Commentary: U.S. containment of China's tech gains little

(Xinhua) 08:11, December 28, 2021

The U.S. efforts to contain China's tech is akin to two cyclists racing uphill. The leader stops and casts his bike aside, choosing instead to set up roadblocks to slow down his closing competitor. (Xinhua/Pan Hongyu)

BEIJING, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government has redoubled its efforts to blacklist Chinese tech startups and research institutions. It is paying a great price for little reward.

One can find in the ever-expanding Entity List, made by the U.S. Department of Commerce, China's supercomputer makers, quantum tech pioneers, 5G-tech suppliers, robot producers, AI camera manufacturers and many STEM colleges that train skilled technicians for the world's factory.

It is hard to ignore, beneath its shiny veneer, the top tech powerhouse's increasing angst over losing its tech supremacy, despite its empty cries of national security threats, potential dual-use, intellectual property theft and human right abuses.

Wanting to secure its tech supremacy is understandable. But the only tactics the U.S. government brings to the playing field are blocking and blacklisting. Washington is quick to scapegoat China, but rather slow to revitalize its domestic infrastructure that props up emerging technologies.

It is akin to two cyclists racing uphill. The leader stops and casts his bike aside, choosing instead to hurl a monkey wrench at his closing competitor.

The latest example is that the United States has managed to form a clique of allies in developing 6G, the next-generation wireless technology, in an attempt to outmaneuver China.

A 6G landscape without China will be forever incomplete. Nikkei Asia, after surveying around 20,000 patent applications for nine core 6G technologies, found that China topped the list with over 40 percent of all 6G patent filings.

A world with two telecom standards would surely hamper global economic growth and also deprive U.S. companies of plentiful business opportunities in China.

The U.S. tech companies have suffered in their domestic market as well. As the telecom equipment provided by Chinese suppliers was banned in the country, small U.S. telecom providers are struggling to survive, threatening even the basic broadband services in the country's remote areas.

The tremendous efforts by the United States to churn out bills and executive orders to curb China's technological advances could have been redirected at serving the people.

China's 5G network is expanding to sustain its digital prosperity. But it is developed with the domestic market in mind, not some imagined foreign enemy.

China's tech ambition is also open to global participation. Its space station under construction will become an important near-earth lab in the coming decade.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told Newsweek in September that he wished China would cooperate with the U.S. space agency. However, the Wolf Amendment passed by U.S. Congress in 2011 is removing any possibility for collaboration.

Now, the blacklist makes cooperative prospects even worse. It brings few benefits to the United States, only helping to pick out, as a side effect, the most vibrant industries in China, contrary to the list-maker's initial intention. 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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