Mar 28, 2019

GOP senator says Google CEO must publicly address China issue

Sen. Josh Hawley. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) called Thursday for Google CEO Sundar Pichai to further publicly address the company’s reported work in China.

Why it matters: Hawley has been aggressive in ramping up pressure on Big Tech from the right, including through allegations of anti-conservative bias at major web platforms.

What he's saying: Hawley told Pichai in the letter to address "publicly the work your company does in China, the benefits it may provide to the Chinese government and military, and your reluctance to partner or aid the Armed Forces of the United States."

  • "It is worth asking what Google stands to gain from partnering with a country that routinely violates basic human liberties, including maintaining detention facilities for nearly a million Uyghur Muslims, banning freedom of speech and the press, and repressing its Christian, Tibetan Buddhist and other religious communities," Hawley said.

The big picture: Google has come under fire for its work in China, including its reported plans last year to build a censored version of its search engine. It also drew some criticism from the right for its decision not to renew a Pentagon contract after protests from its employees.

  • Earlier this month, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford said at a hearing that Google's work in the country was "indirectly benefiting the Chinese military."
  • Pichai met with Dunford on Wednesday, when President Trump tweeted that he'd met with the Google CEO.
  • Trump said Pichai had "stated strongly that he is totally committed to the U.S. Military, not the Chinese Military" and "discussed political fairness and various things that [Google] can do for our Country."

Pichai addressed some lawmakers' concerns about the reported censored search project for the Chinese market at congressional hearings last year.

  • Google also said his meeting with Trump was productive.

The bottom line: Google's plans for China in an era of tumult for U.S.-China relations will continue to dog the company.

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In photos: How the coronavirus outbreak is impacting on daily lives

A woman receives a rose delivered to her via a drone in Lebanon's coastal city of Jounieh. Photo: Joseph EidAFP via Getty Images

The novel coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on the lives of people around the world.

The big picture: The first known case outside China was in Thailand on Jan. 13. Since then, global infection numbers have surged, and governments around the world have responded with measures designed to curb the spread of the virus — ranging from lockdowns to physical distancing enforcement. There were more than 723,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections by early Monday, per Johns Hopkins data). However, life hasn’t stopped because of the pandemic, but it has changed. Here's how.

See photosArrow27 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Global death toll surpasses 34,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 34,000 people and infected over 723,000 others globally, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 10,700 deaths early Monday.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30,

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 722,435 — Total deaths: 33,997 — Total recoveries: 151,991.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m.. ET: 142,502 — Total deaths: 2,506 — Total recoveries: 4,856.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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