House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) went on the defensive this week when asked by FOX Business about preventing slave labor in China.
"One of the things that Senator Rubio has said is that the reason why the House has not voted on that Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is because [U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate] John Kerry has lobbied you and others not to act on it and to slow-walk it, so it doesn’t complicate his climate change negotiations with China. Is that true?" asked FOX Business’ Hillary Vaughn.
"No, it is not true, and you know, again, if you want to repeat the charges of the Republicans, that’s up to you, but that is completely not true," Pelosi fired back.
"For over 30 years, I have been the considered the most disliked — they use stronger language than that … in China — because of my assault on their human rights violations, and no, that’s absolutely, positively not true. But you asked the question, so they won their case," the speaker claimed without providing evidence.
Critics, however, have pointed out that Pelosi was quick to cozy up to China in the past when it was politically convenient and is doing the same again.
"The Biden administration and Nancy Pelosi one-up their absurdity daily. Their willingness to slow-walk human rights legislation that would hamstring China’s slave labor operation is obscene," said Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) to FOX Business.
"John Kerry gallivants across the world on his private jet in the name of climate change, while Uyghur Muslims are held in reeducation camps and subjected to forced labor in the name of profit margins for the CCP. Which is more important? That’s a question I would love Speaker Pelosi to answer," the Pennsylvania congressman continued.
Now, after the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) — a bill that seeks to ban goods from China presumed to be made using forced labor — passed unanimously in the Senate this summer, it is facing some roadblocks in Pelosi’s House of Representatives, despite supposed widespread bipartisan support.
A Washington Post report this week suggested that the Biden administration was lobbying against the bill, with, "Biden administration officials … quietly telling lawmakers to slow down," as the White House "prefers a more targeted and deliberative approach to determining which goods are the products of forced labor."
The White House denied that report on Friday with press secretary Jen Psaki telling reporters, "I would say we are hardly neutral. We have strong concerns, serious concerns, and we are absolutely not lobbying in any way against the passage of this bill," when asked about Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman’s alleged position on the matter.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told FOX on Thursday, however, that it went deeper than just politics and that corporations were getting involved on behalf of the Chinese.
"Right now, as I speak to you, we've got CEOs and companies who are lobbying to kill my Uyghur slave labor bill. It basically says that if you buy products that are made in Xinjiang, we are going to presume that they're made by slaves. They’re working quietly to kill it," the Florida senator explained.
Rubio had previously slammed large companies such as Apple, Amazon, Nike and Coca-Cola for "profiting" from the Chinese government’s abuses.
This all comes as China is set to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, despite a growing chorus of outcry and calls for boycotts from human rights advocates, such as Enes Kanter Freedom and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) CEO Steve Simon, who announced the suspension of women’s tennis tournaments in China over the Communist Party of China’s recent track record.
A separate Washington Post report this week detailed pressure from Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng to U.S. business executives to "push back against the boycott" of the Winter Olympics, widely understood by China experts as a threat.
Kanter Freedom, who became a U.S. citizen this week, told FOX Business on Friday that Rubio’s bill "has to pass" and "shame on all of those people who are trying to block this bill."
When asked about major corporations catering to China, Kanter Freedom didn’t hold back.
"It's just sad to see these companies like Nike and other major companies are using — these athletes are like puppets," the Boston Celtics Center said when asked about corporations and fellow NBA player LeBron James dissent to his human rights stances.
"Those people are in genocide right now. They're getting tortured and raped every day. Take a second. Is it really more important than that, all the money you're going to make?" Kanter Freedom admonished.