Attorney General William Barr blasted Hollywood and Big Tech for their apparent cooperation with China in a Thursday speech.
Barr criticized Disney, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and others for kowtowing to Chinese policy demands in exchange for market access. In a speech at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Barr said, "I suspect Walt Disney would be disheartened to see how the company he founded deals with the foreign dictatorships of our day."
Hollywood's ties to China have caused filmmakers to block out Taiwanese flags and remove Chinese villains from movies. The Washington Free Beacon reported last week on one film company, Cinedigm, and its journey toward bargaining with the Maoist regime. Cinedigm was purchased by a Chinese firm, Bison Capital, in 2017. Peixin Xu—the owner of Bison—was a prominent executive in a company that became "a business wing of the Chinese military."
American media companies often take steps to appease Chinese interests. Social media companies have a role in selling personal data to the CCP. The Free Beacon reported last week on the increased activity of a Democratic TikTok lobby with close China ties. Now described as a "national security risk," the app popular with teens maintains a potential data pipeline to Beijing.
The problem does not just lie with TikTok, Barr noted. To even make transactions in China, a certain level of cooperation with the CCP must be met. Smartphones, Barr said, "wouldn't be sold (in China) if they were impervious to penetration by Chinese authorities."
Barr's speech comes amid a developing trend of hawkishness against China in Washington. This week has seen the White House disregard Chinese claims in the South China Sea, bolster sanctions against the new Hong Kong national security law, and push Chinese tech firm Huawei out of government business.
Some companies are beginning to notice the administration's changing tone and are following suit. After the imposition of the new national security law on Hong Kong, American media companies Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and Twitter announced the cessation of data-sharing with the Xi regime.
Barr praised the tech companies' efforts. "If they stand together, they will provide a worthy example for other American companies in resisting the Chinese Communist Party's corrupt and dictatorial rule," he said.