Presidential Candidates Must Pledge to Take on China

By Andre Bauer


The great technology contest between America and China will shape the 21st century. Yet U.S tech firms undermine national competitiveness through their troubling ties to Beijing. Amazon builds the computational cloud behind China’s authoritarian surveillance state. Apple kowtows to Xi Jinping by storing its China customer data on Chinese servers, accessible to the government.

Such collusion must end.

Primary contenders in South Carolina should take a pledge authored by the Tech Integrity Project. It demands that candidates “prevent foreign investments of U.S. tech firms from aiding adversaries like China and harming our economic competitiveness.” They must vow to “block enemies from benefiting from U.S.-made emerging technologies like AI.”

Why should candidates be required to take such a pledge? For the same reason we ask schoolchildren to pledge allegiance: Because binding commitments make a difference. And because only binding commitments to sever economic bonds between Silicon Valley and America’s enemies will halt the hemorrhaging of U.S. technological prowess to strategic adversaries.

No element of national power should advantage the ruthless Chinese Communist Party regime. Yet Microsoft’s Beijing lab cultivates China’s military artificial intelligence capabilities. Chinese weapons systems now outrange American carriers and missiles, threatening the Pacific balance of power. We cannot allow U.S.-made technology to shift the scales against America.

Microsoft is a particularly egregious offender. In China, it all but aids totalitarian social engineering. Graduates of Microsoft Research Asia have gone on to lead Chinese tech firms complicit in the cultural genocide against Uyghur Muslims. Over one million languish in hi-tech concentration camps perfecting Beijing’s systems of totalitarian oppression. American innovation must never enable such crimes against humanity.

When challenged, corporate collaborators bleat about engagement fostering openness. But since Microsoft entered China in 1992, the regime has only grown more despotic. Big Tech engagement enables Xi Jinping’s police state, domestic repression, and expansionist foreign policy. Corporate profits cannot override the national interest.

Current law prohibits exporting technology for human rights abuses. Yet Big Tech treats such controls as voluntary. The next president must force accountability through stringent export restrictions, human rights sanctions, and investigations into Chinese partnerships. America’s values, not corporate greed, must direct technology’s advance.

China’s economic strategy is clear: dominate key future industries by coercing or stealing American intellectual property. China already makes 95 percent of America’s rare earth minerals essential for electronics, weaponry, and renewable energy. Its takeover of next-generation technologies would destroy U.S. competitiveness and prosperity.

By collaborating with Beijing today, Big Tech prevents America from pioneering the artificial intelligence, automation, quantum computing, and biotechnology innovations necessary to win the industries of tomorrow. South Carolina voters should demand candidates pledge to prevent U.S. technology from empowering America’s chief economic rival.

Big Tech boosted China’s rise through misguided trade policies that gutted South Carolina manufacturing critical to our state’s economy. Chinese fentanyl trafficked online has taken the lives of too many South Carolinians. Voters should accept no equivocation from candidates on eliminating these dangerous ties.

America cannot cede technological leadership to a hostile authoritarian adversary. Vigilantly protected technology will secure freedom’s cause against Xi Jinping’s oppressive regime, just as technology leadership defeated Soviet communism. South Carolina Republicans must set the tone by requiring every candidate take an inviolable oath to wield the full weight of office against Big Tech’s collusion with the Chinese Communist Leviathan. Nothing less suffices.

U.S. national security requires a decisive political response before China surpasses America in emerging technologies. Voters are right to demand concrete steps to prevent U.S. technology from empowering anti-democratic forces.

Candidates claiming to champion South Carolina’s interests must pledge specific actions to halt the flow of breakthroughs to a hostile foreign power. Binding sanctions, aggressive oversight, and other measures are essential to curb Silicon Valley’s damaging ties with the Chinese Communist Party. Voters should assess every candidate on their willingness to use state power to safeguard national power and South Carolina jobs.

Nothing less than American leadership in the 21st century is at stake. And South Carolina can seize the initiative by forcing candidates to draw a line against Big Tech transfers accelerating China’s ascendance. Our state’s primary vote will reverberate nationwide, and we can demand of candidates that they put the country over corporate profits.

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