The US House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to create a select committee on China, aiming to counter Beijing’s growing international influence The overwhelming vote was one of its first since Republicans took control of the House. The committee will be chaired by Republican Representative Mike Gallagher.
The House voted 365 to 65 in favour of a resolution under which the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party will be formed. The committee will investigate the issues related to the matter and make policy recommendations.
Meanwhile, China responding to the latest development, Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday urged the US to exercise mutual respect.
“We hope that those on the US side will look at China and US-China relations objectively and rationally, act in the self interests of the US and common interests with China, meet each other halfway, and promote relations based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation between the two countries,” foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a regular news conference in Beijing.
All 65 of the “no” votes came from Democrats, but 146 other Democrats voted in favour of the committee. Some of those who declined to support the resolution were concerned the Republican-led panel would be too partisan.
Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, a co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, said even though he was concerned that the committee will be overly partisan, he would vote for its creation.
“We certainly don’t want it to turn into a place that perpetuates anti-Asian hate,” McGovern said.
Former president Donald Trump had termed COVID-19 “China virus” and there are concerns that Republicans might use the committee to act in a similar manner.
However, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy insisted the panel would not be partisan.
“You have my word and my commitment. This is not a partisan committee. This will be a bipartisan committee,” McCarthy said in remarks urging the House to back the bill.
Talking about what the committee intends to do, McCarthy said it will take up issues, such as bringing jobs back from China to the United States, securing intellectual property and bringing supply chains back to the country.
There has also been increasing tensions between China and US over trade, Taiwan and non-transparency over COVID-19.