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China panel chair wants testimony from Disney and Big Tech executives, NBA commissioner

By Lauren Sforza

January 11, 2023

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), chairman of the new House select committee focused on U.S. competition with China, said Wednesday that he wants Big Tech executives, Disney CEO Bob Iger and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to all testify before the panel.

“Consider this me giving them the initial warning order that they’ll have to testify before the committee,” Gallagher said on “The Hugh Hewitt Show” Wednesday.

Gallagher said he wants to give Big Tech companies the opportunity to explain their position on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) potential access to some firms and platforms, like TikTok, and talk about how American companies can “win” the competition between the U.S. and China.

He added that he believes executives of major tech companies will be open to speaking with the committee.

“We cannot win this unless we have American companies that are out-innovating their Chinese counterparts, and indeed think of themselves as Americans,” he said. “So I don’t think we’ll have any problems getting Big Tech to comply. If they do, it’s just going to be very problematic for them.”

He also said he wanted to have a discussion open to the American people with Iger and Silver about the influence the CCP appears to have on companies like Disney and the NBA, warning that Beijing could “blackmail the entire world” if nothing changes.

“The bigger concern,” Gallagher said of what he described as the NBA “bending the knee” to Chinese President Xi Jinping, “is that it gives us a preview of what’s going to happen to the rest of our domestic industries if we allow the Chinese Communist Party to control the commanding heights of technology and the economy.”

The House easily passed the resolution Tuesday to create the select committee with bipartisan support. The panel will have the power to hold public hearings, but Gallagher said its subpoena authority had not been specified in the rule.

Both Republicans and Democrats have previously demonstrated concerns about China’s influence in America’s business, technology and entertainment sectors. Recently, a string of state governments have banned the use of TikTok, owned by the Chinese-based company ByteDance, from government devices, citing concerns that the CCP could access user data. A provision banning the platform from all federal government devices was also passed last month as part of a massive federal funding bill in response to those concerns.

Disney and the NBA have both previously faced questions in relation to China as well. In 2020, GOP lawmakers demanded answers from Disney about why it filmed parts of the live-action remake of “Mulan” near the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. A year earlier, the NBA drew bipartisan criticism over its response to a statement made by the general manager of the Houston Rockets voicing support for Hong Kong protesters.


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