WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) delivered floor remarks regarding how America needs to value freedom.
To watch Senator Blackburn’s speech, click below or here.
You can read the transcript below or in the Congressional Record.
Madam President, this has already been a big week in
Tokyo for Team USA, and I hope all of my colleagues have the
opportunity to watch a few minutes of the Olympic Games over the next
Every year, we hear so much from commentators and athletes about how
the Games are an opportunity for the world to come together, and that
is exactly how it once was. Unfortunately, the Olympics are also a
target-rich environment for people and regimes that want to use these
rare moments of unity to trick the world into ignoring evil.
Before we were able to enjoy any of this year's double-pike vaults or
400-meter freestyle swims, we were already worrying about the impending
havoc casting a shadow over the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Late last year, the Chinese Government began pilot testing a new
digital currency that will inevitably knock other domestic mobile
payment systems out of the marketplace.
The digital yuan trial has already pulled in $5.3 billion--that is
correct, $5.3 billion--in transactions, and this month we learned that
cross-border payments are also on the table. In fact, the trial has
been so successful that Beijing wants to expand testing at the 2022
Now, as much as I would like to believe that this is an innocent
effort to bring the world a little closer together, this is the Chinese
Communist Party that we are talking about, and we shouldn't expect good
faith because that is not what we are going to get from the CCP. We
have reason to believe that the Chinese Government intends to use the
digital yuan to conduct a massive surveillance operation on Chinese
citizens and foreign visitors.
It wouldn't be the first time something like this happened. The CCP
has an unfortunate history of weaponizing emerging technologies against
people they would like to control. They used it against the Uighurs,
against freedom fighters in Hong Kong, and on the mainland against
anyone who questions their party propaganda.
They are already using digital payment platforms to spy on their own
people; and if we are not careful, they are going to use them to spy on
This month, I sent a letter to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic
Committee asking them to forbid our athletes from accepting or using
the digital yuan while competing in Beijing.
The threats are changing, and far too often we see our allies and
partners and even our own government ignoring those threats to preserve
the status quo.
You may be asking yourself: Why is so much of the world willing to
look the other way when confronted with genocide in Xinjiang or
murdered protesters in Hong Kong?
It is because speaking up can be dangerous, especially when it comes
to challenging the CCP.
China boasts the most in-demand market in the world. In fact, it is
such a gold mine that you will recall the NBA ignored large-scale child
abuse at its training camps in China just to maintain access to
broadcast advertising and merchandise revenue.
Through the Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese Communist Party has
sunk its teeth into some of the most valuable tourist destinations on
the face of the Earth, on trade route, and strategic outposts.
They have sold this program as an economic development initiative,
but in reality this debt-trap diplomacy is really just an extortion
scheme. Once these countries fall into the trap, it is almost
impossible to escape.
Even before the pandemic forced the United States into lockdown, I
and several other of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle were
ringing alarm bells about our supply chain security. China is the most
dominant global source of rare Earth minerals, technology
infrastructure, and many active pharmaceutical ingredients.
Long story short, there is a lot on the line for the people of the
United States. The cards are stacked against us.
It would be really easy to protect that valuable status quo by
ignoring human rights violations and extortion schemes and other overt
attempts to make the world a little less free. But as much as we would
like it to be, freedom is not humanity's natural state. It is fragile.
It falls victim to the weak and the power hungry alike, and, if we are
not careful, yes, it will slip away, like it has in so many other
Freedom does have to be fought for, and we need our leaders to set
the example. That means staying focused on not following the example of
countries that have given up their freedom. We don't want to live out
the authoritarian nightmare that the CCP has created, but we also want
to avoid becoming like nations that have already pawned their futures
in pursuit of some grand socialist future.
I fear that our new majority has already lost touch with what the
American people actually want. They sure don't want what the Biden
administration has been selling lately. I can definitely tell you that
after a weekend in Tennessee. They don't feel taken care of. What they
are feeling is that they are being manipulated.
They want to know why President Biden and the Democratic majority
keep trying to pawn off the freedom that makes us an example to the
rest of the world in exchange for more government control that nobody
I would encourage my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to
remember that the American people entrusted them with the power that
they are wasting on these radical wish lists items, and that power can
be taken away just as easily as it was given.
The American people want to make certain that we do as Ronald Reagan
implored us to remember. And, Madam President, as you know, last week I
had that poster here on the floor. Freedom is always one generation
away from extinction. It is our responsibility to fight for it, to pass
I yield the floor