Cory Gardner
Cory Gardner

Following China’s move to pressure the NBA into muzzling its players and coaches about protests in Hong Kong, Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced legislation on Oct. 30 designed to monitor instances of the Chinese government to intimidate US companies that exercise their rights to free speech.

The bill would create a federal task force known as the China Censorship Monitor and Action Group, staffed with representatives from the Depts. of State and Commerce, Federal Communications Commission and US Agency for Global Media.

The CCMAG would meet with federal officials, corporate executives and members of the media to gather information about “punitive actions taken by the People’s Republic of China towards US companies that involve economic or diplomatic retaliation for the exercise of free speech by US companies.”

That intelligence would be maintained on a public database hosted on a government server.

The bill calls for the task force is issue an annual report of its findings and schedule briefings for relevant Senate and House committees dealing with foreign affairs and commerce.

"Our government needs to stand up for Americans and stand up for free speech,” said Merkley. “That starts by making sure we know when and how the Chinese government is censoring or punishing Americans for expressing themselves.”