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Xi Jinping and other Chinese politicians and delegates listen to the national anthem duirng the closing of the 19th Communist Party Congress in 2017. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday released a report finding that the U.S. intelligence community has failed to adapt to the growing threat from China, arguing that it will struggle to compete on the global stage for decades to come if it does not implement major changes.

The big picture: The 200-page report, based on thousands of analytic assessments and hundreds of hours of interviews with intelligence officers, determined that the intelligence community's focus on counterterrorism after 9/11 allowed China "to transform itself into a nation potentially capable of supplanting the United States as the leading power in the world."

Key findings:

  • The Western consensus that China would choose to liberalize as its economy developed was "deeply misplaced," the report concludes, with the belief that democratic systems were "globally inevitable" causing policymakers to be blind to the Chinese Communist Party's "overriding objective of retaining and growing its power."
  • The committee expects China's use of "digital authoritarianism" to surveil and indoctrinate its citizens to continue to be exported abroad — "potentially degrading longstanding international norms concerning the rights of the individual, and the very idea of liberal and free societies."
  • The CCP's efforts to suppress information and "warp the record" of its own actions in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak provide important insights for understanding Beijing's "vast propaganda apparatus," and should have "profound effects on how the United States should track and evaluate events occurring within China."
  • China's aggressive military expansion and dreams of becoming a "science and technology world superpower" could create "entirely new domains of conflict," extending the battlefield to "our political discourse, mobile devices, and the very infrastructure that modern digital communication and communities rely upon."

What they're saying: "The stakes are enormous. We must do everything possible to accurately predict and characterize Beijing’s intent, or we will continue to struggle to understand how and why the leadership of the CCP makes decisions, and fail to respond effectively," House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

Read an unclassified summary of the report.

Go deeper: Subscribe to the weekly Axios China newsletter

Go deeper

Jan 6, 2021 - World

New York Stock Exchange again says it will delist 3 Chinese telecoms

The New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 18. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

The New York Stock Exchange again reversed course Wednesday and announced it would delist three major Chinese telecom companies — China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom Hong Kong.

The backdrop: The NYSE originally announced it would delist the companies on New Year's Eve in order to comply with a White House executive order. The exchange then reversed course late on Monday and said it would no longer delist the telecoms.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 7 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.