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28 Feb 2023
China's Xi Jinping Outlines Tech Strategy in Apparent Reaction to US
Opacity is a feature, not a bug, in the view of the most-open governments. In Communist China, opacity is an art form. So it's difficult to get a good read on precisely what the country's increasingly omnipotent leader Xi Jinping is thinking or plans to do with the world's largest country by population and second-largest by economy.
Xi does give a lot of speeches, though, lengthy, with the apparent purpose of guiding the large, complex apparatus running under his leadership, and playing a few cards to see how the West and particularly the US react. As Bloomberg reports, Xi at the moment wants China's people to “accelerate fundamental scientific research so it can become self-reliant in critical technologies,” in an effort to strengthen “strategic technology power,” according to a Xinhua News Agency report of a Politburo study.
The US is Pushing Hard
The Biden Administration in the US is famously pushing hard against companies and nations that are trying to support China's technological progress, especially in the area of high-end chip manufacturing. According to IDCA reporting earlier this year, the Biden Administration:
* May ban all sales to China's controversial Huawei Technologies
* Escalated the chips battle, which China previously called "economic terrorism"
* Pushed and signed the Chips and Science Act and Inflation Relief Act, which are so aggressive they've not only caused concern in China but also spooked EU leaders who are afraid of falling behind the US
* Called the Chips and Science Act a matter of national security
* Set up a joint effort with its strong ally the UK to focus on data, emerging technologies, and digital infrastructure.
Xi Personalizes It
Back in China, Xi has put himself front-and-center in driving a tech-focused strategy, according to the Bloomberg report cited above. “Xi Jinping pointed out that the world has entered the era of big science,” according to Xinhua. “It is necessary to fight the tough battle for the localization of scientific and technological equipment, operating systems, and basic software.”
Xi also mentioned the need for a national laboratory system “with Chinese characteristics,” in recent public remarks. Specific plans may be shrouded behind curtains and fog, but Xi's ambition and intention seem perfectly clear. A 21st-century version of the Great Game, this time with China as an aggressor rather than defender, appears to be on.
Photo of China President Xi Jinping from Xinhua News Agency.
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