Trump spy chief labels China biggest threat to freedom since World War Two

FILE PHOTO: Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-TX, testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 5, 2020. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. intelligence official stepped up President Donald Trump’s harsh attacks on Beijing on Thursday by labeling China the biggest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War Two and saying it was bent on global domination.

“The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically,” Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in an opinion article posted on the Wall Street Journal website.

Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman appointed by Trump to the top U.S. spy job last spring, said China posed “the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom world-wide since World War Two.”

Ratcliffe said China’s economic espionage approach was threefold: “Rob, Replicate and Replace.”

He said the strategy was for Chinese entities to steal American companies’ intellectual property, copy it and then supplant U.S. companies in the global market place.

He also charged that China had stolen U.S. defense technology to “fuel” an aggressive military modernization plan launched by President Xi Jinping.

Ratcliffe said that Chinese authorities had even “conducted human testing” on members of the Chinese army “in hopes of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities.”

He did not elaborate on this charge.

Ratcliffe’s Wall Street Journal essay was the latest broadside against China from the Trump administration as it seeks to cement the president’s tough-on-China legacy.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball and David Brunnstrom; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alexandra Hudson)

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