GOP senator demands info on Google's work in China

A Republican lawmaker is demanding answers about Google’s work in China after the company’s CEO met with President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE and Pentagon officials to assuage the administration’s concerns that its efforts are benefiting Beijing.

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei Google official denies allegations of ties to China Senators press FTC over 'woefully inadequate' Facebook settlement MORE (R-Mo.) sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Thursday expressing concern about the internet giant’s Chinese operations after military leaders told Congress that Google’s work is effectively aiding China’s government.

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“It is worth asking what Google stands to gain from partnering with a country that routinely violates basic human liberties, including maintaining detention facilities for nearly a million Uyghur Muslims, banning freedom of speech and the press, and repressing its Christian, Tibetan Buddhist and other religious communities,” Hawley wrote.

“Is the technology Google develops, ostensibly for the welfare of consumers, being used by the Chinese government to further perpetuate these human rights violations?”

Google did not immediately respond when asked for comment on the letter.

Trump revealed on Twitter Wednesday that he had met with Pichai, who he said told him that Google is “totally committed to the U.S. Military, not the Chinese Military.” The president also said they discussed “political fairness.”

"We were pleased to have productive conversations with the President about investing in the future of the American workforce, the growth of emerging technologies and our ongoing commitment to working with the U.S. government," a Google spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday.

Pichai also met with Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Wednesday. In a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, Dunford tore into Google over its work in China in response to questions from Hawley, an outspoken critic of Silicon Valley.

“The work that Google is doing in China is indirectly benefiting the Chinese military,” Dunford said.

“We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing there is that indirect benefit,” the general added. “And frankly, ‘indirect’ may not be a full characterization of the way it really is, it’s more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.”