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Rubio Hosts Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China Press Conference
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke on the threat of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at a press conference marking the start of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China’s (IPAC) summit in Washington, D.C. IPAC is an international coalition designed to help legislators craft a proactive and strategic approach on issues related to the People’s Republic of China. Rubio serves as a U.S. co-chair of IPAC.
See below for a lightly edited transcript of his remarks and watch the video here.
“Welcome to Washington. We’re honored to be able to welcome you here to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China’s first ever summit here in this city. And I want to thank all of our fellow members who traveled from all over the world to be a part of this important gathering.
“I think we live in a moment where there has now been a global awakening, the realization that the planet is threatened by the rise of a totalitarian bloc, an alliance of totalitarians who seek to redefine the world order in their image, who seek not simply to be powerful nations, but the most powerful nations on the planet. And of course, Beijing’s Communist Party leads the way in that regard. It is the challenge that will define the 21st century. When the history of the 21st century is written, it will be about what happened at this moment in the world and which direction the world took.
“It is not simply that nations rise. China is certainly a nation with a proud and ancient history, a large nation, [an] economically powerful nation. That’s not our quarrel. Our quarrel is their design to become the world’s most powerful nation and to do so at the expense of everyone else. To upend the global order so that it reflects the Communist Party’s priorities—what’s good for them first.
“But more importantly, what would a world look like in which the world’s most powerful nation is led by the Chinese Communist Party? What would the world look like if the world’s most powerful and influential nation becomes the one headquartered…[by] the Communist Party in Beijing? Well, then the world’s most powerful country would be one that doesn’t care about personal freedoms—doesn’t care about the freedom of their own people, much less anyone else’s.
“[The CCP] doesn’t believe in simple principles like religious liberty, the right to free speech, democratic elections. The rule of law becomes subservient to what the governing party wants. And their willingness to undermine all of the institutions and the norms of the world to fulfill this ambition is without a doubt the singular geopolitical issue of the 21st century.
“You arrive here in Washington at a time when there…has been a growing bipartisan recognition [of the threat posed by the CCP]…. If you had been here 10 years ago, you would find that the governing consensus in this country was that once China got rich and prosperous, they would become like the rest of us, that they would play by the rules, and that they would see a benefit to becoming like everyone else.
“That has not worked out. What we have learned is that they have taken full advantage of all of the opportunities presented by the global order and all of the opportunities presented by the rules that govern trade and commerce and patents and copyrights and trademarks and international norms—they take all the benefits of it, but they refuse to adhere to any of its responsibilities or obligations.
“Very late—almost too late—there was a realization among policy leaders here in the United States of the threat that this poses. And only now, in just the last three to five years, have you begun to see actions taken on it. I’ve been very proud to have been either involved in or led in all of the major initiatives that have taken place.
“Just a few that I want to point to: I, in a bipartisan way with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both chambers, [was] able to pass the first bill with regards to Uyghurs ever to be signed into law. We also then followed up with legislation that today bans the import into the United States of any goods or products or materials made with slave labor from Xinjiang. This is now the law of the United States. Obviously laws are only as good as our willingness to enforce them. But it was a monumental achievement and one that required us, frankly, to take on powerful corporate interests who have invested a lot of money in productive capabilities that depend on these supply chains.
“We also have put forward legislation that we hope to pass very soon to provide Taiwan with the tools and the training it will need to defend itself from the CCP’s efforts to take them. And I say this to you under the full recognition that I believe there is no way that we get to the end of this decade without something happening, one way or the other, with regards to Taiwan. And that is a moment which threatens to be a seminal moment in human history. If, in fact, the Chinese Communist Party is successful in subjecting the people of Taiwan to living under tyranny, it will be a moment that will steer the course of human events for generations.
“Now, tragically, this year, we have learned about the destruction and abuse that follows when an authoritarian regime decides it is going to forcibly claim a sovereign nation as its own. The unjustified war, the criminal war that Vladimir Putin is now waging in Ukraine, I believe has only succeeded in waking up our allies and the world to the threat that totalitarianism has always posed.
“It’s a threat we should never forget. Because technology changes, habits change, practices change, nations change, [but] human nature never changes. 5,500 years of recorded history shows this. Human nature is the same today as it was 5,500 years ago, and it is a nature which causes those in power to oftentimes seek to subjugate and enslave those who have less power. And it is a desire of our fallen nature that is never satisfied, that can never be negotiated with it, that can only either be surrendered to or defeated.
“The people of Ukraine have shown us which path they’ve taken, the path of resistance and ultimately victory. And so I’m very excited to announce that IPAC has chosen to welcome Ukraine into our organization this year. I can’t think of a more deserving democratic partner on the planet who is at the front lines and in the opening chapter of this unfortunate but necessary battle between the forces of freedom and tyranny—frankly, between the forces of good and evil.”