Washington, April 27: American lawmaker Marco Rubio alleged that the Chinese Community Party is expanding its authoritarianism abroad, and seeking to control narratives around the world and warned of severe consequences if the US fails to confront it.
"There are very real costs involved if we fail to confront China's pernicious authoritarianism at home and increasingly abroad," Senator Marco Rubio said during a Congressional hearing.
China's Great Firewall, grave rights violations in ethnic minority regions, arrests of citizen journalists and rights lawyers and suppression of speech are the familiar markings of an authoritarian, one-party state, he alleged.
"But to the extent that the same authoritarian impulses animate the Chinese government and Party's efforts abroad, including inside the United States, it directly threatens our most deeply held values and our national interests," Rubio said during the hearing organised by the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC).
He said a key element in the Chinese government's long arm efforts was focused on information technology and internet governance or sovereignty.
"They assert national control of the internet and social media platforms not only in recent domestic cyber legislation and development plans but also at international gatherings. Additionally, there are growing examples of attempts by the Chinese government to guide, buy, or coerce political influence and control discussion of what they deem sensitive topics," Rubio said.
During the hearing, Senator Steve Daines called out China for removing the restriction on sale of Bibles on Chinese e-commerce websites and pressed for increased religious freedom in that country.
"The freedom to practice your religion without a fear of persecution is a human right that knows no borders. The Chinese government must be held accountable for its blatant infringement on individuals' religious freedom," he said.