McConnell Condemns Treatment of Jimmy Lai and Continued Crackdown on Hong Kongers
‘The United States must continue to work alongside China’s peaceful neighbors and our democratic allies like Japan and Australia. We must give voice to those in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet who have been repressed and jailed.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding China:
“Last week, the struggle to preserve freedom and autonomy in Hong Kong was dealt another disturbing blow.
“On Thursday, Jimmy Lai, a prominent media figure and pro-democracy activist, was denied bail. The Chinese Communist Party continues cracking down on dissent and free speech.
“Not long ago, the international community hoped China’s modernization would create more respect for basic freedoms. Unfortunately, the CCP has just marshaled new tools for making its oppression even more stifling.
“And internationally, we’ve seen the CCP find more success exporting its warped vision into the global public square than the free world has had getting Beijing to respect the rules of the road.
“For the last four years, thanks to this Administration’s leadership and this Senate, we’ve begun exchanging the old naivete about China for a smarter and tougher approach.
“Through new National Security and National Defense Strategies, the United States has committed to deterring a new wave of threats from near-peer competitors like China and Russia.
“Reforms to our budgets and policies are underway. We’ve used NDAAs and appropriations to invest in a military that is prepared to meet and defeat these threats.
“Maintaining our edge will mean sustaining these reforms, along with strong diplomacy to counter China’s influence.
“In coordination with the executive branch, our Intelligence Committee has highlighted the need for everyone to strengthen their defenses against the CCP’s espionage, intellectual property theft, and political influence campaigns.
“Senators Cornyn and Feinstein, in particular, have led bipartisan efforts to reform CFIUS and protect against predatory foreign investments aimed at threatening or stealing high-tech and critical infrastructure.
“Allied countries are following our lead. And public- and private-sector cooperation has improved, to defend the institutions, alliances, and international order the CCP wants to disrupt.
“The Administration has worked with international partners to ensure the security of 5G, reassert freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, and blunt harmful elements of China’s exploitative Belt and Road Initiative.
“Of course, more must be done, particularly on human rights. The treatment of Hong Kongers in the spotlight reminds the world of the ways we know Beijing is treating Uighurs and Tibetans in the shadows.
“And if China treats its own citizens with brutal violence, just think how it plans to treat its neighbors.
“So I welcome the latest sanctions imposed by the Administration and the latest authorities granted by Congress. We are raising the stakes for China’s repression.
“But our work isn’t over.
“Our partners will continue to look to us to lead with a tone of zero tolerance for this behavior.
“The United States must continue to work alongside China’s peaceful neighbors and our democratic allies like Japan and Australia.
“We must give voice to those in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet who have been repressed and jailed.
“We must stand against the worst instincts and actions of the Communist Party.”
Related Issues: China