Speaking at a hearing of the House Committee on Financial Services today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg echoed a point often made at Breitbart News and by conservatives — that trade links with China have harmed rather than helped the cause of freedom.
“I think it’s fair to say that my views have evolved,” said Zuckerberg. “I probably ten years ago would have been more optimistic that trying to work in China could have contributed to making a more open society.”
Without naming specific examples, the Facebook CEO went on to cite cases “in the last few weeks” showing American values’ being “compromised” by their links to China.
“Today it seems in some cases that in some cases working in China not only does not do that but compromises American companies’ ability to promote our values abroad and around the world, and I think we’ve seen that in the last few weeks in a number of cases.”
Continuing his testimony, Zuckerberg said that tech companies coming out of China do not share the “strong free expression values” of American tech giants — even though virtually every major American social media platform has been condemned by Republican politicians (and some Democrats) for failing to protect the free expression of their users.
“Over the last decade, pretty much all of the major internet platforms have been American companies with strong free expression values, and I just think that there’s no guarantee that that’s the state of the world going forward. Today, six of the top ten companies are coming out of China and certainly do not share our values on things like expression.”
The Facebook CEO also warned that Chinese tech companies have an advantage in terms of infrastructure, and the close partnerships between Chinese tech companies and the Communist government.
“Part of the infrastructure that they’re building on is a lot more modern than some of what we would have to build on here.”
“As soon as we put forward the white paper around the Libra project, China immediately announced a public-private partnership working with companies like that, to extend the work that they’d already done with Alipay into a digital Renmimbi as part of the Belt & Road initiative that they have, and they’re planning on launching that in the next few months.”
By Allum Bokhari