Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) proposed a bill that would prevent U.S.-based technology companies from helping China develop its military.
While all eyes have been on the trade negotiations between President Donald Trump and Chinese officials, Hawley has his eyes on future conflicts that could involve much more than disagreements on tariffs.
The senator claimed that U.S. companies need to stop pretending that technology shared with Chinese companies isn’t being handed straight over to the authoritarian Chinese government.
Watch Hawley’s comments on China:
At today's @senjudiciary hearing on national security and competition in tech, Senator Hawley discussed the need for his new bill that will address China's aggressive methods of acquiring sensitive U.S. technology through intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices. pic.twitter.com/OyEQUqccq4
— Senator Hawley Press Office (@SenHawleyPress) May 14, 2019
In a tweet announcing his legislation, Hawley explained that artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G capabilities are going to be key in the future of warfare — especially for wealthy nations like China and the U.S. The senator claimed that China is the “biggest national security threat” to the United States.
“Today I’m introducing legislation to stop China from taking our technology to build its military,” he wrote. “It’s time we realized China is not one threat among many, China is the biggest national security threat facing the U.S.”
Today I’m introducing legislation to stop China from taking our technology to build its military. It’s time we realized China is not one threat among many, China is the biggest national security threat facing the US https://t.co/WESCZUAHBY
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) May 14, 2019
Hawley’s bill would stop U.S. exports to China that include technology “that would make a significant contribution to the military potential” of the Chinese government. In addition to technological advancements in warfare, this legislation would also prevent exports of technology that could be “used by the Chinese government to violate human rights.”
This legislation wouldn’t impact U.S. exports of consumer technology, like cellphones or computers.
If passed, Hawley’s bill would crack down on companies like Google — which admitted to developing a censored search engine for the Chinese government so it could control the flow of information to the Chinese people.
The Pentagon has confirmed that Google has been directly involved in the technological development of the Chineses military.
For now, it isn’t clear how much support there is for Hawley’s legislation, but he isn’t alone in analyzing the risk of U.S. innovation in China. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) also proposed a bill that would prevent Chinese military scientists from working in U.S. universities.