May 4, 2022
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, spoke on the Senate floor calling out Chairman Xi and the CCP for their support of Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.
"A hundred years from now when the history of the Russian-Ukraine conflict is written – assuming that the history isn't Chinese propaganda – I’m confident that the public will have a much clearer understanding of how closely Xi and Putin worked together."
"I can't talk about everything we know on the Intelligence Committee, but every American should understand this: Chairman Xi is not indifferent about Ukraine, he's on Putin's side and he’s supported Putin’s unprovoked war."
"The fact is, Xi and Putin are tied at the hip."
Full Transcript Below:
Ukraine’s struggle against Russia's invasion has reminded Americans that sometimes the world divides into good and evil, into heroes and villains. Not always, there are many fights that are not like that and we just stupidly talk like it. Debates about marginal tax policy are not good versus evil, heroes versus villains. But sometimes, fights are heroes versus villains.
Heroes, are men and women who love their country, and who love their freedom, and who want to pass along freedom to the next generation. But they're also people who believe in freedom more broadly. Heroes are people who believe that we're created in the image of God, and everyone has inalienable rights; the rights to life, liberty, speech, religion, assembly to protest; these are pre-governmental rights. Governments don't give us these rights, we are endowed by these rights by nature and nature's creator. And heroes recognize this not only about themselves and their own countrymen and women, but about everybody. Zelensky is such a hero.
The villains are tyrants. There are people who want to oppress others, who want to hold them down. They want to take freedom from their countrymen, but also from their neighbors. There are people who seek power at the expense of the weak. Putin is such a villain.
But there's another villain in this drama, a villain that isn't getting nearly enough attention. And that's Chairman Xi, the dictator in China. His Chinese Communist Party has enabled him to do all sorts of oppressive things against men and women in his country. We know what's happening in Xinjiang. There's actually a genocide happening against the Uyghurs in our time.
But Xi is doing more than just oppressing people at home. A hundred years from now, when the history of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is written, assuming that it isn't written as Chinese propaganda, I'm confident that the public will have a much clearer understanding of the way that Xi and Putin have worked together, and have worked together closely. We can't talk here about everything we know in the Intelligence Committee, but I'm confident that when the history is written, the American people, and the people of the world, will see Xi and Putin as having worked hand in hand, side by side. Americans should understand this today.
Chairman Xi is not indifferent about Ukraine. He is on Putin’s side, and he has supported Putin's unprovoked war. The situation in Ukraine reminds us of a pretty good rule for 21st century foreign policy and it is this: the Chinese Communist Party, is almost always on the wrong side of freedom and human dignity.
The CCP and the United States are in the middle of a global conflict of visions. It is important for us in this Chamber not to say the United States and China, as if we mean 330 million Americans and 1.4 billion Chinese, are locked in a battle. But the United States vision, the American idea, is in conflict with the vision of the Chinese Communist Party, and the ways that they want to oppress not just their neighbors, but their own citizens. The CCP and the US are locked in a global conflict of visions, and that's true whether DC politicians want to admit it every day or not. And sometimes it seems convenient for folks not to admit it.
But it is the free peoples of the world who are fighting. These are the folks that are terrorizing not just their own people, but their neighbors. This contest is a contest between liberty and tyranny. Not every fight is, but this one is, and you damn well better believe that the tyrants are working together strategically, and intentionally, to undermine freedom.
So, let's back up to February 4th: the Winter Olympics have just begun, and Vladimir Putin is in China to visit Chairman Xi. Together, they release what they call a joint statement, and that's like a new partnership with no limits. The Xi-Putin statement said there would be no limits in their partnership against the United States. They promised that they would work together to promote each other's economic and national security interests, even as Putin was amassing forces on the border of Ukraine, and preparing for this invasion. Xi was not unaware of what Putin was planning, when he released and signed the “no limit” statement.
But here's why this is strange. Historically, Russia and China have not been friends. For centuries, these two countries have clashed with one another. During the Cold War, not even shared communist ideology, could unite China and Russia for very long. The CCP studied the collapse of the Soviet Union, to learn how to keep a communist regime afloat, and they've been very adept at using new technologies not to enhance human freedom, but to squash human freedom.
Now, though, the historic rivals have found something they have in common: both Putin and Xi hate the United States, and hate most fundamentally our ideas of the dignity of every individual created in the image of God. Still a little geography, Russia and China share nearly 3,000 miles of common border. Russia is giant, and has eleven time zones. Think about that, you look at your globe of the world and you spin all the way around, you got 24 time zones. Russia spans eleven. Russia is about 11 percent of the area of land on Earth, there are five other countries that are about six percent China is one, the US is one, Canada's one, India. So, Russia’s 11 percent, five countries are about six percent. No other country has more than about two percent of the landmass of earth. The Russian-Chinese border has historically been complicated, because they haven't gotten along. But, as he prepared to launch an invasion of Ukraine, Putin needed to move troops and material out, all the way from the border with China in the East, back into Europe in the West. And he couldn't do that, he couldn't leave this giant border unguarded, unless Chairman Xi said, “We don't have any problems with this right now”.
And that's exactly what happened. Xi agreed that he would be on the same page with Putin, as Putin took all of his troops, and all of his material back from this historically contested border, to use against the free people of Ukraine. From the beginning of this crisis. Chairman Xi has been in lockstep with Putin. The New York Times had some impressive reporting, and Xi even asked Putin to delay the invasion until after the Olympics ended, which Putin ultimately did.
One of the biggest ways China has supported Russia through all of this is by amplifying lies and propaganda about the war. Chinese Communist Party propagandists such as Wang Yi, have done everything from blaming the United States and NATO for the war, to playing up Russia’s unrealistic security demands to actual lies about Ukrainian bio-labs. Xi’s henchmen and CCP controlled state media have always been there to amplify falsehoods. Some of the stuff Putin is saying at home is laughably absurd, even to the hosts of state TV that are paid to read these scripts, and yet Xi has been willing to take all of it, translate it into Mandarin, and pump it into China to make sure the people in China have an inaccurate understanding of what's happening between Russia and the Ukraine. The CCP state media had been trying to tell the world repeated untrue stories about Russia, and now cover up the atrocities and horrors that have been committed by Russian troops against Ukrainian civilians.
The propagandizing is obviously despicable, but the diplomatic support the CCP is providing Russia is even more dangerous. Through the covid pandemic we saw that China tried to manipulate international organizations like the WHO, to promote their own narrative and to bully other countries. During the invasion of Ukraine they've done the same thing on behalf of Putin.
The Chinese foreign ministry has participated in a consistent spreading of lies about the war through others and to other international organizations. At the UN, Chinese diplomats have worked tirelessly to provide cover for Russian crimes, and to enable Putin's invasion. They’ve spurned the pleas of Ukraine and other European countries to try to help restore the peace. And just a couple of weeks ago, China's Vice Minister met with the Russian ambassador to announce that the regime's will quote, “continue to strengthen strategic coordination with Russia” close quote. Statements like these have become a characteristic of the twisted friendship, that has developed between these two aggressive nations, and what they call their “No Limits" friendship.
China has also attempted to bail out Russia, and to save their economy from the crippling sanctions that we and our allies have imposed since the beginning of this invasion. As soon as the sanctions were imposed, Chinese banks were looking for workarounds, so they could keep doing business with Russia. Partly for their own interests, but largely to help stabilize and subsidize Russia. Russian banks issued Chinese UnionPay cards after Visa and MasterCard pulled out of the country, and had ordered Chinese currency savings accounts. China was already in a currency manipulation business, but since February, they've been using their talents not just to prop up their own currency, but also to keep the ruble from flaming out, and while other free countries have begun shunning Russia's energy sector, China’s state-owned energy companies have continued to conduct what they call normal programs in cooperation with Russia, looking for ways to expand, and eat up more of the Russian supply.
But China hasn’t only been supporting Putin indirectly. Chairman Xi has also aided Putin's invasion of Ukraine directly. The Times of London reported at the beginning of April, that China launched a massive cyber-attack on Kyiv mere days before Putin invaded. Think about that. The Chinese government, was involved in a cyber-attack against free Ukraine to help Russia.
As the Russian army struggled, Putin has asked Xi for direct military assistance, and Xi is reportedly deliberating about how he can do more, hoping the international community won't notice. We should notice. We should amplify what Xi’s doing, he is aiding and abetting Russia's war crimes against civilians.
Here's the fact: Putin and Xi are tied at the hip. China regularly claims that it stands to the principles of state sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in domestic affairs. And yet China has supported and provide a diplomatic cover for Russia's illegal, immoral, and unprovoked war against Ukraine every step of the way. And now there's a chance that team Zelensky could win. And so, what has Xi done in response? He's decided to convene meetings to figure out how he can amp up support for Putin.
We should be asking ourselves, “Why is Chairman Xi so supportive of this invasion?” Part of the reason is because while Vladimir Putin is running a scout team offense for Chairman Xi's eventual plan invasion of Taiwan. Xi wants to learn everything he can about how democracies and its free peoples will respond and how democracies defend themselves, so that they can try to develop strategies to beat us, and to beat our allies. Xi also wants Putin to win because he thinks this will demoralize Taiwan, and the rest of the free world. He wants to be able to tell a story where the age of America, where the age of freedom, is over. Xi wants to plunge the globe into a new dark age, an age of surveillance state totalitarianism. And step one at this moment is destroying the friends of Ukraine. We shouldn't deceive ourselves. What we're seeing in Ukraine is a contest between freedom and tyranny. It is not in our national interest to see the tyrants triumph.
We need to show the world that the forces are made by Putin and Xi cannot defeat the bravery of men and women who want to live free, and who believe in freedom. Zelensky and Ukraine's heroes have a chance to smash the new Russia-China axis, but they need our support.
Standing up to Putin and helping Ukraine is important for its own sake, but it's also important because this is the opening skirmish in a larger confrontation between tyranny and liberty. Between Chinese communists and the American idea. Will the US continue to lead the world toward peace and freedom? Or will China, Xi, and his CCP have the chance to impose their totalitarianism on weaker countries around the Pacific.
Today, in Ukraine, it's easy to see the line between good and evil. And that's why it's time for us to step up, to help Ukraine, but also to tell the world who Chairman Xi is, what he believes, what he's done on Putin’s stay, Putin's behalf, and why he is on Putin’s side.
Thank you, Mr. President.