Cotton: Google shouldn't 'bow' to Beijing with censored search engine
© Greg Nash

Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonGOP senator: Supreme Court abortion cases were 'wrongly decided as a constitutional matter' Senate confirms controversial 9th Circuit pick without blue slips Cotton: US could win war with Iran in 'two strikes' MORE (R-Ark.) on Thursday blasted Google’s reported plans to launch a version of its search engine in China that complies with the country's strict censorship laws.

Cotton released a statement scolding the company after The Intercept reported that the modified search engine would blacklist certain websites and search terms involving human rights, religion, democracy and peaceful protest.

“Google said it wouldn’t bow to Beijing’s censorship, it should stick to its word, especially now that it’s canceled its partnership with our military,” Cotton said, referencing the company's decision in June not to renew an A.I. contract with the Pentagon.


“Google claims to value freedom and one hopes Google will put its corporate principles and America first, ahead of Chinese cash," he added.

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenMomentum grows to create 'Do Not Track' registry Senate chairman says bipartisan health care package coming Thursday Senate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats MORE (D-Ore.) also warned in a tweet that "Google would be making a hideous mistake" if it moved to launch a censored search engine in China.

Cotton has been a critic of Google’s moves involving China. The Arkansas senator was among a handful of lawmakers who signed a bipartisan letter last month urging the company to consider cutting ties with Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications giant.

The lawmakers wrote that the companies’ partnership “could pose a serious risk to U.S. national security and American consumers.

The letter noted FBI Director Christopher Wray’s testimony at a February hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee when he said he was “deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks.”

Cotton was also one of three sponsors of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that he argued would limit the national security threat posed by Huawei and ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer.

“Huawei and ZTE are nothing more than extensions of the Chinese Communist Party,” Cotton said in his announcement of the amendment.

“[I]t would be reckless to let Huawei and ZTE infiltrate their products into our country’s critical communications infrastructure…These companies have proven themselves to be untrustworthy, and at this point I think it the only fitting punishment would be to give them the death penalty-that is, to put them out of business in the United States.”

Google is not the only company Cotton has knocked for their handling of Beijing’s interests.

Last month, the senator criticized U.S. airlines for acquiescing to the Chinese government’s demands that they remove references to Taiwan from their websites.