Rubio: China Has Deputized ‘Woke’ American Corporations as Its Lobbyists

The Chinese Communist Party has deputized “woke” American corporations to function as lobbyists on its behalf, Sen. Marco Rubio argued in an address Tuesday at the Heritage Foundation.

Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, called China “the most formidable near-peer adversary this country has ever faced.”

“For decades, the members of the Chinese Communist Party hid their true ambitions to remake the global order to become the world’s most powerful nation,” the Florida Republican said. “They don’t hide it anymore.”

Rubio has sought to push his own party’s stance on China to become more assertive, and he hit the White House and Democratic lawmakers for what he called an insufficient China bill and allowing “progressive identity politics” to influence their response to “the unprecedented threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party.”

Rubio argued that a fear of appearing xenophobic has led “woke” American companies to make moves that were in the interests of China instead of the United States.

“Beijing has and continues to deputize American corporations and turn them into their lobbyists and their advocates right here in Washington,” Rubio said, pointing to “iconic brands” such as Nike and Coca Cola as among those that lobbied against his bill to ban imports of goods produced by Uyghur slave labor.

“It was interesting last night to read Disney, which filmed Mulan in Xinjiang in the very province where they have these genocide camps, and then in the credits of the movie, they thank the local government officials who run those camps, but apparently, they’re outraged that in Florida, our schools won’t be teaching 5-year-olds about gender identity,” Rubio said in reference to a controversial bill signed by Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis this week, which blocks classroom instruction on topics of sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through 3rd grade.

Rubio said that while companies do need to make a profit or they will cease to be companies, he condemned what he called a “lack of corporate patriotism” in dealing with the Chinese regime.

In his address, Rubio argued that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine “is a shocking reminder of the cruelty and the atrocities that man is capable of” and signals the “return of history,” a nod to an argument by political scientist Francis Fukuyama that the acceptance of liberal democracy will end ideological battles and will be the final form of human government.

Rubio said that even as the West seeks to end Putin’s war, ”there is a greater challenge that awaits America and the world in the Far East.”

Rubio argued that while Moscow has a nuclear arsenal, Beijing has one as well and a stronghold on critical supply chains and global markets. He said that the Chinese Communist Party is unfettered by concepts such as “universal rights and global engagement and international law” in its quest for “raw power.”

“They believe that the only way for them to become more powerful is to make others weaker, particularly America,” Rubio said.