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Cruz, Hawley to introduce Senate legislation targeting Chinese espionage

The legislation is called the Countering Chinese Attempts at Snooping Act

Updated: April 30, 2020 - 11:27pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are planning to introduce legislation to defend against Chinese espionage by barring government workers from spending funds to carry out official business on technology tied to certain companies.

The Countering Chinese Attempts at Snooping (CCAS) Act calls for the Secretary of State to create a list of organizations that are under Chinese influence and that help China in areas like surveillance, foreign network access and obtaining information about foreign people who utilize Chinese-linked platforms.

The legislative text says that, "No funds may be expended by an employee or officer of the United States to conduct official business over any social media, computer or smartphone application, or telecommunications technology produced, operated, or hosted by" any of the entities on the list to be produced by State.

The proposal also includes a provision stipulating that if the United Nations does business with any of the organizations on the list, the U.S. will decrease its funding by the same amount as the value of the UN's contracts with that company.

Cruz, R-Texas, called businesses like Tencent and Huawei "espionage operations for the Chinese Communist party, masquerading as telecom companies for the 21st century." The companies adamantly deny such charges.

"Prohibiting the use of these platforms and stopping taxpayers dollars from being used to capitalize Chinese espionage infrastructure are common sense measures to protect American national security. These are just some of the measures we will have to take as the United States reevaluates its relationship with China and the CCP," Cruz said.

"The United Nations' decision to partner with Tencent, a glorified surveillance arm of the Chinese Communist Party, is stupid and dangerous," Hawley, R-Mo., said. "Chinese technology companies like Tencent and Huawei actively conspire with the CCP to conduct international surveillance and present an ongoing threat to the United States and our allies. American taxpayer money should not fund UN contracts that benefit the Chinese Communist Party."

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