California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s visit to China in October “will have long-term negative ramifications” for human rights activists oppressed by the Communist Party, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) warned in an exclusive comment to Breitbart News about the trip.
Rep. Smith, who chairs the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) and has made human rights violations by communist states a priority in his lawmaking work, condemned Newsom for “allow[ing] himself to be used as a propaganda tour” on his tour of China and failing to properly advocate for the victims of Chinese human rights atrocities.
Newsom departed China on Sunday after spending a week in the communist dictatorship, promoting cooperation with Beijing on climate change, electric vehicle development, and other related issues. Newsom met with genocidal dictator Xi Jinping on October 25 and told him California, under his governance, wants to be a “long-term, stable, and strong partner” for China, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
The California governor also took the opportunity to tour iconic Chinese tourist sites, such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, and engage in “cultural exchanges,” such as a basketball game with Chinese children.
“Divorce is not an option. The only way we can solve the climate crisis is to continue our long-standing cooperation with China,” Newsom said following meetings with Xi and other top leaders on October 25, according to the office of the governor. “Addressing climate change can be the bridge we’ve been missing. I made it clear to Chinese leaders that California will remain a stable, strong, and reliable partner, particularly on low-carbon, green growth.”
“Gov. Newsom’s trip to China was an excursion based on a naive misunderstanding of China’s repression and ill intentions that will have long-term negative ramifications for the brave human rights and democracy advocates struggling for freedom in China,” Rep. Smith lamented to Breitbart News.
“Not only did he allow himself to be used as a propaganda tool — even to the point of parroting the Chinese Communist Party’s fake ‘win-win’ rhetoric — but Newsom also failed to secure any improvements on human rights or even seriously broach the critical issue,” the congressman continued. “At a minimum, he should have made the release and return of his constituent David Lin an absolute condition before he even considered any visit to China.”
David Lin is a Christian pastor from Orange County, California, whom the Communist Party imprisoned in 2006 after he made several trips to spread the Gospel in China. Chinese authorities accused him of “contract fraud,” a conviction the U.S. government has rejected as a false justification for punishing him for his peaceful religious activities, which included aiding Chinese Christians in building a “house church,” or a church not supervised and led by atheist Communist Party leaders. Lin was originally sentenced to life in prison but had his sentence reduced in 2022 and is now scheduled for release in 2030.
Prior to Newsom’s arrival in China, Lin’s daughter, Alice Lin, told Politico that she feared that her father, currently 67, may not live to his release date. She urged Newsom, “Raise my father’s case by name as well as the names of other wrongfully detained Americans.”
“We do not want my dad to be forgotten,” Alice Lin told Politico.
Newsom’s office said in a press release on October 25 that he discussed human rights issues with Chinese officials.
“Governor Newsom’s topics of discussion also included human rights violations and anti-democratic efforts in Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang and Taiwan,” the office claimed, “as well as David Lin, a California pastor who has been imprisoned in China since 2006. The Governor discussed his visit to the Middle East and how China can play a role in diffusing tension in the region.”
“Xinjiang,” or occupied East Turkistan, is home to indigenous Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and other non-Han ethnic groups that Xi Jinping is currently spearheading a genocide against. China is also engaging in ethnic cleansing operations in Tibet and Inner Mongolia – eradicating local languages, culture, and religions. China has erased the official capitalist, free system in Hong Kong in the last four years in response to the 2019 pro-democracy protests and regularly threatens to invade the sovereign nation of Taiwan.
The governor’s office did not offer any information about how Chinese officials responded to Newsom’s alleged attempts to discuss its human rights atrocities. The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Chinese state media coverage of Newsom’s visit omitted any such mentions. Lin remains imprisoned and is scheduled for release in seven years.
Rather than mention any attempt by Newsom to address human rights abuses, the Chinese Foreign Ministry detailed Newsom complimenting Xi on China’s alleged “remarkable achievements.”
“Gavin Newsom said that he agrees with the principles that President Xi Jinping has put forward for the development of U.S.-China relations,” the Foreign Ministry claimed, “and is willing to, in the same spirit, push California to strengthen exchanges with China and seek closer cooperation in fields such as climate change and new energy.”
“The trip is predominantly focused on climate,” Newsom spokesperson Erin Mellon told reporters last week, according to Politico, when asked if he would discuss human rights.
Newsom ended his trip on Sunday by signing a memorandum of understanding with Mayor Gong Zheng of Shanghai, China’s largest city, focused on “climate and the environment.”
“I am proud of this cooperation at the local level and the signing of the MOU, and California is ready to be a strong and stable partner for Shanghai,” China’s state-run Global Times newspaper quoted Newsom as saying.