Americans, Lawmakers Are ‘Waking Up’ to China Threat

InsightINSIGHT, PUBLICATIONS

A bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote letters on Oct. 9 and Oct. 18 to heads of Apple, NBA, and Activision Blizzard criticizing these companies for bowing to political pressure from the Chinese regime (CCP).

The initiative united Republican and Democratic legislators. Among those who spoke out is Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Rep. Gallagher told Yahoo Finance that “he doesn’t think he’s ever seen a matter unite such a diverse group of politicians.”

“I think the American people, and by extension, the representatives, are waking up to the threat posed by the Chinese communist party, in a sense that what they’re trying to do runs counter to basic American values, particularly free expression,” said Gallagher in this interview.

Senator Cruz also published an op-ed in USA Today, “where he called on the NBA, Nike, Apple, Google, and other iconic American companies to stop importing the Chinese communist party’s censorship and oppression to the United States,” according to his website.

“China is, I believe, the most significant long-term geopolitical threat facing America,” he wrote.

“China is modernizing its military—they’re doing so in large part with technology and intellectual property they’ve stolen from the United States because they employ the theft of IP as a policy agenda item. And that threat is very real. China’s human rights record is abysmal. They torture their citizens, they murder their citizens,” said Cruz in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

At the beginning of October, Apple rejected the app, HKmap.live, that tracks the movement of Hong Kong police and protesters during the ongoing pro-democracy movement.

Officially launched in August, the crowd-sourced app has become popular in Hong Kong for users to avoid tear gas and clashes.

The letter from legislators to Apple’s CEO expressed concerns about Apple’s statement: “At Apple, we are not afraid to say that our values drive our curation decisions.” The letter pointed out that Apple is complicit in the CCP’s efforts to suppress free speech, deny Chinese citizen’s basic human rights, and coercing U.S. corporations to follow the regime’s abusive policies.

The letter points out that Apple censored about 2,200 other apps in China, including an app used to circumvent China’s Great Firewall (a tool used by the Chinese regime to censor internet contents)—as well as “apps made by and for oppressed ethnic minorities,” like Uyghurs and Tibetans.

The lawmakers urge Apple to “reverse course, to demonstrate that Apple puts value above market access, and to stand with the brave men and women fighting for basic rights and dignity in Hong Kong.”

Lawmakers also condemned the CCP in the letter to the NBA, saying, “It is outrageous that the Chinese communist party is using economic power to suppress the speech of Americans inside the United States.”

They also sharply criticized the NBA: “It is also outrageous that the NBA has caved to Chinese government demands for contrition.”

The letter urges the NBA to fully respect the right of players, employees, and team owners to express their opinions freely regardless of “economic consequences” and respond to the boycott of NBA and the Houston Rockets imposed by the Chinese government by “suspending NBA activities in China.”

Activision Blizzard, a video-game company, punished player Ng Wai Chung, also known under name Blitzchung, for shouting out “Stand with Hong Kong” during a post-tournament broadcast, by suspending him for one year from Blizzard Entertainment and revoking his $10,000 prize money.

Five legislators signed a letter strongly urged Activision Blizzard to reverse its decision regarding Chung.

“As China amplifies its campaign of intimidation, you and your company must decide whether to look beyond the bottom line and promote American values—like freedom of speech and thought—or to give in to Beijing’s demands in order to preserve market access,” states the letter.

“As China amplifies its campaign of intimidation, you and your company must decide whether to look beyond the bottom line and promote American values—like freedom of speech and thought—or to give in to Beijing’s demands in order to preserve market access,” states the letter.

“Your disappointing decision could have a chilling effect on gamers who seek to use their platform to promote human rights and basic freedoms. Indeed, many gamers around the world have taken notice of your company’s actions, understandably calling for boycotts of Activision Blizzard gaming sites,” they wrote.

Read more at The Epoch Times.