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On the heels of a bombshell report from ESPN alleging China’s NBA training academies abused their young players, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is calling on the United States to reexamine its relationship with the East Asian power player.
In a Wednesday interview on “Fox News @ Night,” the acting Senate Intelligence Committee chairman said he found the allegations from ESPN to be “troubling.”
Rubio said while the NBA was seeing dollar signs in China’s massive market, the problem is that it’s “not just any other market.”
“This is a totalitarian government that doesn’t have any of the same concepts of freedom of speech or human rights that we have in the United States or in many parts of the world, and you’ve got to play by the rules,” he said.
Rubio noted that the NBA was likely in the same position as a lot of other large corporations that do business with China under the watchful eye of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its rules.
“They have to look the other way on some pretty atrocious actions on the part of the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.
Host Shannon Bream highlighted recent Fox News Digital reporting on the oppression of the beleaguered Uighur Muslim community which called attention to activist complaints pushing for an investigation into claims that China was forcibly harvesting organs of Uighur workers.
“Earlier this month, two Uighur activist organizations – the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement and the East Turkistan Government in Exile – filed a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the Beijing leadership, alleging that the top brass had committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the Uighurs, including the stealing of organs from the mostly Muslim Turkic ethnic group and urging an inquiry,” wrote Hollie McKay.
The move comes on the heels of a damning exposé finalized earlier this year by the seven-person, London-based China Tribunal…[which] determined with ‘certainty beyond a reasonable doubt’ that ‘in China, forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience has been practiced for a substantial period of time,'” she continued.
Rubio said he had heard similar allegations and that the “world deserves to know” if there is evidentiary support for these “horrific” claims.
“But, what we already know for sure is they’ve detained people, they put them in camps, they try to strip them of their identity, they force them to change their name, renounce their faith and religion. All sorts of terrible things,” he listed. “And, forced labor — they forced them to work. And, we know that there are Western companies that have benefited from that.”
The senator said while the United States has to have a relationship with China — the second-largest economy in the world, a nuclear power, and the most populous nation on the planet — it must be “a balanced relationship.”
“Meaning we can’t continue to allow them to cheat, steal our jobs, and create unfair advantages over us,” he explained. “And, it also has to be one that doesn’t require us to abandon our fundamental print and essence that that requires us to look the other way when they do these horrible things, or when they crack down on free speech, or when they break the rules when it comes to the commitments they’ve made on Hong Kong.”
“The price of that balance of engagement cannot be that we abandon our principles, our ideals, and most importantly, our national interests,” Rubio urged.
Julia Musto is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find her on Twitter at @JuliaElenaMusto.