10.30.19

Gardner, Merkley Introduce Bill to Address China’s Intimidation of American Businesses

Legislation Will Create U.S. Government Taskforce and Report to Congress

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, introduced bipartisan legislation today to create a U.S. government taskforce that will monitor instances of China intimidating U.S. companies that exercise free speech.  

“It’s well known that China oppresses individual freedoms within its own borders, but we know it doesn’t end there,” said Senator Gardner. “Recently we’ve seen American companies censor themselves to avoid Chinese retaliation, which sends a chilling ripple effect across our country and further empowers the Chinese Communist Party. The first step to solving any problem is knowing its full extent – and that’s why I’m grateful to partner with Senator Merkley on this bipartisan effort to monitor China’s oppression within U.S. borders.”

“Since the founding of our nation, freedom of speech has been a central pillar in our democracy, but the Chinese government is using their economic power to punish American companies who exercise their free speech rights," said Senator Merkley. "Our government needs to stand up for Americans and stand up for free speech. That starts by making sure we know when and how the Chinese government is censoring or punishing Americans for expressing themselves.”

The legislation would create a US Government task force (“China Censorship Monitor and Action Group”), comprised of the Department of State, Department of Commerce, the Federal Communications Commission, and the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which would consult with stakeholders in media and the private sector to create a public database documenting instances of China’s diplomatic or economic intimidation of U.S. companies that exercise free speech.

The task force would produce an annual report with recommendations and regularly consult with Congress.

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 Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.