February 1, 2023

Ricketts, Rubio, 12 GOP Senators Urge Blinken, Yellen to Hold CCP Accountable Ahead of Trips to China

February 1, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and 12 other GOP colleagues urged U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen to avoid giving the Chinese Communist Party a propaganda win and hold the CCP accountable for its egregious human rights abuses, unfair trade practices, leading role in the fentanyl crisis, and aggression towards allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific. The Secretaries are traveling to China while CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping launches a charm offensive and the Biden Administration struggles to formulate an adequate strategy to deal with Beijing.

U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ted Budd (R-NC), Rick Scott (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) also signed the letter.

The full text of the letter is available here.

Dear Secretaries Blinken and Yellen:

We write in advance of your upcoming visits to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). We urge you to use the trips to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for its human rights violations, unfair trade practices, and increasing aggression in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. Anything less would be a concession to our country’s greatest threat.

The CCP is the worst offender of human rights. Both the Biden and Trump Administrations have determined that Beijing’s actions against Uyghurs, and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) – including its system of mass surveillance and internment, denial of individuals’ rights to peacefully practice their religion, and use of forced labor, sexual violence, forced abortion, and forced sterilization of women – constitute genocide and crimes against humanity. Moreover, the CCP continues to deny basic human rights to other groups whom the regime deems a threat, such as Tibetans, Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners. The CCP is also responsible for fueling the fentanyl crisis in our county, a scourge which has, and continues, to kill Americans. Finally, the CCP continues the horrible practice of wrongfully detaining U.S. citizens and the family members of U.S. citizens, including David Lin, Mark Swidan, Kai Li, Gulshan Abbas, Ekpar Asat, and Zhou Deyong. You must make clear that the United States will not cooperate with a regime that uses hostages as bargaining chips.

Beijing also has a long history of unfair trade practices and industrial espionage, which has caused immense harm to American workers and our economy. Over the last several decades, the PRC has engaged in a methodical campaign to steal American intellectual property and research, often redirecting the acquired technologies to military ends. It has repeatedly abused its privileges in the world trading system to exploit our nation’s open economy and establish itself a leader in critical industries, including pharmaceuticals, rare-earth minerals, and commodities such as steel. We are pleased that the U.S. Trade Representative has continued to impose Section 301 tariffs on certain products made in the PRC in response to its “unreasonable” and “discriminatory” non-market practices, and this tool should continue to be used to counter unfair trade policies of the PRC. Meanwhile, much more needs to be done to rebalance our economic relationship with Beijing.

Additionally, the CCP has stepped up its aggression in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. According to the Biden Administration’s National Security Strategy, the PRC is “the only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.” Indeed, General Secretary Xi Jinping stated in his 20th Party Congress report that the CCP has “shown a fighting spirit and a firm determination to never yield to coercive power.” As we have seen recently, General Secretary Xi has engaged in unacceptable and provocative behavior in the Taiwan strait and along the Himalayan border with India. Beyond the Indo-Pacific, the CCP has stood up “police” offices and intelligence collection outposts in the United States, Japan, and throughout Europe to suppress dissidents and keep tabs on those who Beijing deems a threat. It is evident that General Secretary Xi is determined to use coercion and aggression against the U.S. and our allies and partners to achieve his geopolitical goals. Deterring the CCP from achieving these goals, therefore, must be our top priority.

We respectfully request that you use your visits to impress the aforementioned points upon your PRC counterparts, as well as convey that the United States will no longer tolerate such abuses against American citizens, American businesses, and American allies. If you fail to do so, we fear that these meetings will simply become a propaganda win for the CCP and bring no material benefit to the American people or our allies and partners.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.