WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott delivered the keynote speech at the American First Policy Institute’s summit on Communist China, “China 2022: An Olympic-Sized Threat.”
Read Senator Scott’s remarks as prepared for delivery below.
"Thank you for that introduction. I’m glad to be with you all today.
Last week, the opening ceremony for the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing aired on NBC.
The opening ceremony is usually a time to signal something special about the culture of the host city and country.
But in a spectacle that we shouldn’t soon forget, General Secretary Xi had a Uyghur athlete serve as a torchbearer and light the flame for the Olympic cauldron.
It was a perfect example of the kind of propaganda Communist China is known for – they want to whitewash their crimes, and this time they even got NBC’s Savannah Guthrie to echo their talking points.
We all know that this year’s Olympics are tainted – they’re tainted by the genocide of Uyghurs in their homeland.
They’re tainted by the destruction of democracy in Hong Kong.
They’re tainted by labor camps and the ongoing persecution of Tibetan Buddhists, and the continued harassment of Taiwan.
They’re tainted by the pandemic that Communist China started, lied about and then tried to cover up.
I believe these Games serve as a pivotal moment for freedom-loving countries, and a possible inflection point for our global order.
For years, policy-makers in Washington believed they could change Communist China and bring it into the world community.
The common thinking at the turn of century was that entry into the World Trade Organization would expose Communist China to western values that the Chinese government would adopt, and that would lead to a greater level of freedom for its citizens.
It hasn’t worked.
Communist China has used this position to manipulate markets. To lie, cheat and steal. And to fuel its evil regime’s attacks on democracy.
Think about where the status quo of cooperation with Communist China has brought us.
Right now the regime is leading a genocide in the Uyghur homeland, where more than a million Uyghurs are locked up in camps.
Gross crimes, like forced abortion and forced sterilization, have been committed against Uyghur women to reduce the population of Uyghurs.
Children are separated from their parents and pressured to renounce their Uyghur heritage.
Video footage has shown blindfolded Uyghurs being loaded onto trains and transported to prisons.
Human rights groups have indicated that Communist China is guilty of violating every provision of the United Nations Genocide Convention.
And the Party is taking similar actions in Tibet, where they’re putting hundreds of thousands of Tibetans into mass labor camps.
They’re persecuting and harvesting organs of those who practice Falun Gong.
I recently heard from a young man whose 65 year-old mother is a Falun Gong practitioner. She was arrested last week, just days before the Olympics began.
She’s been taken to a detention center in Inner Mongolia and is on a hunger strike.
Police have known about her since 1999 and have twice taken her to forced labor camps, in 2001 and in 2008. Both times she was severely tortured and beaten.
The torture was so devastating she had to be released on medical parole because she was so close to dying. She even suffered a heart attack during the 2008 detention caused by a condition developed during the 2001 torture.
Then you look at the destruction of human rights in Hong Kong and how Xi has shut down independent news outlets like Apple Daily, and jailed pro-democracy activists like Joshua Wong, Martin Lee and Jimmy Lai.
And now you can’t even run for office in Hong Kong without having Beijing’s rubber stamp.
We see how they’re harassing Taiwan and militarizing the South China Sea, and encroaching on waters belonging to Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan.
You think about the Belt and Road Initiative and their plan to drown developing nations in debt so they can form an economic bloc of partners.
Beijing props up dictators in Venezuela and Cuba.
They refuse to abide by trade rules.
Through their Thousand Talents Program, they steal our technology and take our trade secrets.
Meanwhile, Xi is building up the military, consolidating power and rooting out dissent.
Xi has made clear that he doesn’t want to merely compete on the global stage — he wants to set the terms of debate and isolate the U.S. and our allies.
You look at what they’re doing and you can’t help but come to these two conclusions: Communist China has chosen to be our enemy…and we have entered into a New Cold War.
Given these facts, you’d think that the U.S. government would change its approach. Our leaders should be able to look at the previous four decades’ of cooperation and view it as a failure.
President Trump did that. He understood that we could not treat Communist China like any other competitor – we had to treat them as an adversary.
Sadly, the Biden administration has chosen not to follow President Trump’s example.
Joe Biden began by selecting some of the worst possible people imaginable to lead.
For the chief diplomat to the United Nations and the head of the CIA, Biden picked two people who believe American diplomats should accept a diminished role in global affairs because they no longer believe in the power of the American example.
Biden picked John Kerry, who will bend over backwards just so that Beijing might marginally reduce its emissions in the next 50 years, while flying around on a private jet and lobbying against the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.
And then you think about how long this administration went without saying anything about the Beijing Olympics.
I asked President Biden to meet with me about the Olympics and the human rights abuses in Communist China.
I asked him to join me in calling for the games to be moved out of Beijing after the International Olympic Committee ignored my calls.
You know what his response was? Total silence.
What’s more, this administration has done nothing to hold Communist China accountable for failing to meet its end of the Phase One trade agreement. Janet Yellen has even criticized the tariffs on Chinese goods.
You look at how Biden promised to “Buy American” but now he’s using billions of American tax dollars to purchase Chinese-made COVID-19 tests.
You can see that he has taken no significant action to hold General Secretary Xi accountable for his attacks on democracy in Hong Kong, threats against Taiwan or genocide against the Uyghurs.
And now, Biden is pushing a bill that’s nearly 3,000 pages long and has almost nothing to do with countering Communist China.
He’s an embarrassing appeaser-in-chief, and then has the gall to ridicule Republicans for not doing enough.
This administration can’t do anything but lie and try and distract from the painful reality every American is seeing – Joe Biden doesn’t care.
Instead of choosing to act with strength and promote American values, Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have opted to placate and appease.
During the previous four years, under President Trump, the world began to wake up to the threat of Communist China. He was tough, and you have be tough with dictators like Xi.
You think about what President Trump did: He exposed their unfair trade practices.
He cracked down on TikTok and showed the threat it poses to our kids and to everyone’s privacy.
He removed Hong Kong’s special trade status after General Secretary Xi’s takeover.
Then, it was the Trump administration that exposed Communist China for their genocide and for their currency manipulation.
The administration directed an all-of-government effort to stop and punish Communist China’s attempts to steal and profit from American technology and intellectual property.
And the administration indicted major Chinese drug traffickers for distributing fentanyl in the U.S for the first time ever.
I can think back to the many conversations with the Trump administration about the Peace Corps’ presence in Communist China. I’m proud that we worked together to get them out of there.
We can see that President Trump shook everyone out of their fantasy about Communist China coming to accept western values, and opened the eyes of everyday Americans to the goals of that evil regime.
He handed the Biden administration a proven playbook, but Joe Biden hasn’t even bothered to give it a passing glance.
So moving forward, what can we be doing?
Here are ten ideas.
If you look around, the majority of things Americans use on a daily basic are made in Communist China. An easy first step every American can take is to start thinking about where things are made and choose products not made in Communist China.
Buy American and buy local whenever possible, but we can all have an impact by choosing to refuse to give Communist China and their businesses any more money – it all flows into the hands of the Communist Party.
Second, we have to stop giving U.S. capital to Chinese-based companies through our stock exchanges, investments, and index funds. We should get them out of retirement accounts and our pension plans. They refuse to be transparent about their accounting practices and we shouldn’t be putting American investors and retirees at risk.
That’s why I was proud to co-sponsor Senator Kennedy’s Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which President Trump signed into law. Now it’s holding Chinese firms accountable for their lack of transparency.
Third, when researchers teach at our universities or work in our labs, we have to know exactly who they are. Too many spies have come into our ranks and we cannot allow them to continue to steal our technology.
And while we’re at it, we have to get rid of the Confucius institutes and anything like it in our schools. We know these are avenues for Chinese propaganda to spread and we cannot stand for it.
Fifth, we have to root Communist China out of our supply chains, and bring manufacturing back to the U.S. COVID-19 showed us exactly what happens when we’re overly reliant on Chinese manufacturers, and for the sake of our own national security and resiliency, we have to stop working with Communist China.
During the height of the pandemic, I introduced the American-Made Protection for Healthcare Workers and First Responders Act to ensure the U.S. builds its stockpile of PPE so our first responders and healthcare workers have everything they need.
Sixth, we need to face off against Communist China in international institutions. We cannot let Beijing into positions of power at the United Nations, at the IMF, the World Bank… THE OLYMPICS.
We should not be footing the bill for organizations that allow Communist China to reshape the world according to Xi’s agenda.
When we see organizations help Communist China cover up its abuses, we need to call them out and hold them accountable.
That’s why I have introduced the Irresponsible Olympic Collaboration (IOC) Act with Congressman Michael Waltz to strip the IOC of its tax-exempt status.
THE IOC DOESN’T DESERVE A SINGLE DIME OF OUR TAXPAYER MONEY OR ANY BENEFIT FROM OUR GOVERNMENT.
Seventh, we must hold accountable all of these corporate giants that love to play woke social justice warrior and trash talk conservatives here in the U.S., but then turn a blind eye to genocide in Communist China so they can maintain their profits.
I’m talking about Coke. I’m talking about Nike. I’m talking about Delta.
WE ARE DONE WITH THEIR TWO-FACED CORPORATE HYPOCRISY.
Eighth, we need to strip Communist China of its Permanent Normal Trade Relations status and return to the pre-2001 system. I’ve co-sponsored the China Trade Relations Act, led by Senator Cotton to do just that.
We allowed Beijing to enter into the World Trade Organization, and we have to hold them to account when they refuse to play by the rules and pursue unfair trade practices.
We let them in, but now we need to reign them in.
Ninth, we need to end our policy of strategic ambiguity with Taiwan. I’ve introduced the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act to make clear that we will come to Taiwan’s defense if Beijing invades the island.
And finally, we need to think about how they’re penetrating our technology. I’ve introduced legislation to ban TikTok on government devices and to prevent Chinese-made drones, like those from DJI, from being used by government agencies.
What I’m talking about is a strategic economic and political decoupling with Communist China. This is a New Cold War, and we have to be clear-eyed about our enemy’s intentions, their strategies and their tactics.
Before I conclude, I do want us to understand that I am not attacking the Chinese people.
This is an attack on General Secretary Xi and his genocidal regime.
There are million and millions of good and decent people across China – they don’t want to live in a surveillance state.
They want freedom – economic freedom, religious freedom and political freedom. They want to be able to live their lives free from government control, but the Chinese Communist Party is committed to oppressing them.
The Chinese people have had their liberties systemically eroded, and I’m here to expose that fact. When Uyghurs, and Tibetans and Hong Kongers and all those across mainland China are denied freedom, and denied democracy – I’m here to be their voice.
As Americans, we should be the greatest champions for freedom and democracy in the world, and we should welcome and empower everyone who wants to uphold the principles that have made our nation great.
We cannot allow Xi’s influence to spread, because communism is a cancer.
We know what it’s done in Cuba. We know what it did in Soviet Russia.
We see it at work in Venezuela, and now we have people in America saying socialism is good – we cannot let this spread.
It will kill us, just like it killed one hundred million people in the 20th century.
Communist China is the greatest threat to the freedoms that we love and enjoy, and in the foreseeable future we have to we have to treat them as such.
Clearly, the Biden administration is not up to the task, so the rest of us have to fight hard now and be ready when their time is up.
The global order and status quo of freedom and democracy depend on it.
Thank you, and I look forward to your questions."