Republican says US shouldn't let Chinese people study science in case they 'build weapons'

Sanjana Varghese
Monday 27 April 2020 11:15
news
(Fox. News)

For a lot of politicians, Covid-19 has presented an opportunity to take decisive action to protect their communities.

For others, the pandemic has provided the chance to say whatever they want, and hope no one looks too closely.

For example, Republican Tom Cotton, who is a senator for Arkansas, said over the weekend that Chinese students shouldn’t be allowed to study science in the US because they’re stealing American intellectual property.

He made the comments during a segment on Fox News, where he was introduced as one of the first people to "sound the alarm about China".

In his conversation with two Fox News hosts, he said that Chinese students who had been coming to the US to carry out advanced scientific and technological research had been going back to China with that knowledge, and so the US needed to be looking more carefully at these students.

He says:

It's a scandal to me that we've trained so many of the Chinese Communist Party's brightest minds to go back to China, to compete for our jobs, to take our business and ultimately to steal our property and design wesapons and other devices that can be used against the American people.

He went on to say that Chinese students “don’t need to learn quantum computing and artificial intelligence from America.”

He made these remarks while accusing the Chinese government of trying to "steal America’s intellectual property" – in reference to research being carried out for a Covid-19 vaccine and therapeutic drugs – and said that they would be using it as "leverage" against the rest of the world.

The senator seemed pretty proud of his comments, tweeting out a clip to the video, which now has 2,400 likes.

Cotton also repeated claims that the virus had originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, a theory which has been debunked several times, and said that the Chinese government had acted in a criminal manner.

Cotton is one of a growing number of Republican senators who have drafted legislation with the express intent of "punishing" the Chinese government. One of the regulations that he is hoping to push through would enable Americans to "sue China" over the pandemic, although it is unlikely that this would actually happen.

A recently leaked memo detailed how the Republic party wants senators to deal with questions around Covid-19 – by blaming China and not defending Trump. It recommended that senators apologise for how late a travel ban was enacted, but commend Trump for putting one in place.

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