Intel Chairman Mark Warner: We Don't Want To Feed Chinese Propaganda That Protests Are A "Western Plot" By Supporting Them Too Openly

Senate Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner explained the needle President Biden is trying to thread by supporting protests in China, but not too much, during an interview Tuesday with CNN's Jim Sciutto. "If they're able to portray this as kind of an anti-Chinese or western plot, that undermines the very protesters that we're trying to stand with," Warner explained. <blockquote>SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): This drives home the point that I've been trying to make for years, that my beef and those of us who have been harder on China, our beef is with the communist party and Xi Jinping's leadership. It's not with the Chinese people. And I think if we don't say that, we oftentimes play into the CCP's, frankly, propaganda agenda when they try to make this kind of almost a racial issue. So, I think we're seeing the Chinese people speak up for more freedom against the COVID lockdown policies. I support that against the technology censorship. One of the things that the Intel Committee has spent a lot of time on making the case that the long-term technology competition with China is the issue of our times, and that is why we did frankly the chips bill, that is why we did the areas around the 5G and the telecom. We're looking at other areas where we have to compete, and it is going to be around technology. SCIUTTO: Let me ask you about this. Because I understand the administration's reticence on not speaking out too openly in favor of the protests because they don't want China to do what it already does, which is to say, oh, this is a foreign plot and instigators from outside the country are causing all of this, when this is very clearly a grassroots set of protests there. Do you, though, believe there is something -- particularly as China is now cracking down on those protesters, something more that the U.S. could or should do to support the Chinese people when they express themselves this way? WARNER: Well, I think there are things that those of us leaders in the Senate and the House have a little bit more flexibility, frankly, than the administration. This -- the administration, particularly after the most recent meeting between Xi and Biden, to try to have lower some of the tensions. This is a -- we don't want an active conflict to erupt. I think those of us in the Congress have a little more freedom. And I think we can push the administration, but as you said, we don't want to feed the propaganda machine that turns these protesters driven by Chinese people into what the overall message would be of the Chinese people. And, remember, that is why I talk about the technology. The TikTok that the Chinese people receive is very different than what the TikTok that we receive as one case, the Chinese social media companies that are completely -- owe their allegiance by law to the communist party, not they're shareholders. So, if they're able to portray this as kind of an anti-Chinese or western plot, that undermines the very protesters that we're trying to stand with. </blockquote>