On Friday, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. spoke at the Hudson Institute on China’s threat to the United States’ national security and economic stability, and how the international community must stand united against China and fight for human rights.
Scott’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Today, we’re here to talk about the threat we face from Communist China – and remember it is Communist China. We can’t forget that.
Xi, the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, is a dictator and human rights violator who is denying basic rights to the people of Hong Kong, cracking down on dissidents, militarizing the South China Sea, and imprisoning more than one million Uyghurs in internment camps simply because of their religion.
We cannot continue to pretend that General Secretary Xi is a world leader intent on pursuing policies of freedom, economic cooperation and peace. He pursues policies that are good for the Chinese Communist Party. Period.
He is a despot in disguise. He’s Mao Zedong with a makeover.
Unfortunately, the last few decades of policies coming out of Washington have not solved the problem of Communist China. We’ve merely altered the battlefield.
For far too long, since President Nixon boldly traveled to Communist China in 1972, the United States has pursued a policy of cooperation and integration.
President Nixon’s goal was to disassociate Communist China from the Soviet Union and prevent their further intrusion into Southeast Asia.
But as the decades marched on, policy-makers in Washington convinced themselves that they could change Communist China – that they could bring them into the world community.
Some focused solely on strengthening the U.S. economy and expanding opportunity for American companies. A relationship with Communist China was an opportunity to venture into new markets, new industries and new wealth.
On this front, some companies have seen great success in the short term. But others have watched as the Communist Chinese government orchestrated the theft of intellectual property and ultimately, customers.
For those whose focus was on spreading American values of freedom, democracy, and capitalism around the globe, the hope was that a relationship with Communist China would naturally result in their adoption of our values.
Many were convinced that if they showed Communist China and its people the benefits of a free-market economy, of human rights and individual dignity, of a democratic system that respects the will of the people, that they would naturally move in our direction.
It’s time for policy-makers in Washington to admit that this effort has been a complete failure.
Rather than move Communist China in the direction of democratic values, the policy of economic cooperation has simply given Communist China the resources to compete with the United States on a global scale, all while they continued to nationalize industries, steal from U.S. companies, deny basic human rights, violently suppress dissent, and pursue policies of religious oppression.
Our posture towards Communist China has simply strengthened a determined adversary, and one that views this conflict as a zero-sum game. They win, we lose.
For Beijing, their goal of increasing influence around the world requires the United States and other freedom-loving countries to be weakened.
Communist China does not want to join the community of nations so much as it wants to rule it.
The result, whether we want to admit it or not, is a new Cold War.
The threat today is not nuclear annihilation. Rather, this is a Cold War fought with technology, misinformation, and political persuasion.
As I’ve traveled around the world, I’ve seen Communist China’s global reach up close.
In Panama, Communist China is building their own port to control the flow of goods in our hemisphere.
In Argentina, Communist China is building a new nuclear power plant that the Argentine government doesn’t want or need.
Across Africa, Communist China is mining natural resources with the goal of furthering their control.
And all around the world, Chinese state-supported “National Champion” technology companies like Huawei expand their reach.
Right here at home, we’ve been faced with instances of Chinese infiltration into American research institutions with the goal of stealing sensitive, often taxpayer-funded research.
Communist China’s goal is to control as much of the region and the world as they can – we must be clear-eyed about that. And we MUST restructure our global posture and national security apparatus to reflect this growing threat.
Communist China’s strategy is systematic and global:
- They’re building up their military.
- They’re subsidizing strategic industries.
- They’re working to control natural resources.
- They’re infiltrating weak economies and using their presence to exert political influence.
- They’re applying more pressure in East Asia – particularly Hong Kong and Taiwan – while also expanding their reach across the globe.
- They’re building a surveillance state, both inside and outside of Communist China, to dominate and control the flow of information.
Our commitment to peace, democracy and human rights around the globe MUST be paired with an equally global strategy to deal with the growing threat of Communist China.
What I’ve tried to focus on throughout my first year in the U.S. Senate is finding every opportunity possible to reveal Communist China’s true intentions and their fundamentally anti-democratic worldview.
Our goal must be to untangle some of the missteps our government has made to protect the citizens of the United States and the long-term security of our economy.
I introduced legislation that would prevent the federal government from purchasing drones made in Communist China and other adversaries, due to the national security threat.
I introduced legislation that would prohibit intelligence sharing with countries that give Huawei access to their 5G networks.
I introduced legislation that would prevent U.S. companies from selling component parts to Huawei and other Chinese-owned tech companies.
I’ve supported a national defense strategy that reflects a commitment to combatting the threat of Chinese military expansion.
I fought to expose Chinese propaganda outlets like China Daily that collaborate with U.S. media companies to publish inserts appearing to be real news.
I’ve urged U.S. research institutions and hospitals to take steps to safeguard sensitive technology and research – a push that has already resulted in high-profile institutions terminating employees who had undisclosed relationships with Communist China.
I fought – successfully – to get the Peace Corps out of Communist China.
I joined legislation to prevent federal retirement savings funds from being invested in Communist China.
I was the first U.S. Senator to travel to Hong Kong after the protests began and supported the Hong Kong Human Rights & Democracy Act – one of the few bipartisan accomplishments of this Congress. I also introduced legislation that would prevent U.S. companies from selling crowd control equipment to the Hong Kong police.
I supported legislation to urge Taiwan’s admittance into the WHO and have strongly voiced my support for continued arms sales to Taiwan.
I’ve traveled to Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East urging countries to understand the threat from Communist China and not bow to their political and economic pressure.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a tectonic shift in the way policy-makers view the problem of Communist China. It may be the only issue that both parties fundamentally agree on.
We’re taking the threat to our security and our way of life seriously, and that’s progress. But there’s much more to do.
My hope is that discussions like these, and those that are happening in the halls of Congress and in boardrooms across our country, will further our goals of highlighting Communist China’s aggression and developing a comprehensive strategy to address this threat.
I’ve spent a lot of time today talking about the geopolitical threat of Communist China – a threat that will dominate the next century. We often talk about this threat in abstract terms.
But I want to conclude today by talking about the real people that are suffering in Communist China.
There is a human cost to the kind of anti-democratic, anti-religion and anti-human rights regime that General Secretary Xi is leading in Communist China.
I traveled to Hong Kong and have spent many hours meeting with the leaders of the Democratic protests.
Many have been beaten, sexually harassed, or arrested simply for exercising the basic rights they were promised during the handover from Great Britain in 1997.
Nathan Law was one of them. Nathan was one of the student leaders that founded Demosisto in 2016 and he co-founded the Network of Young Democratic Asians to promote exchanges among social activists.
He was elected to the Legislative Council and became the youngest Legislative Councilor in history, only to see his seat overturned by Communist China. He was later jailed for his participation in the Umbrella Movement.
I was honored to have Nathan as my guest at last month’s State of the Union.
Journalists have been imprisoned or expelled from the country for simply reporting the truth. One lost her eye to police violence.
More than one million Muslim minorities are being held in internment camps simply because of their religion – faced with re-education programs, isolation and forced organ harvesting.
In some instances, Communist China has sent men to sleep in the same bed as Uyghur women – a disgusting act with no purpose other than to demean, degrade and dehumanize.
It is cruelty, plain and simple. It’s barbarism.
We can no longer pretend that Communist China is an ally with good intentions – merely a partner with customs and a political system that we don’t fully understand.
We know what Communist China is. We know who they are. Communist China is a totalitarian regime bent on world domination – one that quashes dissent, often violently, and destroys anyone or anything that stands in its way.
We all remember the brave man who stared down Chinese tanks in Tiananmen Square, with no concern for his own life.
The image was an inspiration to millions around the world who stood in solidarity with those students fighting for their basic human rights.
He was nicknamed “Tank Man” and we still don’t know exactly what happened to him. But, we should assume he was murdered by the Communist Chinese regime.
Today in Communist China, we have thousands of images that reflect a continuation of this hero’s resistance against despotic rule.
It’s the protestors in Hong Kong, the journalists risking their lives and their safety to shine a light on injustice, the Uyghurs fighting back bravely in the face of suffering, the politicians questioning Xi’s leadership, the brave health workers who tried to warn us about the Chinese Coronavirus.
We stand with the freedom-loving people of Hong Kong and Taiwan, the historically persecuted people of Tibet, the peaceful community of Uyghur Muslims and Falun Gong, and the journalists and political dissidents in Communist China. We stand for human rights and we stand against political neutrality in the face of evil.
The challenge posed by Communist China is great. We must face this challenge head-on.
It will be the conflict that determines whether the world community will embrace the values of democracy and human rights or cower to the whims of dictators.
I’ll fight every day to make sure we come down on the right side of history.