“[W]e must stop our own companies from helping China build this new evil empire,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said in a speech at the Hudson Institute. “This is the 21st century rope that capitalists will sell to hang themselves.”
The senator, whose assignments include the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Armed Services Committee, didn't shy away from naming names, such as "Thermo Fisher Scientific, which sells the DNA sequencers China uses to build genetic dossiers on its ethnic minorities," and "Google, which is performing cutting-edge AI research in China and contemplating even greater investment in that country."
President Ronald Reagan famously used the phrase "evil empire" to describe the Soviet Union in a 1983 speech. Cotton's reprise calls attention to the analogy American officials see between the rivalry with the USSR and contemporary U.S.-China relations, which have entered a “Cold War” phase, according to one prominent CIA officer. The Arkansas Republican issued his rebuke while discussing China’s brutal repression of the Uighur ethnic minority, which he believes foreshadows more bellicose posturing against the United States.
“China has a plan for the world, and it’s as concrete as the prison cells where it keeps dissenters,” Cotton said. ”Make no mistake: The brutal police tactics in Xinjiang are not just an assault on that province’s native people, although they’re surely that. They’re also an assault on the American-led world order and a disturbing premonition of an alternative world order — one controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and one that ends in Room 101.”