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Video: Rubio Honors Human Rights Defenders Ahead of Chinese President’s Visit

Sep 25, 2015 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), said the U.S. must commit to embracing the struggle of China’s real heroes in a video message to be played this morning at a Washington breakfast honoring human rights defenders in China.
 
View Rubio’s remarks here.
 
For TV stations interested in airing a broadcast quality version of Rubio’s message, a download is available here.
 
Full transcript of Rubio’s message is available below:
 
“Good morning, I’m Marco Rubio, and it’s my honor and privilege to represent Florida in the United States Senate.
 
“I want to welcome all of you here on behalf of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which I am pleased to co-chair with Congressman Chris Smith. Our commission and the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission are pleased to partner with many respected human rights organizations to host this breakfast—a breakfast to honor China’s human rights defenders, on the occasion of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Washington.
 
“I regret that I am unable to join you in person this morning and I imagine there is a certain somberness to this morning’s gathering. Among the distinguished guests and speakers are several who have personally suffered at the hands of the Chinese government. Their stories paint a sobering picture of life in China for those who dare to dissent, or to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience.
 
“In fact I understand that some of today’s speakers reconsidered their involvement due to pressure on their family members. This is sadly a favorite tactic of the Chinese government. They routinely imprison individuals and then they go after their families. Their repressive reach is long, extending well beyond their borders, in some cases all the way here to the United States.
 
“While the proverbial – and literal – red carpet is rolled out for President Xi, a prominent human rights lawyer is unaccounted for, his whereabouts unknown after being taken into custody by the Public Security Bureau. While glasses will be raised at the White House to toast President Xi, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate from China languishes in prison.
 
“The diplomatic honors being offered by President Obama to China are images that will be proudly broadcast on Chinese state run media. This sends a terrible message to the house church pastor in China fearing for the future of his church, as well as the elderly journalist silenced by her jailers. The President is sending the unforgivable message that the United States stands with the oppressors, instead of the oppressed.
 
“The United States and China are two great nations with much potential for cooperation between our peoples. But as long as China’s rulers deny the Chinese people their fundamental rights, the full potential for our relationship will remain unfulfilled.
 
“Famed Russian dissident Natan Sharansky, testified at a Lantos Commission hearing just steps away from today’s gathering. He reflected, ‘We never could survive even one day in the Soviet Union, if our struggle was not the struggle of the free world.’
 
“This reality has been echoed time and again by dissidents and activists, democrats and human rights defenders, the world over.
 
“The United States must commit to embracing the struggle of China’s real heroes—the men and women who courageously lay claim, regardless of the cost, to their basic human rights. This morning is an occasion to honor them—for they represent the future of China. And, as I have said on multiple occasions, the impact of true freedom for the Chinese people will fundamentally change the course of human history.
 
“I thank you for the work you are doing to raise awareness about their plight and to bring that day closer. Together, we look forward to that day when the God-given rights of the Chinese people are finally realized.”