Florida Senator Marco Rubio is calling on President Joe Biden to oust US climate envoy John Kerry on Friday after reports emerged that Kerry holds a $1 million stake in a Chinese company that’s funneling money into a business blacklisted for its abuses against Uighur Muslims.
In a searing op-ed the Republican lawmaker said Biden has a ‘choice’ to either ‘stand by the man profiting from slave labor or fire him.’
‘It should be an easy choice, but the Biden administration and some Democrats are so desperate for a climate deal with the Chinese Communist Party that they are willing to ignore the regime’s use of slave labor,’ he wrote.
Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz have an investment of at least $1 million in China-based investment firm Hillhouse China Value Fund L.P., according to financial documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Rubio believes his partial ownership in a Chinese business venture should alone disqualify him from negotiating climate change with Beijing.
But the company owns a significant share of YITU Technology – a company that in 2019 was added to the US Department of Commerce’s trade blacklist for its role in ‘implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups.’
Marco Rubio has accused John Kerry of actively working against legislation aimed at punishing China’s reported human rights abuses
The Trump administration had accused the tech company of enabling human rights abuses.
‘In other words, Kerry appears to be profiting from slave labor,’ Rubio wrote.
‘Biden needs to decide where he stands and who he is fighting for. Right now, his silence is deafening, and it is giving cover to the Marxists in both America and in China. Meanwhile, American workers and families continue to suffer.’
Rubio accused Kerry of ‘actively working against’ passage of his Uyghur Forced Labor Act, which would ban goods made with slave labor in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region from entering the US.
He and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey said as much to Biden in late September, expressing concern over reports that his administration quietly lobbied against the measure.
‘The reporting claims that Mr. Kerry had a “forceful debate” with other administration officials over the merits of pressing Beijing on its human rights violations before his most recent trip to the People’s Republic of China,’ the lawmakers stated.
‘These statements are simply unacceptable from a senior US government official.’
Rubio wrote in his op-ed, ‘Kerry has been working against my legislation, and has convinced President Joe Biden to stay silent on the bill.’
The $1 million investment is part of a trust for which his wife, Theresa Heinz, is the beneficiary
The longtime Democratic official was criticized for his answer during an interview a week before the letter was sent, about how the US values climate talks with China against human rights.
‘What is the process by which one trades off climate against human rights?’ Bloomberg News asked him.
Kerry responded, ‘Well, life is always full of tough choices and the relationship between nations.’
His investment in Hillhouse China Value Fund is through a trust on behalf of his wife. Kerry reportedly claimed in the documents that they don’t manage the trust’s investments.
The Chinese equity firm gave $55 million to YITU Technology in 2017, the report claims citing news reports from that time period.
In April 2019 the New York Times wrote an expose detailing China’s use of tech companies to develop artificial intelligence that’s being used to keep tabs on Uighurs and other minority groups. YITU was one of those companies assisting in development.
Rubio accused Kerry of keeping Biden silent on China’s human rights abuses
Workers walk by the perimeter fence of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
The Times claims it’s the first time a government intentionally used artificial intelligence to racially profile people.
China has publicly set a deadline to lead the world in manufacturing and developing artificial intelligence by 2030, alarming national security experts.
Kerry, as the first ever presidential climate envoy, has to frequently engage with China on how to enact reasonable climate reform between the world’s two largest economies. China is the world’s leading producer of greenhouse gas.
It’s also home to about 12 million Uighur Muslims, mostly residing in China’s Xinjiang province.
Human rights groups have accused the country of detaining more than a million Uighurs against their will in state-run ‘re-education camps.’
There’s been evidence and testimony that people are being used for slave labor and undergoing forced sterilization.
Heartbreaking accounts from survivors detail claims of physical and emotional torture and even sexual abuse.
China has consistently denied any and all allegations of human rights abuses and claimed the camps are there to combat Islamic extremism and assisting in social integration.