FBI Chief Christopher Wray issued a sober warning Monday while accusing China of innovation theft against America.
The speech was given at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and comes as the 2022 Winter Olympics are being held in Beijing, China. President Joe Biden had previously announced a diplomatic boycott of the games citing human rights abuses and more, and warnings have been issued to U.S. athletes regarding their safety.
Wray warned that “no country … presents a broader threat to our ideas, innovation, and economic security than China.”
“The harm from the Chinese government’s economic espionage isn’t just that its companies pull ahead based on illegally gotten technology,” Wray said. “While they pull ahead, they push our companies and workers behind. That harm — company failures, job losses — has been building for a decade to the crush we feel today. It’s harm felt across the country, by workers in a whole range of industries.”
“I want to focus on the threat from China here tonight because it’s reached a new level — more brazen, more damaging, than ever before, and it’s vital — vital — that all of us focus on that threat together,” Wray added.
Athletes competing at the Winter Olympics have been warned by Human Rights Watch to “stay silent” on China’s abuses. Athletes could face “certain punishment” if they say anything “against Chinese laws and regulations,” Beijing’s 2022 International Relations Department deputy director vowed.
The FBI also said that U.S. athletes should leave their phones at home and use only temporary phones while competing.
“The FBI urges all athletes to keep their personal cell phones at home and use a temporary phone while at the Games,” the FBI wrote.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday that the administration is “very focused on the safety of American athletes” at the upcoming Olympics.
“In terms of athletes, we do everything possible to work in coordination with the U.S. Olympic Committee,” Psaki said. “We’re providing consular and security services to our athletes, coaches, trainers, and staff, as we do for all U.S. citizens overseas.”
“Additionally, we expect the PRC to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our athletes,” the press secretary continued, noting the athletes have their “full support.”