The new House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will call on executives from the Walt Disney Company and the NBA to publicly testify and defend their ties to China’s communist regime.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.), who will chair the committee, made the announcement during a Jan. 11 interview with Hugh Hewitt on the latter’s talk radio show.
When asked if he had plans for the committee to call on Disney CEO Bob Iger or NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for testimony, Gallagher answered directly.
“Yes I do,” Gallagher said. “Consider this the initial warning order that they’ll have to testify before the committee.”
“I’d be willing to go out and sit down with them where they are and engage in a discussion but we want to have a discussion in front of the American people.”
Both Iger and Silver have drawn criticism in recent years for what critics described as efforts to kowtow to the CCP, effectively enforcing communist censorship on American soil.
Iger, who recently returned to Disney as chief executive, is widely expected to travel to China in the coming year to smooth over the company’s relations with the CCP.
Iger has a long history of interaction with communist officials going back to the 1990s, when he reportedly promised CCP leadership not to produce films that would offend the party. Likewise, in 2010, Iger reportedly met with China’s propaganda minister and pledged to use the company to “introduce more about China to the world.”
Similarly, under Silver’s leadership, the NBA has taken heat for its business relationship with China after then-general manager of the Houston Rockets spoke out in favor of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong in 2019.
Silver has defended the NBA’s relationship with China by saying that the organization’s dedication to “diversity” means that it must accept differences with the regime. Silver delivered those comments even after receiving pressure from the regime to fire coaches that spoke out in favor of democracy in Hong Kong.
Gallagher said that the issue was far bigger than any one company or industry, however, and that how the committee handled such issues would have far-reaching consequences for the future of both China and America.
“The bigger concern is that it gives us a preview of what’s going to happen to the rest of our industries if we allow the Chinese Communist Party to control the commanding heights of technology and economy,” Gallagher said.
“They will be able to blackmail the entire world. They will be able to coerce the entire world.”
A Bipartisan Effort
The House select committee was established Jan. 10 by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, receiving 365 votes for and 65 votes against.
Gallagher said that the committee’s bipartisan nature was integral to fulfilling its mission and demonstrated how serious the CCP threat was.
“The big takeaway from the floor proceedings yesterday was the fact that we got an overwhelming bipartisan vote of support for the committee,” Gallagher said.
“I think that’s important because that reduces the ability of the CCP to drive a wedge in Congress.”
Gallagher added that many Democrats who voted for the committee were motivated by economic issues, and eager to bring jobs back to the United States and protect American industries from CCP interference.
Still, there were a vocal minority of Democrats who claimed the committee would inflame racial animosity against Chinese Americans.
Gallagher dismissed those claims, saying that the committee was directed toward the CCP and not the Chinese people. To that end, he said, the communist regime was the greatest threat to Chinese people anywhere in the world.
“I think that’s completely unfounded,” Gallagher said. “I think that’s just an excuse to oppose a Republican effort.”
“We edited the name of the committee so that it says ‘Chinese Communist Party’ because we were concerned about the threat posed by the Party. We have no quarrel with the Chinese people. The Chinese people are the primary victims of the CCP’s oppression and repression, and we must remind people of that basic distinction at every turn.”
The committee will consist of nine Republicans and seven Democrats. Gallagher said that he had made suggestions for the committee but that ultimately the Republican members would be decided by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the Democrat members decided by Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
Gallagher said that he made his recommendations based on the temperament and background of the individual Congresspeople, and would remain committed to building out a strong bipartisan front against CCP malfeasance regardless of who was named to the committee.
“I’m not going to use this to score cheap shots,” Gallagher said. “This is about putting America in a position where we can win this new Cold War and where we can deter world war III in the near term.”
“We have a lot of Democrats with serious national security street cred that have asked me about it.”
While Gallagher did not make the entirety of his recommendations known, he spoke favorably of Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Young Kim (R-Calif.), and Michelle Steel (R-Calif.).
The Epoch Times has requested comment from Disney and the NBA.