- Saturday, January 20, 2024

President Biden’s reaction to Taiwan’s presidential election was instructive. He could have said that “the United States congratulates Taiwan on another free election” or “the people of Taiwan must determine their future.”

Instead, the president said exactly what Beijing wanted him to say: “We do not support independence” for Taiwan. When Chinese President Xi Jinping pulls the strings, Mr. Biden dances to the tune.

Taiwan’s Jan. 13 election was another milestone. Vice President Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party won 40% of the vote in a three-way race. It marks the first time that one party will control the presidency for three consecutive terms.

With 23 million people, Taiwan has the world’s 21st-largest economy. According to the Cato Institute’s Human Freedom Index, it’s the freest country in Asia and the 12th-freest in the world. China ranks 149th, barely ahead of Iran.

What Beijing does to its people recalls the darkest days of 20th-century totalitarianism — democracy crushed in Hong Kong (despite solemn promises of “one country, two systems” at the time of reunification), cultural genocide in Tibet, the imprisonment and torture of 3 million Uyghurs and organ-harvesting prison camps.

Nations eager to condemn Israel for defending itself in a war for its survival smile benignly at Beijing’s savagery. When the alleged leader of the free world met with China’s forever president in San Francisco in November, it was after months of the United States pleading for the privilege. Nothing was said that could have possibly displeased Mr. Xi.

How can Mr. Biden protect Taiwan from China when he won’t even protect the U.S. from China?

In the past fiscal year, more than 28,000 Chinese nationals — mostly single men of military age — crossed our border illegally. Whether spies or potential fifth columnists, they are a threat to our national security, as are the tons of fentanyl (manufactured in China) that are smuggled in, killing an estimated 100,000 Americans each year.

In September, The Wall Street Journal reported that “Chinese nationals, sometimes posing as tourists, have accessed military bases and other sensitive sites in the U.S. as many as 100 times in recent years, according to U.S. officials, who describe the incidents as a potential espionage threat.”

The Environmental Protection Agency is cleaning up a secret biolab in Reedley, California, run by a Chinese national with ties to the Chinese Communist Party. The laboratory contained Ebola, malaria, dengue fever, hepatitis and other infectious agents, as well as 1,000 mice genetically engineered to catch and carry the COVID-19 virus.

The Chinese are engaged in a relentless campaign of espionage, hacking and intellectual property theft. FBI Director Christopher Wray reports that the bureau opens a new investigation of China’s illegal activities in the United States roughly every 10 hours.

Beijing is hard at work in Latin America, encircling us with a complex network of Chinese-controlled ports, bridges and roads from Panama to Brazil.

Wherever there’s mischief in the world, the Chinese are involved. Beijing greenlighted Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, which it supports with crude oil purchases. Missiles used by the Houthis are believed to be from China, delivered by Iran.

The Biden administration kowtows furiously to the most dangerous regime in the world. This was illustrated by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s bobblehead performance when she visited Beijing in July. She was there to find common ground, we were told. Instead, we should be drawing a line in the sand. But that will have to wait until the next administration.

Then there’s the money Hunter Biden received from his Chinese business partners, payment for skills he didn’t have for work he didn’t do. The House of Representatives is trying to determine how much of the loot found its way into the Big Guy’s pocket. A $40,000 check the elder Biden received when he was vice president from his brother James Biden is believed to be part of a $10 million payment Hunter demanded from a Chinese energy company.

While Taipei is waiting for Mr. Xi to strike, the Biden administration is sitting on a backlog of $19 billion in weapons from sales made mostly under the Trump administration, including F-16 jets and M-1 A1 tanks, which could be vital for the defense of the island republic.

President Biden will base his reelection campaign on saving democracy from former President Donald Trump, described as a dictator in waiting. But when Mr. Biden actually could do something to save a democracy in peril, he is nowhere to be found.

• Don Feder is a columnist with The Washington Times.

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