U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is backing U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley’s, D-Oreg., proposal to have the White House create a China Censorship Monitor and Action Group.
Merkley introduced the proposal this week with the support of Rubio, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
“The legislation would require President Biden to establish the China Censorship Monitor and Action Group, an interagency task force to oversee the development and execution of a strategy to better understand and respond to the ramifications of China’s censorship of Americans and American companies. The task force would create an annual report, complete congressional briefings, and be chaired by the National Security Council staff and include a vice-chair from the National Economic Council staff with representation from a broad range of U.S. government agencies,” Rubio’s office noted.
“In addition, the bill would require a nonpartisan research organization or federally funded research and development center to develop a report detailing major trends, patterns, and methods of China’s censorship and intimidation and their effects on the United States. This information is critical to crafting best practices for American industries and companies, the U.S. government, and individual Americans,” Rubio’s office added.
The senators championing the proposal weighed in on it this week.
“The Chinese Government and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continue to use censorship and intimidation to bully American companies on issues deemed sensitive to the CCP,” Rubio said. “By highlighting Beijing’s coercive efforts against American citizens and companies, this interagency task force will shine a light on the long arm of China’s authoritarian reach.”
“The ability to express oneself and make one’s voice heard is a fundamental human right—one that billions around the world cherish, and billions more yearn for,” Merkley said. “We must monitor and address the impacts of China’s censorship and intimidation of Americans and our companies, so we can create a strategy to safeguard this bedrock freedom and hold those accountable who suppress and destroy it.”
“For years, the Chinese government has weaponized political censorship in order to intimidate and silence anyone who opposes them. Texans who speak their minds should never have to live in fear of recriminations from a foreign adversary like the Chinese Communist Party,” Cornyn said. “This legislation would urge President Biden to take critical steps to combat China’s rampant and dangerous regime of censorship, and I am proud to support it.”
The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. House.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.