US lawmakers to meet with Taiwan’s Tsai, Tim Cook, Bob Iger
April 1, 2023 Updated Sat., April 1, 2023 at 6:49 p.m.
WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers is taking their concerns about China to California next week where they plan to meet with top technology and entertainment executives, as well as with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
The trip, led by Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican who chairs a new House panel focused on China, is aimed at understanding how the Chinese Communist Party influences different parts of American society, according to a person familiar with the committee’s plans.
About half a dozen lawmakers will begin their trip in Los Angeles on Wednesday, where they’ll meet with Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger and other producers and screenwriters to talk about Beijing’s demands on U.S. films in exchange for access to the Chinese market, according to the person.
Lawmakers will ask how the CCP inserts its narrative — and scrubs objectionable content — not just in films shown in China but also in global productions in a way that undermines the soft power of exporting U.S. culture.
That stop will include a meeting with Tsai, who will be returning from a trip to Central America. Tsai is also expected to meet House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, in his home state. She met last week with Hakeem Jeffries, the top House Democrat, in his home state of New York, according to people familiar with the event.
Taiwan’s presidential office has declined to confirm Tsai’s planned meetings in advance.
In the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday, the group will have lunch with executives from Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Microsoft Corp., Palantir Technologies Inc. and Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Dinner that night will include about a dozen prominent venture capitalists, including Marc Andreessen and Vinod Khosla.
The House Select Committee on China under Gallagher’s leadership has sought out forums beyond the traditional hearing room on Capitol Hill to understand all aspects of the “strategic competition” between the world’s two largest economies.
The committee’s conversations with private sector leaders are taking place as U.S. companies across the economy reevaluate their exposure to China and their reliance on that country’s consumers and supply chains.
U.S.-Sino relations have been strained in recent weeks over China’s support for Russia, a spy balloon that flew over the U.S. and bipartisan calls in Washington to ban the popular video-sharing app TikTok because of its Chinese parent, ByteDance Inc.
Gallagher and Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the top Democrat on the China Committee, who will be on the trip, co-sponsored one of several bills seeking to block TikTok from operating in the U.S.
Some industries are of particular concern, including pharmaceuticals, rare earth minerals, artificial intelligence and quantum computing, the person familiar with the committee’s plans said.
The conversations will focus on how the U.S. government and the private sector need to work together to confront the threat from China, the person said.
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