U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was named chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) on Wednesday.
The assignment is not exactly unfamiliar to Rubio who co-chaired the CECC the last two years. Besides sitting on the U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Rubio serves on the Senate Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism Subcommittee and on the East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy Subcommittee.
Launched in 2000 “with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China,” the CECC is made up of nine senators, nine members of the U.S. House and five administration officials approved by the president.
Rubio said he would use his new post to continue to keep his eye on the Communist regime in charge of China.
“I am honored to continue leading the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and I remain committed to exposing the brutality of the Chinese government and the heroic efforts of brave Chinese dissidents,” said Rubio. “As documented in our last annual report, President Xi is consolidating his own power through forced ideological conformity and the systematic persecution of human rights lawyers and defenders, and conditions in China are deteriorating. The situation is bleak for people of faith, women’s activists, labor advocates, and others, and their plight deserves the attention of American policymakers.
“The commission’s political prisoner database is an invaluable resource containing more than 1,400 active cases of political and religious prisoners,” Rubio added. “Each case represents a real person who is suffering or oppressed because of their beliefs or free expression. The commission will shine a bright light on these abuses and press the Chinese government to change its behavior.”
Taking Rubio’s place as co-chair is U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ. On Wednesday, Rubio praised Smith for his efforts in backing human rights in China.
“Congressman Smith has a longstanding and unwavering commitment to promoting human rights in China and around the globe,” Rubio said. “Together, we will stand with Chinese dissidents and prisoners and be their voice, while urging administration officials to make these issues a priority in our bilateral relationship with China.”