McConnell: This Pandemic Came From China and the Chinese Communist Party’s Tactics Have Made It Worse
‘Alongside our friends and partners around the world, the United States is going to be asking tough questions about our relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the People’s Republic of China:
“And then, there is the matter of the People’s Republic of China.
“This coronavirus pandemic originated in China. Whether the virus escaped from a lab or was transmitted at a so-called wet market, we do not yet know for sure.
“But Chinese Communist Party leaders probably do know. And they owe it to all the nations suffering from this virus to be truthful and transparent.
“The world deserves the facts. All of the facts.
“Here is one fact we do know: The virus’s spread was exacerbated by China’s unconscionable efforts to cover it up.
“The Communist Party reprimanded and threatened to jail Dr. Li Wenliang, the heroic whistleblower who tried to warn the world about COVID-19 and later died from it.
“Within hours of his death, by the way, a wave of outrage over the CCP’s treatment of Dr. Li spread on Chinese social media – until the government censored that, too.
“At the peak of the outbreak, the CCP was reportedly welding its own people inside their own houses.
“And today, you better believe the party commissars are training their sights on the Chinese survivors, activists, and lawyers who dare seek the truth.
“Outside the borders, China’s leaders seemed to think they could either charm, cajole, or threaten the world into submission. They supposedly “donated” medical supplies to foreign countries that quickly proved faulty and unusable. They threatened to boycott Australian beef. They even threatened to cut off pharmaceutical exports to the U.S. so that we would be, quote, “plunged into the mighty sea of coronavirus.” End quote.
“It’s galling. But it’s not surprising.
“This is the same authoritarian regime that has brutalized the Uighur people in modern-day gulags. That has spent years cheating its way through international commerce and stealing industrial secrets.
“Now it is exploiting the global pandemic that it helped exacerbate to further its crackdown on Hong Kong.
“A few weeks ago, the government arrested peaceful democracy activists including my old friend of almost three decades, Martin Lee. I suppose they thought the rest of the world might be too distracted to notice. They were mistaken.
“Alongside our friends and partners around the world, the United States is going to be asking tough questions about our relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.
“I expect the Senate will soon look to pass Senator Rubio’s Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, a bipartisan bill that will bring more attention to the plight of this mistreated minority and urge the President to use targeted sanctions against those responsible for the repression.
“And while we and our allies already saw the risks from letting critical supply chains to become too dependent on China, the CCP’s recent behavior has certainly hammered this home.
“I’m confident that we here in Washington will be examining these strategic vulnerabilities.
“We’ll be looking for the best ways to strengthen our dynamic and innovative private sector, keep America on the cutting edge, and work closely with our friends who share our values and interests to build a fairer and more resilient international market.
“Notice that China is not retrenching or drawing back within its borders. Quite the opposite.
“So if we want to preserve a world built on our democratic values and principles. If we want to protect American workers, American interests, and American national security. All of these things will take more global leadership and more coordination with our allies, not less.
“Tomorrow, May 8th, is the 75th anniversary of V-E Day. If we ever needed a reminder that American strength is a force for good in the world, there it is.
“Thanks to the tireless work of our colleague Senator Pat Roberts, tomorrow was meant to be the dedication for the new Eisenhower Memorial. It has been postponed due to the virus.
“It almost seems fitting that 75 years after World War II, a celebration for President Eisenhower would be delayed by a global crisis that will take American strength and American leadership to resolve. He certainly knew something about that kind of situation.
“Now, as then, the American people do not want to retreat from the world and they do not want to see us slide into second place.
“They want us to be smart and strong and safe. And they want the United States of America to lead.”