VIDEO: Rubio Raises Concerns About the Growing Threat Posed by China
Washington, D.C. – At a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) highlighted the threat posed by China’s growing influence, including their long-term multi-faceted strategy to supplant the United States internationally, and raised these concerns with Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Michael Wray.
Last week, Rubio urged five Florida schools to terminate their agreements with Chinese government-run programs known as Confucius Institutes. Rubio has previously sounded the alarm on Beijing’s growing influence in the United States and its attempts to defend its authoritarian system.
A transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below:
RUBIO: Thank you, thank you all for being here. I also echo the same words everyone else shared with you about the esteem we have for all of our agencies and the important work they do. I think this already has been touched upon. I do believe that Russia, Vladimir Putin in particular, his efforts around the world, are very important. But the biggest issue of our time in my view, and I think in the view of most of the members of this committee and I would venture to guess most of the members of this panel, is China and the risk they pose. I’m not sure in the 240 something odd-year history of this nation we have ever faced a competitor and potential adversary of this scale, scope and capacity. It is my personal view, and shared by many people, that they are carrying out a well-orchestrated, well-executed, very patient long-term strategy to replace the United States as the most powerful and influential nation on earth. You see that reflected in this repeated use of the term ‘community of common destiny’ which basically means a retreat from western values of democracy and freedom and openness towards some other model that benefits them. And their pursuit of this appears to be every element of their national power, military, commercial, trade, economics, information and media. The tools they use are everything from hacking into companies and critical infrastructure and defense contractors, every way you can imagine to using our immigration system against us, to even our universities. And that’s where I wanted to begin this week. Let me ask this, I start this with Director Coats: is it your view that the United States, today as a government, is prepared for the scale, scope and magnitude of the challenge presented by this plan that China is carrying out?
RUBIO: Just to highlight the different ways and untraditional ways in which they’re pursuing this plan, Director Wray let me ask you, what in your view could you say in this setting is the counterintelligence risk posed to U.S. national security from Chinese students, particularly those in advanced programs in sciences and mathematics?
RUBIO: In that vein, last week I wrote a letter to five higher education institutions in Florida about the Confucius institutes, which are funded by China, Chinese government dollars at U.S. schools. And it is my view they’re complicit in these efforts to covertly influence public opinion and to teach half-truths designed to present Chinese history, government or official policy in the most favorable light. Do you share concerns about Confucius institutes as a tool of that whole of society effort and as a way to exploit the sort of naive view among some in the academic circles about what the purpose of these institutes could be?
DIRECTOR WRAY: We do share concerns about the Confucius Institutes. We have been watching that development for a while. It is just one of many tools that they take advantage of. We have seen some decrease recently in their own enthusiasm and commitment to that particular program but it is something that we’re watching warily and in certain instances have developed appropriate investigative steps.