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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.

Go deeper

39 mins ago - World

India sets new COVID world record as oxygen demand jumps seven-fold

COVID-19 patients being treated with free oxygen at a makeshift clinic in Indirapuram, Uttar Pradesh, India. Photo: Rebecca Conway/Getty Images

India has seen demand for oxygen jump "seven-fold" as the country set a new world record for daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday, per AP.

By the numbers: India's health ministry reported 412,262 new infections, taking the official tally past 21 million, and 3,980 deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours. The official death toll now stands at 230,168. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher.

3 hours ago - World

U.K. sends patrol ships to British island amid fishing dispute with France

The HMS Tamar, one of the two ships deployed to Jersey. Photo: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it has deployed two Royal Navy patrol vessels to the island of Jersey "as a precautionary measure," as tensions over fishing rights escalate with France.

Why it matters: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement the government took the action to protect Jersey against potential threats of "a blockade" of French fishing boats at the island, which is off the coast of northwest France.

Social media's "in-kind contribution to Biden"

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Facebook's continued suspension of Donald Trump's account extends the silencing of Joe Biden's most potent critic — and the current president's control over the national political narrative into his second 100 days.

Why it matters: Biden has been able to successfully focus on COVID-19 relief, his infrastructure plan and fielding his new administration, in part, because Trump hasn't been able to shake his social media muzzle and bray about the migration crisis or any White House misstep.