The United States’ top general said on Thursday that the Chinese military was benefiting from the work Alphabet Inc’s Google was doing in China, where the technology giant has long sought to have a bigger presence.
“The work that Google is doing in China is indirectly benefiting the Chinese military,” Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
“We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing that there is that indirect benefit,” he said.
“Frankly, ‘indirect’ may be not a full characterization of the way it really is, it is more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.”
Last year Google said it was no longer vying for a $10 billion cloud computing contract with the U.S. Defense Department, in part because the company’s new ethical guidelines do not align with the project.
In June, Google said it would not renew a contract to help the U.S. military analyze aerial drone imagery when it expires, as the company sought to defuse an internal uproar over the deal.
At the same time, Google said it has “no plans” to relaunch a search engine in China, though it is continuing to study the idea.
During the hearing, Republican Senator Josh Hawley sharply criticized the tech company, referring to it as “a supposedly American company.”