US attorney general blasts American firms for 'kowtowing' to Beijing

WION Web Team Washington, United States Jul 17, 2020, 10.19 AM(IST) Jul 17, 2020, 10.52 AM(IST)

File photo of US Attorney General William Barr. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Barr took aim at Hollywood companies, including Walt Disney Co on Thursday as well as large technology firms like Apple, Alphabet's Google and Microsoft Corp over company actions with China.

US attorney general William Barr has blasted American firms with Chinese links for 'kowtowing' to Beijing.

Barr took aim at Hollywood companies, including Walt Disney Co on Thursday as well as large technology firms like Apple, Alphabet's Google and Microsoft Corp over company actions with China.

The companies and the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately comment. Apple declined to comment.

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"Corporations such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Apple have shown themselves all too willing to collaborate with the (Chinese Communist party)," Barr said.

He added that Hollywood has routinely caved into pressure and censored their films "to appease the Chinese Communist Party."

"I suspect Walt Disney would be disheartened to see how the company he founded deals with the foreign dictatorships of our day," Barr said in a speech at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Michigan.

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Barr chided US companies for being too willing to take steps to ensure access to the large Chinese market.

"The Chinese Communist Party thinks in terms of decades and centuries, while we tend to focus on the next quarterly earnings report," Barr said. "America’s big tech companies have also allowed themselves to become pawns of Chinese influence."

Barr’s was the latest attack on China from President Donald Trump’s administration before his November re-election bid.

In recent months, US-China ties have dipped to their lowest ebb in decades, strained over issues ranging from the global coronavirus pandemic and China's massive trade surpluses, to Beijing’s suppression of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, its military buildup in the South China Sea and treatment of minority Muslims.

Barr suggested that Apple iPhones "wouldn't be sold (in China) if they were impervious to penetration by Chinese authorities." He suggested American tech companies were imposing a "double standard."

"If they stand together, they will provide a worthy example for other American companies in resisting the Chinese Communist Party’s corrupt and dictatorial rule."

Barr noted after China imposed a new national security law on Hong Kong, Facebook, Google, Twitter In and LinkedIn, announced that they would temporarily suspend compliance with governmental requests for user data.

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