FILE PHOTO: A woman checks her phone as she walks past a Huawei store in Beijing, China-May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Photo File
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee launched on Thursday a “deep dive” focus on China this year and the next year one of the several steps of the AMERICAN legislators to concentrate on what they see as troublesome activities by Beijing.
The committee held a hearing with outside experts to look at what the members described as China’s use of technology for surveillance, influence and political control on the country and the use of Chinese technology for similar purposes internationally.
The hearing took place a day after the Republican President, Donald Trump of the administration put telecommunications equipment giant Huawei on a black list and said that it would take steps to support the protection of AMERICAN companies, a further test of the relationships, as the economic heavyweights clash over trade.
“Today, our nation faces no greater long-term strategic challenge of China’s emergence as a major player on the world stage,” Representative Adam Schiff, the committee’s Democratic chairman, said in his opening remarks.
Schiff said that China uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and facial recognition software, cement social control. “This linking of innovation and authoritarianism is very worrying and has spread outside of China itself,” Schiff said.
“Beijing has implemented an aggressive and sophisticated whole of society to influence his campaign to win supporters, sowing confusion among the American public, and the undermining of resistance against the Chinese threat within the American society,” said Representative Devin Nunes, the committee on the position of the Republican.
Citing what he called a “fan” of the efforts of China against the US interests, Nunes criticized Democrats for the have focused on questions about whether the Republican Trump’s presidential campaign had worked incorrectly with Russia to influence the 2016 U.S. elections.
Schiff criticized Huawei at the hearing.
“Huawei’s own officials have confirmed that they have no interest in the guarantee of civil liberties and the protection of privacy for citizens in the countries that purchase their equipment. This is unacceptable. We cannot-and must not — stand by the civil liberties and privacies protection can be compromised en masse,” he said.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Nick Zieminski