Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio is saying China has “weaponized” the United States’ “corporate lust for profits,” adding that America’s reliance on the Chinese Communist Party is a national security threat.
Rubio issued the chilling warning during a rare public Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday as he called on the US to “wake up” or risk inheriting China’s “genocidal communist tyranny.”
“The long arm of China is not some futuristic threat. It’s already here,” the Sunshine State senator testified.
“Today, the Chinese Communist Party has more control over what Americans can say, what we can hear, what we can read, what we can watch, than any foreign government has ever had in our history.
“They have weaponized our openness, they have weaponized our decency and they have weaponized a corporate lust for profits against us.”
Rubio argued that Americans don’t even realize the “tremendous influence and control” China already has over the US.
He pointed to several examples of American businesses caving to CCP pressure by firing employees or removing clothing for sale that is critical of China or transgresses Chinese censorship policy.
“The US corporations are so desperate to have access to the Chinese market that they’ll lead costly boycotts of a state — an American state — that passes a law that they don’t like, but they don’t dare say a word about the fact that, as we speak, genocide is taking place against Uyghur Muslims,” he said.
“American companies have actually fired Americans who live in America for saying or writing something that China doesn’t like. There’s some examples here that are pretty stunning.”
He noted how China dropped business ties with the NBA and banned pre-season broadcasts in 2019 after the Houston Rockets’ general manager posted a pro-Hong Kong tweet amid ongoing unrest.
In response, Nike removed Houston Rockets merchandise from its stores in China.
The NBA later issued an apology over the tweet.
Rubio, however, argued that China’s threat extended beyond corporate America, adding that it amounts to the “biggest illegal wealth transfer from one nation to another in the history of mankind.”
He warned that China’s influence now affected university research, startups and even Hollywood.
“China is stealing between 300 and 600 billion dollars a year… of American technology and intellectual property. They hack into networks and they take it. They use venture capital funds to buy promising technology startups. They hide their ownership, by the way,” he said.
“They partner with universities on research and then they steal that research — often research whose seed funding came from the US taxpayer. They force American companies doing business in China to give the technology over to them.
“Hollywood is so desperate, for example, to have their movies shown in China that Hollywood won’t make a movie that China’s communist censors don’t approve.”
Rubio — and other lawmakers — emphasized during the hearing that the concerns were solely with the Chinese government and not with the Chinese people or Chinese Americans.
The hearing came as Rubio introduced legislation on Wednesday seeking to ban American banks from lending to CCP-controlled projects.