A group of Republican Senators penned a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, urging them to take action on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) suppression of free speech and freeflow of vital information. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) spearheaded the effort.
Other countries like Turkey, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Venezuela have also silenced speech and reporting on the coronavirus, or used the pandemic as an excuse to institute draconian laws and surveillance regimes.— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) April 13, 2020
.@JohnCornyn, @MarcoRubio, @SenatorLoeffler, & @SenJoniErnst joined me in calling on @SecPompeo & @USAmbUN to speak out against authoritarian regimes silencing free speech & reporting. pic.twitter.com/e9zCq1Ap9V— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) April 13, 2020
Proud to join this effort. We must work to combat the suppression of free speech & flow of info during this pandemic.— Senator Kelly Loeffler (@SenatorLoeffler) April 14, 2020
Make no mistake - we are in this war-like situation because of China’s failure to act on #COVID19 swiftly & honestly.
We cannot allow this to happen again. https://t.co/3RqkMSpnuz
The CCP was negligent in reporting cases of COVID-19, and undoubtedly covered up the severity of the virus. As the letter notes, China is not friendly toward free speech nor freedom of the press, and this hostility played a role in the escalation of COVID-19.
“It has become clear that some leaders are utilizing the virus as a guise to enforce their own illiberal agendas, suppress the free flow of information, increase digital surveillance and quash dissent...We now know that suppression of information and censorship of criticism gave room for the virus to propagate and spread,” the letter reads.
China and the CCP are both hostile to journalists, and have used the virus as an additional avenue to suppress journalistic criticism. As the letter points out, journalists have been expelled from China since the start of COVID-19:
“Now, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using this public health emergency as a thin veil to cover a crackdown on peaceful dissent and freedom of speech. China has expelled at least 13 journalists from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post and banned them from working in Hong Kong and Macau,” the GOP Senators write.
The GOP Senators urge Sec. Pompeo and Ambassador Craft to document these violations and work to hold the CCP accountable. Republicans on Capitol Hill have proven themselves to be the party that will hold China accountable for the CCP’s human rights violations, and their role in the spread of COVID-19.
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