House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called climate change an “overriding” issue that the United States must work with China to solve despite China’s record of human rights abuses and aggression.
Pelosi spoke at Cambridge University on Thursday during a trip to the U.K. While taking questions from the audience, the Democratic speaker expanded on what she saw as the future of U.S.-China relations.
One member of the audience asked Pelosi about universities’ role in pushing back against the Chinese Communist Party. During her answer, Pelosi said that the United States must work with China to address climate change despite China’s record of human rights abuses and unfair trade practices in addition to its military aggression.
“We’ve always felt connected to China, but with their military aggression in the South China Sea, with their continuation of genocide with the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province there, with their violation of the cultural, linguistic, religious priority of Tibet, with their suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and other parts of China, as well,” Pelosi said. “They’re just getting worse in terms of suppression and freedom of speech. So, human rights, security, economically.”
Despite their offenses, Pelosi insisted that the U.S. and China have to work together to solve the “overriding” issue of climate change.
“Having said all of that … we have to work together on climate. Climate is an overriding issue and China is the leading emitter in the world. U.S., too, developed world, too. But we must work together,” Pelosi said. “We have to have a level of communication on whether it’s COVID, whether it’s terrorism, or whether it’s climate. We still have to have some communication and dialogue with China on that. But the situation in China is tightening, it’s getting worse.”
Pelosi: Yes, China's committed “genocide” against the Uighurs; “having said that," the bigger, “overrriding" issue is “working together on climate” pic.twitter.com/xfk2jPgXTH
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 16, 2021
Pelosi has been a vocal critic of Chinese human rights abuses in the past. Earlier this year, Pelosi called for a “diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing Olympics. The speaker said that the Biden administration should allow American athletes to compete in the games but bar any American officials from traveling to China to watch them in an official capacity.
She has slammed corporations who oppose trade restrictions on China, though she has also taken donations from China-friendly companies such as Disney. As The Daily Wire reported:
According to Open Secrets, Pelosi received nearly $80,000 in donations from individuals who work for or are affiliated with the Walt Disney Company, which thanked the government of China for allowing it to film brief snippets of B-roll for its feature film “Mulan” in the Xinjiang region, in mountains that are reportedly adjacent to forced labor camps. She’s also a favored candidate of employees of Alphabet, the parent company for Gooogle, which had planned to launch a censored search engine in China, and Microsoft, which has a three-decade relationship with the country.
Pelosi herself, though, has been a vocal opponent of Chinese influence, authoring a bill, presented most years, that would revoke China’s “most favored nation” trade status. She did, however, defend her House colleague Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), when he was discovered to have had a relationship with a woman who turned out to be a Chinese spy.