sanctioned by the Trump administration in 2020 over “China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups,” according to government documents.

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The Republican lawmakers are accusing China of trying to ease those penalties at the expense of thousands of American lives that are taken by fentanyl each year.

“According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 105,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, with 66 percent of those deaths related to synthetic opioids including fentanyl in the 12-month period ending in October 2021. Further, fentanyl overdoses are a leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) remains the primary source of fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States,” they wrote.

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They accused the Biden State Department of side-stepping pressure to take competitive action to instead emphasize “the importance of engagement and future meetings — which are predominately occurring in [China] — with CCP officials as success itself.”

“As we expected, we have not seen any concrete or tangible deliverables from meetings with the CCP. Key elements of our ability to conduct risk management, such as military-to-military communications have decreased recently and we still have no deliverables on the fentanyl crisis, which has worsened under this Administration,” the letter said.

“We are therefore concerned that the Biden Administration continues unproductive meetings with the PRC while not producing any results,” they added.

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