Billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel slammed Silicon Valley leaders for outsourcing vital technologies to the Chinese Communist Party.
Joined by former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser Robert O’Brien at a Tuesday seminar on China, Thiel said his peers in the tech industry act as “useful idiots” for the interests of Beijing by transferring innovative American technology to the oppressive regime. The entrepreneur and founder of PayPal pointed to companies such as Google that export artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to China, tools used to oversee the genocide of Uyghur Muslims in Western China.
“It’s some combination of wishful thinking. It’s useful idiots, you know, it’s CCP fifth column collaborators,” Thiel said of Silicon Valley administrators. “I think if you think of it ideologically or in terms of human rights or something like that, I’m tempted to say it’s just profoundly racist. It’s like saying that because they look different, they’re not white people, they don’t have the same rights. It’s something super wrong.”
O’Brien accused Silicon Valley leaders of hypocrisy for preaching “woke” pieties about social justice issues in the United States while ignoring crackdowns on human rights and political freedom within China.
“In Silicon Valley, we’ve got … a very woke industry in general about what’s happening here,” O’Brien said. “Yet it’s not very woke in what’s happening to the Uyghurs, what’s happening to the Tibetans, what’s happening to the democrats with a small ‘d’ in Hong Kong, the threats against Taiwan where you’ve got the indigenous people of Taiwan. So, there seems to be less concern about those folks in Silicon Valley and industry in general than the concern for woke progressive politics here.”
Part of the tech problem, Thiel said, also comes from American companies refusing to cooperate with the Pentagon and instead pivoting to Beijing. In order to right the ship, he said, the United States must take a more active role in pressuring private companies to divorce from Chinese markets.
“We need to call companies like Google out on working on AI with Communist China, not with [the]U.S.