Pompeo warned Silicon Valley not to bolster China’s “Orwellian” state
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State on Monday cautioned Silicon Valley not to reinforce China’s “Orwellian” state, two days prior to a tentative trade deal being signed by the world’s two largest economies.
Talking to a tech-heavy audience in San Francisco, Pompeo touted the “phase one” contract to settle a two-year trade war.
Pompeo said at the Commonwealth Club “We ought to make sure American tech doesn’t power a truly Orwellian surveillance state. We need to ensure American principles aren’t sacrificed for prosperity,”
He reiterated that he does not want to deter businesses from going to China, saying the Trump administration needs “American companies to get rich doing business there.” “At the same time, we have to ensure that our companies are not doing deals that strengthen our competitor’s military or tighten their regime’s grip of repression in parts of that country,” he said.
Rights activists have voiced growing alarm about China’s use of technologies for invasive electronic monitoring.
With over one million Muslims in the tightly controlled west zone of Xinjiang, China is said to be an innovative technology to facilitate security forces to easily identify everyone and give specifics about their activities and history.
“Ask yourselves just a few questions-who am I dealing with? What’s the true risk/return calculus to doing business in China?” said Pompeo.
On Wednesday after lengthy feuds, Trump is due to sign a tentative compromise by reducing new tariffs that will take effect on Chinese electronic products, and slashing the amount of items worth $120 billion to half that levied on Sep 1.
The White House has said that the deal contains changes to Beijing’s conditions to move technologies from foreign companies-an justification for widespread patent infringement in the US study.
The Trump administration claims that this deal will also provide US companies with better access to the Chinese financial services industry and allow China to import more US goods.
“We will do our part in the government. We will keep ramping up our enforcement,” said Pompeo.
“But defending freedom and national security isn’t just the government’s job. It’s one for every citizen,” he said of software companies.