(USA Features) Sen. Marco Rubio is warning that China has essentially weaponized American corporate “lust for profits” in ways that are extremely harmful to Americans and detrimental to U.S. national security.
“It is time to wake up” and soberly view how reliant corporate America has become on the Communist Chinese, the Florida Republican said during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday.
“U.S. corporations are so desperate to have access to the Chinese market that they’ll lead costly boycotts in an American state that passes a law that they don’t like,” Rubio said.
“American companies have actually fired Americans who live in America for saying or writing something that China doesn’t like,” he added.
He went on to list several examples of occasions where U.S. businesses let employees go, removed specific articles of clothing from U.S. sales funnels, and cut off links to other American businesses after being pressured to do so by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Fox News reported.
Rubio also warned that Beijing’s threat to American national security interests goes beyond just the corporate world and in reality has become the “biggest illegal wealth transfer from one nation to another in the history of mankind.”
“The long arm of China is not some futuristic threat, it’s already here,” Rubio noted further.
“China is stealing between $300 and $600 billion a year of American technology and intellectual property,” he said.
“They hack into networks and they take it. They use venture capital funds to buy promising technology startups. They hide their ownership, by the way,” Rubio said.
“They partner with universities on research and then they steal that research — often research whose seed funding came from the U.S. taxpayer. They force American companies doing business in China to give the technology over to them,” the senator added.
The Florida Republican also talked about increasing security concerns surrounding China that extend beyond cyber and technology-related threats.
“Today the Chinese Communist Party has more control over what Americans can say, what we can hear, what we can read, what we can watch than any foreign government has ever had in our history,” Rubio told fellow committee members.
“Most people don’t realize that China already has tremendous influence and control over what Americans are allowed to say or hear about them or many of the other issues in the world,” he noted further.
“Hollywood is so desperate, for example, to have their movies shown in China that Hollywood won’t make a movie that China’s communist censors don’t approve,” Rubio said.
He also made clear that his statements had nothing to do with anti-Chinese sentiment.
“This is not about the Chinese people or especially not about Chinese-Americans,” Rubio said. “The long arm of China is not some futuristic threat. It’s already here.”
Rubio went on to introduce a pair of bills Wednesday that would ban American banks from lending to any projects that the Chinese government controls, as well as countering CCP influences on the American people.
During his term, then-President Donald Trump took a number of steps to counter China’s growing influence and threats by limiting how Chinese companies were allowed to operate in the U.S.
In addition, the Trump administration sought better trade deals with China and banned Beijing’s telecoms like giant Huawei from doing business with American companies over national security concerns.