ASHBURN, Virginia — A community roundtable featuring Attorney General Jason Miyares (R-VA) and Director of State Public Policy for Washington Gas, Scott McGeary, was held to great success in Ashburn, Virginia.
The event, which was organized to facilitate an open dialogue between businesses and politicians, took place on Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon. It also served to bring renewed awareness of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) sizable influence in American politics, business and entertainment.
Other issues that were highlighted included how the fentanyl crisis — in large part enabled by the CCP — is plaguing large parts of the U.S., election fraud, corruption, and Beijing’s long-standing human rights abuses and tactics of oppression.
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Speaking with a Vision Times reporter, Attorney General Jason Miyares sat down to share his views on how U.S. businesses are pivoting to avoid sensitive subjects such as religious persecution, slave labor, censorship and propaganda.
Miyares: ‘The great siren of communism’
Speaking from experience, Miyares recalled how his mother came to the U.S. in search of better opportunities and access to civil rights.
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“My mother fled her home country of Cuba with nothing,” he said. “She was literally penniless and homeless. But when you live in a society where the government controls every aspect of your life — that kind of tyranny takes away your ingenuity, initiative and the ability to live your life.”
Miyares explained how his uncle was arrested in the middle of the night by Castro’s secret police because “he wasn’t supportive of the government,” and was subjected to a “mock execution.”
“When you grow up hearing stories like that, it reminds me of a great quote by [author] C.S. Lewis: ‘Of all the tyrannies, the worst tyrannies are done for ‘your own good’”, Miyares said, adding that, “That’s the great siren of communism — they claim that they are doing it in the name of equality, but the reality is that it is oppression.”
Oppression seeps into every aspect of life
When asked about his thoughts on how communist governments systematically target and oppress their citizens, Miyares said he knows it all too well.
“My mother couldn’t take the classes that she wanted at the University of Havana because the government deemed them unnecessary,” he said, adding, “She even suffered harassment at her church because she wasn’t allowed to worship God the way that she wanted to.”
In light of the hardships his family endured in Cuba, Miyares underscored the importance of raising awareness about how communism seeps into every fiber and aspect of peoples’ lives.
“What the CCP is doing today is robbing people of their freedom,” Miyares said, when asked about how the Chinese regime employs tactics of censorship, intimidation and pro-Communism rhetoric across social media.
“We had this thought that the more we did business with China, the more they would change. But after a couple decades, we’ve realized that who’s really changing is us,” he said.
Control of social media
For years, the public’s attention was focused on how Russian state actors were meddling in U.S. elections; in reality, the CCP was quietly and slowly infiltrating political views via social media.
When asked about how this level of censorship would have been unfathomable during the Cold War, Miyares said, “No one could have imagined during the height of the Cold War that American films would self-censor to make sure the Soviet Union was not angry with them, but that happens on a regular basis in the entertainment business today.”
“I know people in the entertainment industry that have shared with me how they pre-screen movies and scripts to make sure they don’t upset one of the largest markets,” he said, referring to China.
But Miyares remains hopeful that the American people will not stand for it. “American companies need to realize that they have to reflect American values — not the values of the CCP.”
“And if they don’t change course, then the American people and the marketplace — which is very powerful — will hold them accountable,” he said.