Democratic senators in the US have released a report suggesting China is increasingly using technology to suppress information and conduct surveillance worldwide.
The report states that China is using ‘digital authoritarianism’ to spy on its people and control what they and others around the world view on the internet using technologies such as artificial intelligence and biometrics.
China has collected vast amounts of data, according to the report, and is renewing its use of surveillance technologies during the pandemic.
Proceedings were led by Bob Menendez, a Senator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and comes after relations between the US and China become strained.
During a briefing, Mendez said: “China has been exporting its digital authoritarianism and its tools and tactics across the world.”
Included in the report are recommendations on how to counter what the US sees as a major threat. Those include legislation to create a public-private consortium developing US 5G tech and a “Digital Rights Promotion Fund” to combat Beijing’s use of mass surveillance.
It also suggests the opening of a cyber military service academy, with the US president to leading a coalition of countries to counteract China’s rise.
The Trump administration has been pushing countries around the world to halt trade ties with Chinese companies, with Trump recently claiming, whilst discussing the UK’s decision to ban Huawei from its 5G network, that he “ did this myself for the most part,” something the government later admitted.
The US has accused Huawei with having ties to the Chinese government, a something the company strongly denies. Trump blames Beijing for the spread of the coronavirus, which he calls the ‘Chinese virus’, and has placed sanctions on the country.
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Following talks with the UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo urged nations to “push back” against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
He specifically blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic, saying it was “preventable” and that China’s “exploitation of this disaster to further its interests has been disgraceful”.
At a press conference, Pompeo said that the world needs to be wary of countries like China: “We think the entire world needs to work together to ensure every country, including China, behaves in the international system in ways that are appropriate and consistent with the international order,” he said.
“We want every country to work together to push back against the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts in every dimension I described.
“We hope we can build a coalition to collectively show the CCP it’s not in their best interests to engage in this kind of behaviour.”