Appearing with Shannon Bream on Fox News, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who sits on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, came out swinging at China.
Rubio weighed in on the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) ties to China.
“Well first of all it’s troubling. Look, China has a billion people — it’s a massive market, basketball is very popular. And if you’re the NBA, you’re thinking to yourself, ‘we have a chance to sell our product in the biggest market in the world.’ And they see dollar figures and they’re looking to expand and grow,” Rubio said.
“The problem is, this is not just any other market. This is a totalitarian government that doesn’t have any of the same concepts of freedom of speech or human rights that we have in the United States or in many parts of the world. And you have to play by their rules. So when you go to China, number one you are a part of the Chinese government. There’s no other way around it because even their companies have people on their boards and inside of their offices that are from the Communist Party,” he added.
“You’re only in business in China if they allow you to be in business, and by allowing you to be in business, it means you have to play by their rules and serve their purposes. So, the NBA is in the same place as a lot of large corporations when they go into China — they have to look the other way on some pretty atrocious actions on the part of the Chinese Communist Party,” Rubio continued.
Rubio also weighed in on reports that China is forcibly harvesting organs of the Uyghurs.
“It is a horrific allegation,” Rubio said. “No one has been a bigger opponent of what they do than I have been. I’ve heard that allegation before. I don’t have evidence of it. Obviously, if there is evidence of it, the world deserves to know. But, what we already know for sure is they detain people, they put them in camps, they try to strip them of their identity, they force them to change their name, renounce their faith and religion — all sorts of terrible things — and forced labor. They force them to work, and we know that there are Western companies that have benefitted from that.”
Still, Rubio discounted the possibility that the United States can disengage from China.
“[China] is the second-largest economy in the world, the most populous nation on Earth, they are a nuclear power, they are going to continue to grow in power and influence. We have to have a relationship with them, but it has to be a balanced relationship — meaning we can’t continue to allow them to cheat, steal our jobs, and create unfair advantages over us,” Rubio said.
“It also has to be one that doesn’t require us to abandon our fundamental principles — in essence, that requires us to look the other way when they do these horrible things, or when they crack down on free speech, or when they break the rules when it comes to the commitments they made on Hong Kong. The price of that balance and of engagement cannot be that we abandon our principles, our ideals, and, most importantly, our national interest,” he continued.
Rubio also waded in on the latest efforts to pass a coronavirus stimulus bill on Capitol Hill.
“We have to do something for the economy writ large. We know that. I don’t like spending a trillion dollars … but I think the alternative is even worse, which is structural, deep damage to our economy that could take a decade or more to recover from and millions of people losing their jobs. So we have to do something … it’s going to have to be a product of that dirty word called compromise,” Rubio said.
Rubio also offered his take on the $1 trillion “Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act” being championed by Democrats in Congress.
“It’s not going to be the HEROES Act. That bill has all kinds of things in it that have absolutely nothing to do with the pandemic. But it does have to be something that helps people that are looking for jobs and can’t find them right now, helps small business survive, helps protect companies from being sued out of existence, help develop more testing capability and hopefully, ultimately, a vaccine, and helps with the extraordinary costs of going back to school that will be associated with making those schools safe,” Rubio said.
“We have to do all of that, and we have to get it done soon. And I hope we can make some progress and stop playing this sort of political game, back and forth, and finger-pointing, which has become far too common here from my friends, as we call them on the other side of the aisle, the Democrats,” Rubio added.