Washington, D.C. — Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke at an open hearing regarding the counterintelligence threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to the United States. A video of his opening remarks can be found here and a lightly edited transcript is below.
“The members of this committee on a regular basis review some of the most sensitive intelligence — both intelligence and the products that come from them — that this government has available to it.
“So I think it should send a powerful message when you see that on issue after issue relating to China, issues that some would argue are outside the purview of what this committee has traditionally looked at — technology, academia, influence operations, global diplomacy, industrial policy — that it is members of this committee that you see in the lead on so many issues relating to China.
“Because members of this committee have, because of the role they play, have a very unique insight into this horror show that's playing out before our eyes in the 21st century.
“The title of this hearing is ‘The Long Arm of China.’ The long arm of China is not some futuristic threat. It's already here.
“China is stealing between 300 and 600 billion dollars a year, three to six hundred 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. They partner with universities on research and then they steal that research — often research whose seed funding came from the U.S. taxpayer. They force American companies doing business in China to give the technology over to them.
“And I think the other thing most people don't realize is that China already has tremendous influence and control over what Americans are allowed to say or hear about them or many of the other issues in the world. 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.
“The U.S. 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.
“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.
“In 2019, China suspended business ties with the NBA because the general manager of the Houston Rockets expressed support for Hong Kong democracy protests.
“In 2019, Apple removed an app that enabled protesters in Hong Kong to organize following CCP pressure.
“In 2019, an American company, Activision Blizzard, suspended a gamer and took away his prize money for voicing support for Hong Kong protesters.
“In 2018, Marriott fired an employee that ran a social media account because he liked a Twitter post from a Twitter account applauding Marriott for listing Tibet as a country rather than as part of China, and he was fired after that.
“In 2018, Gap made a shirt with a map of China and it didn't include Taiwan. They apologized for it and they removed the shirt from its stores. Now, maybe you think that shirt thing is trivial. I don't think people getting fired is trivial, apps getting trivial, these are just one of a handful of many, and this is already happening.
“So in conclusion, I'd say two things. The first is that the Chairman is absolutely right, this is not about the Chinese people or especially not about Chinese-Americans.
“My parents came from Cuba; I live in a community filled with Cuban-Americans. It would be unfair to blame Cuban-Americans for the atrocities of the Cuban regime and it would most certainly be unfair to blame the Cuban people for the horrifying actions of the regime that controls that enslaved island.
“Likewise, the biggest opponents of the Chinese Communist Party on the planet happen to be Chinese. Many live here, many in other parts of the world, and many under their oppressive thumb. So this is not about the Chinese people, it is about a Communist Party. And it is time to wake up.
“Today, China is already carrying out the biggest illegal wealth transfer from one nation to another in the history of mankind.
“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.
“And they have weaponized our openness, they have weaponized our decency, and they have weaponized a corporate lust for profits against us.
“And if we don't wake up, and we don't address this now, the America our children are going to inherit very soon could very well be one where the sanctimonious preachings of a genocidal communist tyranny will be the only thing that Americans will be allowed to hear or say about China. So I'm glad we're having this hearing.”