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January 29, 2022

Tech Mate: How Silicon Valley’s China Pals Compromise America

CEOs like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have been all too anxious to help.

He calls it “the scariest investigation I’ve ever conducted.” And anyone reading through the bombshell revelations of Peter Schweizer’s new book are bound to agree. Most Americans knew the Chinese Communist Party was quietly trying to infiltrate our colleges, financial institutions, tech companies — even our military. What they didn’t know is who’s helping them: Big Tech. Turns out, Silicon Valley isn’t just sympathetic to the evil regime — they’re accessories to it.

There are a lot of jarring moments in Schweizer’s Red Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win, but the overall picture is deeply disturbing — young, Silicon Valley billionaires eager to indulge their friends at the highest levels of China’s government. Of course, that’s just fine with the regime, who would like nothing more than access to our technology so they can compete with and overtake us. “Science and technology is a national weapon,” Chinese President Xi Jinping has insisted. “We should seize the commanding heights of technological competition and future development.”

CEOs like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have been all too anxious to help — forging close relationships with the regime’s bad actors that could spell disaster for America. Zuckerberg is so infatuated with the communist leader that when he finally met the dictator face to face, he asked him to name their unborn baby. Taken aback, Xi said it was “too great a responsibility.” Over the years, the young mogul’s affection for the communist system has only deepened. He learned Mandarin, agreed to controversial projects with Beijing, and allowed himself to be seduced by men desperate to understand and surpass U.S. technology.

“They’re quite explicit about [their agenda],” Schweizer explained on “Washington Watch.” “They have a strategy called elite capture. And basically… their goal — and they’ve stated this openly — is to surpass the United States and to become the supreme power on the planet. And rather than going toe to toe with the United States and our powerful economic system, they simply want to co-opt elites. So they call it ‘elite capture.’ And their theory is if they can neuter our elites, they can effectively win this competition without having to go head-to-head with the United States.”

Thanks to pliant targets like Zuckerberg, China’s gameplan — wooing the Valley’s biggest players — seems to be working. Zuckerberg is so enamored with the regime that when a Chinese official named Lu Wei visited Facebook headquarters, Schweizer writes that he was surprised to see a copy of The Governance of China, a compilation of Xi’s speeches, sitting on the CEO’s desk. Why was it there, Wei asked? Zuckerberg replied that he wanted to educate his staff. “I want to make them understand socialism with Chinese characteristics,” he insisted.

And he’s not alone. Almost every Silicon Valley titan seems desperate to “suck up to Xi,” Schweizer says. “We know that Microsoft [and] Google are doing joint research projects where they are putting… intellectual capital into China — and those research projects are with institutions linked to the Chinese military.” In other words, top U.S. companies are helping to arm and inform America’s biggest rival. Along with research on artificial intelligence, “Bill Gates, for example, [has] personally invested in Chinese companies [like] BYD, which is involved in developing missile technology for China.” In the old days, that would be called treason. Today, it’s a flashing red sign that these tech executives don’t have an allegiance to the United States.

“They don’t seem to be particularly concerned that they are subsidizing and helping the Chinese military… In fact,” Schweizer pointed out, “Microsoft is a company that actually takes interns from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. I mean, it’s that blatant.”

And while some of the motivation is money — China is a major revenue stream for companies like the NBA, Disney, Apple, Hollywood, and others — there’s something much more dangerous at work. “… A lot of these executives in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street have an admiration for the dictatorial regime in China. They’ll use phrases like, ‘The Chinese government is so much more efficient than the United States. They make decisions so much more quickly.’ Well, of course, autocratic governments have that advantage, so it’s about more than just money. I think there is actually an attraction — not so much to the ideology, but to the efficiencies of an autocratic government. Plus, the fact that, of course, the Chinese government gives all kinds of awards and accolades to these business executives.”

The obvious problem — one that could haunt America for decades to come — is that these naïve tycoons are jeopardizing U.S. national security. America’s top brass has been sounding the alarm for years that these partnerships could be deadly. In 2017, Marine General James Dunford, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, bluntly told a U.S. Senate committee that “the work Google is doing in China is indirectly benefitting the Chinese military.” Then, thinking twice, he corrected himself. “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.”

In one instance, Google and Facebook teamed up on an underwater cable that would run from San Francisco to Hong Kong. The two tech giants partnered with a Chinese company called Dr. Peng Telecom & Media Group that was financially backed by the Chinese government and reportedly worked closely with Huawei and military defense contractors in China. It was such a radical idea that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, in a very rare move, blocked it after the FBI and Justice Department decided that it would be a gateway to Chinese espionage. The scary part, Schweizer points out, is that the people at Facebook and Google probably know “a lot more about technology than the DOJ. So if the Department of Justice knows that this has created an unprecedented opportunity for espionage, you can bet that Google and Facebook knew that from the beginning. But I think honestly, they just didn’t care because they’re blinded by their ambitions as it relates to China.”

Add that to the leverage the regime has over Joe Biden and family, and America has never felt more vulnerable. The villains who unleashed COVID on the world, who built a network of Uyghur torture chambers, who makes outspoken tennis stars vanish is on the verge of global dominance. And we have no one but ourselves to blame. It’s time to stop Big Tech’s anti-American elitists from undermining their own country. Our future security depends on it.

Originally published here.

Biden Takes a Vax to Americans’ Privacy

While the rest of the world is winding down its COVID restrictions, Joe Biden is just getting warmed up. Almost two years into this government power grab, the White House is taking its overreach to new heights — this time with a federal database so intrusive it would make China proud. If you thought privacy was a constitutionally-guaranteed right, buckle up. “Nosy” doesn’t begin to describe this president’s government.

It was just last July when HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra was sent out to put the rumors of a vaccine registry to bed. “To be clear: government has no database tracking who is vaccinated,” Becerra said. “We’re encouraging people to step up to protect themselves, others by getting vaccinated. It’s the best way to save lives and end this pandemic.”

Well, it may not have had one then, but it’s well on its way to one now — at least where those who fall under the federal mandates are concerned. Bob Destro, professor at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, says the details are vague — but ominous. “We don’t know much about it,” he explained on “Washington Watch,” “[except that it] appeared in what we call the Federal Register, which is the official announcement of proposed rule-making for the federal government. And so, all we know is that they’re going to do this. We have no idea where they get the authority. We have no idea where they get the data. We have no idea what they’re going to use it for. And so, to answer [the question] is it a bad idea or a really bad idea? I would say it’s a horrific idea.”

For conservatives, especially, the idea of being tracked is outrageous in a country that’s long protected privacy. And yet, the pandemic has only seemed to accelerate the overreach of government. In this case, though, the motive is especially sinister. It only applies to people who applied for religious exemptions. “Why do they need the information other than to create a list of people who opposed their mandate?” Destro asked. Americans need to demand answers: Why are they collecting this data? Who’s collecting this data? What will they do with it? Most government databases are open to researchers and other groups. What guarantee would any of us have that our personal information wouldn’t be funneled to Leftist organizations or causes?

When Becerra was trying to refute the idea in July, he still insisted the government had the right to know. “The federal government has spent trillions of dollars to keep Americans alive during the pandemic, so it is absolutely the government’s business. It is the taxpayer’s business if we have to continue to spend money to try to keep people from contracting COVID.”

A growing chorus of lawmakers disagree. This week, a group of 40 Republicans — led by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) sent a scathing letter to the president, arguing, “Your administration cannot use the power of the federal government to track the applications of federal employees who have applied for a religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine. From day one, your administration has displayed a consistent attitude of contempt towards Americans who prioritize faith in their lives.”

As the congressmen points out, the government doesn’t bother to explain why it needs to “maintain a list of the personal religious beliefs of its employees.” “Your administration has offered no valid justification for these intrusive databases that will only be used to target Americans who have refused a COVID-19 vaccine.”

At its heart, Destro argues, this is a human rights issue. Already, the Left is clamoring for more access to Americans’ personal business. When Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is insisting the federal government should take over the credit scoring agency and the IRS wants a report on every transaction over $600, they’re sounding more like China every day. “Everybody needs to complain about [this] and make comments about it [on the Federal Register]. And then as soon as it goes into effect, they need to be sued.”

Judging by Biden’s success rate on his other half-baked COVID mandates, a vaccine database wouldn’t be long for this world. Still, it does show the lengths this White House is willing to go to control every aspect of Americans’ lives. Let’s hope the courts see the move as exactly what it is: another unauthorized power grab.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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