China Ministry of State Security: As US Tech Wars’ Victories Fade, Outlook on Tech National Security Risks Remains Grim

Early in the morning of Oct. 7, the public WeChat account of the mainland’s Ministry of National Security posted an article titled “One Year of US Tech War Escalations: Has It Won?” The article remarked that on Oct. 7 of last year, the United States updated its Export Administration Regulations and upgraded its semiconductor export controls on China, but that this U.S.-instigated “tech war” has gradually deviated from its set trajectory, its anticipated victories slowly fading from view. In spite of this, the article continued, the U.S. has been devising a new round of sanctions and suppression policies. There has still been no redress of situations such as China’s core technologies being controlled by others and intensifying suppression from the international environment; the science and technology sectors are still facing serious and conspicuous national security risks. Yet China’s trend of achieving high-level technological self-reliance has been inexorable.

The article indicated that, a year ago today, on Oct. 7, 2022, the U.S. government updated the Export Administration Regulations in the form of “interim rules,” adding 31 Chinese entities to its Unverified List and implementing additional export controls on semiconductors to China. As C.J. Muse, a senior semiconductor analyst at Evercore ISI, put it, “If you’d told me about these rules five years ago, I would’ve told you that’s an act of war—we’d have to be at war.”

Under the subheading “The U.S. Is Increasingly Resorting to Lethal Tactics,” the article went on to explain how, in order to maintain its technological hegemony, the U.S. is accustomed to using state power to contain and suppress technological enterprise in other countries, and that France’s Alstom, Germany’s Siemens, the U.K.’s British Aerospace Systems, and Japan’s Toshiba have all fallen foul of its treacherousness. Faced with the rapid rise of science and technology in China, the U.S. has adhered to a Cold War mentality, gradually going from the blocking of specific enterprises to a three-dimensional suppression and blockade system, extending to technology investments, technology exchanges and scientific and technological talents. It has also used its long-arm jurisdiction to cobble together the “Chip 4 Alliance,” and has even employed its espionage and intelligence agencies to hunt down and take aim at our science and technology enterprises and bring indiscriminate lawsuits against our technological talents, in a vain attempt to block China’s process of scientific and technological development.

It went on to indicate that, after updating its Export Administration Regulations, the U.S. had implemented a raft of policies with further measures. In January of this year, the U.S., Japan, and the Netherlands reached a control agreement on restricting the export of advanced chip manufacturing equipment to China; in February, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Commerce jointly established the “Disruptive Technology Strike Force” to strengthen oversight and enforcement of export controls to China; in March, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced proposed rules for the guardrail provisions of the Chip Act, which would prohibit funded entities from engaging in any material expansion of semiconductor capacity with China for 10 years; and in August, Joe Biden signed an executive order on foreign investment review, prohibiting American companies and individuals from investing in China’s semiconductor and other cutting-edge industries. These regulations are not just an attempt at limiting China’s access to state-of-the-art chips; they also attempt to deny China access to any equipment, technology, software, or even human resources that are “related” to chips.

However, under its subheading “Breaking Through the Iron Curtain: ‘New Core’ Heads Towards Glory,” the article goes on to point out that the introduction of the new regulations mentioned above has sparked widespread concern among American and European industries. According to media reports, the CEO of ASML in the Netherlands has said that if China cannot obtain the machinery with which to manufacture chips, they will develop them themselves; it will take time, but they will eventually get there. For his part, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang has said that a U.S. chip war with China would be hugely detrimental to U.S. technology. And a year later, their words have come true: This year so far, the performances of chip giants such as Qualcomm, Intel, and AMD have fallen sharply, with Intel posting a net loss of $2.8 billion in the first quarter.

According to the article, in the face of suppression, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party had insisted on making self-reliance in science and technology a strategic support for national development, with major innovations of the China Lunar Exploration Program, the Zhurong Mars rover, and the Xihe Solar Explorer all testifying to the solid strides made by China towards scientific and technological self-reliance.

The recent launch by Huawei of a series of terminal products, including the Mate 60 Pro, signaled an important breakthrough for China in the semiconductor field, it said. The chip in Huawei’s phone “raises questions about the efficacy of a U.S.-led global campaign to prevent China’s access to cutting-edge technology,” Bloomberg commented, while the Washington Post said that the Mate 60 Pro smartphone “represents a new high-water mark in China’s technological capabilities, with an advanced chip inside that was both designed and manufactured in China.”

Finally, under the sub-heading “Safeguarding Technological Security: A Long, Hard Road Ahead,” the article stated that technological innovation is the main battleground in nations’ strategic games: Only by mastering the core technologies in our own hands can we truly take the initiative in competition and development and fundamentally safeguard our national scientific and technological security, economic security, national defense security, and other types of security.

It said that it was foreseeable the U.S. would continue to pursue policies of anti-globalization and de-sinicization to maintain its hegemonic position. Not long ago, after returning to the U.S. from a visit to China, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo declared that the U.S. was “never going to sell our most powerful [artificial intelligence] chips” to China and said she was “upset” with Huawei’s new mobile phone, equipped with an advanced chip and launched during her visit to China.

So the article said. But as The New York Times pointed out, these control measures will not contain China once and for all; even under optimal circumstances, they can only be a delaying tactic. China’s trend toward achieving high-level technological self-reliance is unstoppable. We must always bear in mind that self-reliance in science and technology is the foundation of national strength and the key to security. We must thoroughly implement the overall concept of national security and enhance all of society’s awareness and ability to safeguard scientific and technological security, and we must strive to take the initiative and occupy a leading position in promoting scientific and technological development and safeguarding scientific and technological security.

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About Matthew McKay 107 Articles
Matthew is a British citizen who grew up and is based in Switzerland. He received his honors degree in Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford and, after 15 years in the private sector, went on to earn an MA in Chinese Languages, Literature and Civilization from the University of Geneva. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and an associate of both the UK's Institute of Translation and Interpreting and the Swiss Association of Translation, Terminology and Interpreting. Apart from Switzerland, he has lived in the UK, Taiwan and Germany, and his translation specialties include arts & culture, international cooperation, and neurodivergence.

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