Senate Republicans call on Biden administration to clamp down on cloud companies with ties to China

CNN Newsource Pristine Villarreal

(CNN) — A group of Republican senators on Tuesday urged the Biden administration to “use all available tools” to sanction cloud computing firms with links to China.

The letter led by Sen. Bill Hagerty calls on the Departments of Commerce, State and Treasury to impose “sanctions, export restrictions, and investment bans” on companies including Alibaba and Huawei, which the lawmakers described as national and economic security risks.

Hagerty and eight other GOP colleagues said the companies’ association with Chinese academic, military and government institutions raised concerns. They also called for the Biden administration to investigate other cloud companies operated by Baidu and Tencent.

“We are deeply concerned about this growing trend of PRC-based cloud computing services engaging with entities that directly impact the national security interests of the United States,” the lawmakers wrote.

Representatives for Alibaba and Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The letter comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and China, and as scrutiny mounts in Washington of businesses with ties to China, including TikTok.

The Biden administration has threatened TikTok with a nationwide ban unless its Chinese owners sell their stakes in the company. Some lawmakers have also called for the app to be banned, citing national security risks.

TikTok doesn’t operate in China. But since the Chinese government enjoys significant leverage over businesses under its jurisdiction, the theory goes that ByteDance, and thus indirectly, TikTok, could be forced to cooperate with a broad range of security activities, including possibly the transfer of TikTok data.

TikTok’s CEO has publicly said that the Chinese government has never asked TikTok for its data, and that the company would refuse any such request.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

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