jin24_Hu ZhixuanXinhua via Getty Images_china ai Hu ZhixuanXinhua via Getty Images

America Is Fueling Chinese Techno-Nationalism

The US campaign to limit Chinese firms' access to critical technologies has backfired. China has responded by pursuing its goal of bolstering its technological capabilities with an intensity unseen since Mao Zedong committed to developing nuclear weapons six decades ago.

BEIJING – Although the American-born skier Eileen Gu became a darling of the Chinese public during the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China trained many of its sports champions at home, through its juguo (whole nation) sports regime. And now China is applying the juguo approach – deploying massive resources to achieve a strategic objective or build national prestige – to attaining world-class technological prowess.

China is pursuing its technological goals with an intensity unseen since Chairman Mao Zedong committed to developing nuclear weapons six decades ago. The motivation could not be clearer. Under President Donald Trump, the United States launched a campaign against Chinese tech companies – especially Huawei and ZTE – which included restricting their access to US-controlled critical technologies like semiconductors. That campaign has continued under President Joe Biden, and many more Chinese firms face a similar fate if they are added to America’s so-called Entity List.

America’s actions have amounted to a wake-up call for China. Rather than remain vulnerable to the whims of the US, it needs to become technologically self-reliant.

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