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GOP senator urging colleagues to not take meetings with Chinese companies

GOP senator urging colleagues to not take meetings with Chinese companies
© Greg Nash

Republican Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnSunday shows preview: Biden transition, COVID-19 spike in spotlight Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus Senate Judiciary to vote on subpoena for Twitter CEO next week MORE (Tenn.) is urging colleagues not to take meetings with Chinese companies and “exercise caution” while meeting with Chinese government officials. 

“Blacklisting China in Congress mirrors punitive steps the executive branch has already taken,” Blackburn wrote in a "Dear Colleague" letter dated Thursday. 

The senator noted that several Chinese tech companies, such as Huawei, have been banned from selling telecommunications equipment to U.S. government agencies by the Trump administration, adding they “likewise cannot be trusted to lobby members of Congress with the best of U.S. intentions in mind.”

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“Chinese Communist Party officials and Chinese entities should be shunned in the halls of Congress,” Blackburn wrote. “Please join me in warning Beijing that any Chinese agent of repression, even those dressed in business suits to disguise the green Maoist uniforms that they support, are not welcome to step foot in our offices or to lobby our staff.”

The letter comes amid growing tensions between Trump and Beijing, which he has made a central topic of the presidential campaign. 

Trump and Republican lawmakers have criticized China's handling of the pandemic and cited concerns over the fact that much of the country's medical equipment and drugs are sourced from China. 

On Thursday Trump said the United States should end its reliance on any products manufactured in China, threatening to "cut off" all ties with Beijing in a Fox News interview. 

"You'd save $500 billion, if you cut off the whole relationship," Trump claimed.