Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, today criticized the Chinese government’s response to peaceful protests in Hong Kong and condemned its repressive, authoritarian nature.
A video of Rubio’s remarks during today’s subcommittee hearing is available here. An excerpt of Rubio’s remarks is below:
Senator Rubio: “But here’s my final point. I think that the lesson to be learned by all this is, that all this talk out there – that the hopes that these economic interchanges and dialogue with China was going to change the nature of the central government – is a fairytale. It’s wishful thinking. This government, as it’s currently structured in China, this is their nature – is to control, to be authoritarian. And every instance in which they have been challenged in that, or challenged toward more of a democratic or societal opening, they have pushed back against. And Hong Kong is the latest example of it.
“And I think there is a lesson to be learned there, that if we are hanging our hopes on the fact that more economic interchange with them is going to somehow transform them into a more open, more liberalized and more inclusive government, it doesn’t seem that way at this point. Certainly, from their reaction with what’s happened in Hong Kong. And I think that’s a factor that we need to accept today as a reality, and base our policy based on that reality because this does not leave me hopeful that this is a government, that at any point in the near future, is going to be more open and more accommodating.
“In fact, it is the tactics of a government that’s becoming increasingly more centralized, more authoritarian and more willing to take strong actions against those who challenge the authority of the Communist Party in the central government. And I think that bodes ill for the future of the region, and, quite frankly, of the world as China takes on a greater economic and military importance.”