Book review: China and America’s Tech War from AI to 5G

In this review of China and America’s Tech War from AI to 5G: The Struggle to Shape the Future of World War, the new book by AB Abrams, Will Podmore notes that China has major advantages in five crucial areas of strategic and economic significance, namely artificial intelligence, quantum computing, green and nuclear technologies, telecommunications, and semiconductor chips. China is also, he notes, the world’s largest R&D investor and accounts for nearly half of all patent applications lodged worldwide.

Podmore writes that its unaffordability deters many US citizens from university study, but in China the numbers are rising fast. Moreover, the Chinese percentage of STEM graduates among its student cohort is double that of the US. China has also overtaken the US in the number of peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals. 

The US response, Podmore observes, has been to step up its attacks on China’s Huawei. But, as Abrams notes: “By initiating hostilities the US may only have accelerated its own decline by pressing China and its suppliers to phase out reliance on both American inputs such as software as well as on US chips.”

Britain’s decision to strip out Chinese equipment from its 5G network within seven years will cost over £7 billion and delay 5G rollout by at least three years. Podmore evokes a famous aphorism of Mao Zedong when he describes all this as “lifting a rock, only to drop it on your own feet.”

For their part, the editors of the MIT Technology Review write: “It’s becoming increasingly clear in the West that while the venture capital model is good at building things people want, it’s less good at producing things society needs in order to solve hard, long-term problems like pandemics and climate change.”

Abrams’ book is published by Lexington Books. However, at £96, it is beyond the reach of all but a handful of individual readers. A Kindle edition is currently available at a slightly more affordable £38. It may also be possible to order it through your library.

This review was originally published by the Morning Star.

China has major advantages in five key broad areas of technological competition with high strategic and economic significance — artificial intelligence, quantum computing, green and nuclear technologies, telecommunications and semiconductor chips — due to its greater home market scale, flexible regulatory environment and faster product integration loop.

China is the world’s largest overall (public and private) R&D investor. And China is not producing copies, as is commonly alleged: China files nearly half all the patent applications submitted worldwide.

The unaffordability of higher education in the United States means that fewer US citizens are going to university, but in China the numbers receiving higher education are rising fast. In 2013, 40 per cent of Chinese students graduated in STEM subjects, under 20 per cent in the US.

In the period 2016-2018, China overtook the US in the number of peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals. The 2019 PISA (the OECD Programme for International Student Assessments) found that Chinese students were the best educated in the world.

The US responded not by upping its investments in high tech but by stepping up its attacks on China’s Huawei.

By 2019, 40 per cent of the world’s population used telecoms that passed through Huawei equipment. The US government alleged that Huawei was using its equipment to spy on other countries.

Nevertheless, the US House of Representatives intelligence committee had concluded in 2012 that there was no evidence that the firm was installing back doors in its equipment for espionage purposes.

Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security found no evidence of any security threat or malpractice from Huawei. And, as Abrams points out, “It was the NSA, not a Chinese government agency, which sought to install back doors into Huawei equipment for espionage purposes.”

The NSA made US tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Apple assist its surveillance efforts.

Continue reading Book review: China and America’s Tech War from AI to 5G

Fish and Chips: microchips and the nuclear contamination of seafoods

In this brief commentary submitted to us, James De Burghe, a British socialist who is a long-term resident in China, takes a look at two current areas of contention between China and the imperialist powers. Fish and chips have both become factors in international relations, but not, he argues without imposing costs on the United States and Japan.

The USA’s attempt to throttle Chinese economic growth by interfering with the supply chain of materials, equipment, and technologies, that are crucial to the development of microchips is a clear breach of both World Trade Organization (WTO) rules as well as of international law generally. It is yet another provocation aimed at China by the US and follows on from a list of other sanctions designed to hamper China’s economic growth. However, the impact of these sanctions has damaged US companies that were based in China developing advanced electronics. The US action went so far as to make it illegal for any US citizen to work in any Chinese company developing microchips. Now after a year of failed diplomacy China has hit back by restricting the sale to the US of rare earths needed to produce microchips. The results are predictable. Janet Yellen, the US Treasury Secretary, rushed to China and loudly declared the ban to be an unfair trading practise. These somewhat childish and certainly hypocritical outbursts by senior US politicians are becoming all too frequent as it finally registers wth the US that they are losing both the propaganda and economic war against China.

Seafood is a key part of the Chinese diet and the country has imported a great deal of fish and other aquatic products from Japan over the last two decades. A significant part of that trade is now in jeopardy as the Japanese government plans to dump radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean. On July 4, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published a report announcing that Japan’s dumping plan meets the IAEA’s safety standards.

Within days of the report being released, scepticism was mounting. And it sparked a strong backlash in countries in the Asia Pacific region that will be impacted by the scheduled dumping.

Chinese experts told the Global Times newspaper, that “the risks associated with the dumping of nuclear-contaminated wastewater from Fukushima are real. From the perspective of the interests of all humankind, there should have been better options considered, but Japan has disregarded them and chosen the most favourable approach for itself.

“Deng Ge, secretary general of the CAEA [China Atomic Energy Authority], noted that according to the IAEA report, the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) method used by Japan cannot remove all radioactive nuclides from the nuclear-contaminated wastewater. Based on previous operation results, it has been proven that the ALPS method is ineffective in removing radioactive nuclides such as tritium and carbon-14. The effectiveness of ALPS in removing other radioactive nuclides also requires further testing and verification through experiments and engineering.”

As Japan plans to release hundreds of tons of the wastewater into the Pacific Ocean over the next few years, it is inconceivable that these radioactive nuclides, with their known propensity to cause cancers and other major health hazards, will not enter the human food chain or indeed damage the ocean’s flora and fauna. The trouble is that by the time we find this out it will be too late to do anything about it.

Strategies of denial: Bidenomics and the New Cold War on China

In this insightful article on New Left Review’s Sidecar blog, Grey Anderson explores the Biden administration’s new industrial strategy (incorporating the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act), and its connection with the ongoing efforts to suppress China’s economic rise.

Anderson writes that this anti-China orientation is not an “unfortunate by-product” of the $4 trillion spending plan, but its “motivating purpose”. The logic governing the new era of infrastructure spending is fundamentally geopolitical; “its precedent is to be sought not in the New Deal but in the military Keynesianism of the Cold War, seen by the ‘Wise Men’ who waged it as a condition for victory in America’s struggle against the Soviet Union.”

The article notes that export restrictions on AI and semiconductor components are specifically geared towards preventing China from emerging as a major player in these crucial industries, and as such constitute “a veritable declaration of economic war.” The New Cold War, however, is not solely economic, given the US’s renewed commitment to the Quad alliance, its creation of AUKUS, its huge and expanding array of military bases, its growing expenditure on hi-tech weaponry, and its increased supply of arms and military advisors to Taiwan.

The author notes that Washington is currently in a difficult position, in that it must “reconcile the imperative to prevent any state other than itself from dominating one of the great centres of world power (Asia, Europe, the Persian Gulf) with evidence of its citizens’ likely disinclination to back a major international war abroad, after twenty years of unending armed escapades.” The proposed ‘solution’ to this problem appears to be seeking to lure China into aggressive actions, thereby “hardening the resolve of the peoples in the broader coalition to intervene and for those engaged to intensify and widen the war to a level at which they would win it.”

There has been a lively debate on the American left about the Biden Administration’s industrial strategy. Discussion has focused on the prospects opened up by the massive stimulus – totalling some $4 trillion, if we factor in the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the CHIPS and Science Act alongside the Inflation Reduction Act – from training up ‘progressive technocrats’ to retrofit buildings to the feasibility of capitalist state-led ‘decarbonization’ under conditions of global overcapacity and falling economic growth.

So far, assessments have been mixed, differentiating ‘the good, the bad, the ugly’, albeit with the stress on the first. If the boost to employment and ‘green’ good works promised by the IRA cannot be dismissed, nor can its shortcomings: lack of funding for housing and public transport, neutered regulatory standards in the electricity sector, leasing agreements that give oil and gas producers access to public land. ‘The IRA’, a representative appraisal in Jacobin reckoned, ‘is at once a massive fossil fuel industry giveaway, a historic but inadequate investment in clean energy, and our best hope for staving off planetary catastrophe’.

In other words, the left critique has gone beyond ‘good, but not big enough’ – but perhaps not very far beyond. Almost entirely absent in these discussions is the geostrategic rationale that powers this national-investment drive, reshoring production on the US mainland, bagging lithium mines and sponsoring construction of microchip factories, in a militarized bid to outflank China.

Viewed from the halls of power, the anti-China orientation of US industrial policy is not an unfortunate by-product of the green ‘transition’, but its motivating purpose. For its conceptors, the logic governing the new era of infrastructure spending is fundamentally geopolitical; its precedent is to be sought not in the New Deal but in the military Keynesianism of the Cold War, seen by the ‘Wise Men’ who waged it as a condition for victory in America’s struggle against the Soviet Union.

Today, as after 1945, policymakers find themselves at an ‘inflexion point’. ‘History’, wrote future National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan during the 2020 presidential campaign, ‘is again knocking’:

The growing competition with China and shifts in the international political and economic order should provoke a similar instinct within the contemporary foreign-policy establishment. Today’s national security experts need to move beyond the prevailing neoliberal economic philosophy of the past forty years… The US national security community is rightly beginning to insist on the investments in infrastructure, technology, innovation, and education that will determine the United States’ long-term competitiveness vis-à-vis China.

Detailed at length in a report for the Carnegie Foundation, under the signature of Sullivan and a camarilla of other Biden advisers, ‘foreign policy for the middle class’ collapsed factitious distinctions between national security and economic planning. Hopes that globalized doux commerce might permanently induce other powers to accept US hegemony had been deceived. Another approach was in order. ‘There’s no longer a bright line between foreign and domestic policy’, Biden declared in his inaugural foreign policy speech. ‘Every action we take in our conduct abroad, we must take with American working families in mind.’ Trump’s victory, forged in the deindustrialized heartlands of the opioid crisis and ‘American carnage’, had shaken the Democrat establishment. What’s good for Goldman Sachs was no longer, it seemed, necessarily good for America.

Continue reading Strategies of denial: Bidenomics and the New Cold War on China

US outcry over Micron ban is hypocritical in the extreme

In the following article, which originally appeared on RT, Timur Fomenko points to the obscene hypocrisy of the US in its trade relationship with China. Washington affords itself the right to impose sanctions on companies such as Huawei and TikTok, and to prevent the export of the most advanced semiconductor technology to China; however, when China takes a reciprocal action – albeit in a much smaller scale – by banning Micron chips from key infrastructure projects, this is labelled as an outrageous violation of the principles of free trade and fair play.

The author notes that the US’s willingness to trade with China is predicated on the latter playing by Washington’s rules. “The US, of course, loves the idea of trade with China and its markets, as long as such trade is conducted entirely according to Washington’s preferences.” But the century of humiliation is long over, and the Chinese people are not willing to be subjected to a position of subservience vis-a-vis US imperialism.

China recently restricted chips made by US semiconductor firm Micron from being used in its national infrastructure, branding them a “national security threat”.

The language and rationale of such a move should sound familiar, because it’s precisely what the US has been doing over the past few years in blacklisting Chinese technology companies and pushing allies to do the same. “You can’t trust having Huawei in your 5G infrastructure” was the general line used by Washington officials. According to them, and to Western media repeating this line, all kinds of Chinese technology constitutes an “espionage risk,” from TikTok to balloons to fridges.

So based on this treatment of Chinese companies by the US, it was only a matter of time before Beijing struck back. And one might think that if Washington was willing to use “national security” as a pretext for market exclusion, it would be acceptable for China to the same. Only fair, right?

Apparently not. Despite the brutal restrictions the US has placed on Chinese technology, which have also included blacklisting its entire semiconductor industry and forcing third-party countries to follow suit, the US reacted with outrage to Beijing’s announcement and accused it of “having no basis in fact.” Not only that, but Washington then further claimed that the move was evidence that China’s regulatory environment was “unreliable” and that the country was no longer committed to “reform and opening up.”

The US can somehow say this with a straight face. Washington is entitled to restrict Chinese firms on an industrial scale, but when Beijing does the same, even on a marginal level, then it’s evidence that China is not reliable for investment. Even as microchip firms point out the damage that disastrous policies of the US are causing, Washington seems to have either no self-awareness, or an extreme sense of self-entitlement, which, as has been discussed many times, gives it the almost divine right to impose on others rules it doesn’t feel obliged to follow itself.

This is an indication of how the US sees its right to exploit China’s own markets. American ties with China have always been conditional, on the premise that Beijing would gradually transform its political system and economy to fall in line with US preferences. In the 1980s and 1990s, during China’s era of “reform and opening up,” the US believed – due to its ideological overconfidence after its victory in the Cold War – that China was changing and was destined to reform.

In this light, free market economics was seen as an evangelically transformative force which, with the onset of capitalism, naturally led to liberal democracy. Thus, there was never a premise of “engaging” China on its own terms, it always had to “lead” to something. By the 2010s, it became clear that this was not going to happen. Not only did China’s political system not change, but its economic trajectory and industries continued to grow in a way which threatened the foundations of American hegemony. US foreign policy subsequently shifted to now trying to “force” China to change and containing it.

The US, of course, loves the idea of trade with China and its markets, as long as such trade is conducted entirely according to Washington’s preferences. That is, to have China’s market to exploit as a subordinate to the US, and to prevent China from having its own world-leading industries. This mindset has created a visible contradiction in political rhetoric: that China “must” open up its markets more for Western goods, but at the same time must be locked out of Western markets in certain areas. China’s resistance to this is decried as so-called “unfair” economic practices.

Because of this, the only kind of “engagement” the US wants with China is that which is completely one-sided, such as being forced to order $200 billion in US farm goods per annum (as Trump envisioned), but being banned from the US semiconductor market. This is also why the US demands that even as its own companies lose market share in China, other countries, like South Korea, should have no right to take up that lost share.

The US is not interested in compromise, only capitulation. Thus, trade with China is really only conditional on either ideological transformation, or if that fails, a surrender to total exploitation, turning China into a neoliberal state which is completely open and gutted of industries, possibly complete with a small clique of very wealthy pro-Western oligarchs who sell out the country.

The US-China economic relationship is directed, on Washington’s side, by a sense of ideological entitlement. We can blacklist your companies and even coercively ban third countries from using any Chinese technology, but don’t even think about limiting one of our own firms. Or else.

China’s report on US cyber attacks only scratches surface of Washington’s impunity

In this article, first published in CGTN, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong analyzes a report released by China’s cyber security investigators detailing US interference in China’s internal affairs. The report concluded that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is conducting a cyber warfare campaign on key Chinese economic sectors and that this behavior is emblematic of the CIA’s role in overthrowing governments that challenge US hegemony.

U.S. political leaders and media analysts often hype “threats” from abroad in order to justify an increasingly aggressive foreign policy. China is now considered a top “threat” from significant elements of the U.S. political establishment and is regularly accused of conducting cyber espionage and other forms of snooping. Often, these accusations reflect the actual policies carried out by the U.S. government regardless of which political party holds majority power. On May 4, China’s National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center (NCVERC) and internet security company 360 offered verifiable proof of this in a joint report detailing the cyber weapons used by the U.S.’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on other countries.

The report builds on earlier findings in 2020 that an unknown cyber organization hacked into China’s major petroleum, infrastructure, aviation, and several other industries using methods related to WikiLeaks’ “Vault 7” documents. These documents revealed that the CIA was able to infiltrate cyber technology and use it to spy on other countries as well as U.S. citizens.

Continue reading China’s report on US cyber attacks only scratches surface of Washington’s impunity

The TikTok conspiracy – the Montana connection

In the following article, written for Friends of Socialist China, Keith Lamb uncovers the real reasons behind the move by lawmakers in the US state of Montana to ban the hugely popular TikTok app. 

Keith refutes the suggestion that the app presents any national security threat to the US, highlighting instead the degeneration of much of US popular culture as well as the contrast between a bourgeois government in the US – in hock to capital, including the big tech companies – and a socialist government in China, that prioritizes people’s welfare, including the balanced development of the younger generation. 

He also looks at why Montana is the first US state to take this drastic step.

Montana lawmakers have decided to ban TikTok, the popular app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Now their decision will go to Montana’s Republican governor, Greg Gianforte, for consideration. The argument for banning TikTok is based on several conspiracy theories. But the real conspiracy theory, which Montana has a role in, isn’t being reported.

The popular conspiracy theory narrative is that China will be able to spy on US citizens, propagandize them, and that China is even using TikTok to dumb down Americans while the Chinese version of the app is used to edify China’s citizens.

First, even the CIA has stated there is no evidence that the Chinese government has access to US TikTok data. Indeed, TikTok stores US data on servers based in Texas. As such, the reasoning for banning TikTok is based on made up and hypothetical situations rather than factual evidence.

Second, it is vacuous to claim that China is using TikTok to propagandize US citizens as US TikTok users overwhelmingly consume homegrown content. Banning TikTok would only mean US content creators would migrate to different apps – this is probably the intention!

In terms of the Chinese version of TikTok, an episode of the 60 Minutes TV show argued that it is more likely to show edifying content to Chinese youth while US children get the dumbed-down version. Thus, the reasoning goes, China is purposely dumbing down Americans!

This dumbed-down argument speaks volumes to the ignorance that masks the real causes for seeking to ban TikTok. Any serious self-reflection on popular US culture would recognize that it has long been dumbed down before TikTok’s advent.

Ignorance and mindless hedonism, combined with the generally illusory prospect of quick wealth added onto a catchy jingle, has long been the background melody that big business has used to propagandize American youth. Without widespread ignorance arguments that combine multiple foreign invasions with notions of “democracy” and “the good guys” would be untenable.

Continue reading The TikTok conspiracy – the Montana connection

TikTok on trial: The latest front in the US tech war on China

This article by Amanda Yee, which was first carried on Liberation News, provides a detailed analysis of the US’s attempt to suppress (or transfer ownership of) the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok.

Amanda writes that the attack on TikTok is merely the latest front in an ongoing tech war being waged by the US ruling class, seeking to demonize Chinese tech companies and restrict their access to US markets. The US is “weaponizing Red Scare tactics” in order to ensure its tech dominance. “Forcing the sale of TikTok to a US company, or banning it entirely, which would drive its users to US competitors like Meta, Instagram Reels (owned by Meta), Snapchat, or YouTube Shorts.”

The article notes that the targeting of TikTok over data privacy concerns is discriminatory. US firms including Google and Facebook are notorious for providing data to the state, to the extent that there is “a mutually beneficial relationship between tech companies and the US government: the state protects the interests of Silicon Valley capital, and in return, Big Tech complies with its data requests.” The problem of data privacy is not TikTok’s specific practises – or its alleged links with the Communist Party of China – but the lack of meaningful regulation of the tech sector by the US government.

The US ruling class is whipping up anti-communist and racist hysteria in order to suppress China’s rise and to protect US economic hegemony. All those on the left should oppose this abhorrent strategy.

On March 23, CEO of TikTok Shou Zi Chew testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee addressing concerns over the popular social media app’s data collection practices and parent company ByteDance’s alleged links to the Chinese government. Though TikTok is a subsidiary of ByteDance, which is based in Beijing, it operates as an independent entity. Chew has maintained the company has never shared user data with the Chinese government, and would refuse if pressed to do so. Still, the Congressional hearings amounted to nothing more than racist political theater, a McCarthyite witch trial, in which members of Congress who demonstrated little understanding of how basic social media algorithms—or even home Wi–Fi networks—work attempted to spuriously link Chew, who was born, raised, and currently lives in Singapore, to the Communist Party of China.

At one point during the hearings, Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona asks Chew, “Do you agree that the Chinese government is persecuting the Uyghur population?” to which a perplexed Chew firmly responds, “Congresswoman, I’m here to describe TikTok and what we do as a platform.”

Make no mistake: the TikTok hearings had nothing to do with the baseless threat of Chinese surveillance and everything to do with maintaining the dominance of U.S. capitalism. TikTok is the most popular and most frequently downloaded social media app worldwide, boasting 150 million users in the United States alone. The overall time users spend on TikTok now far exceeds some of its U.S. competitors, and it has been rapidly pulling digital advertising away from these same companies. 

The hearings were just the latest in the U.S. tech war against China—a key front in the new Cold War—and Silicon Valley has found as its ally rising anti-Chinese sentiment and, through the arm of the capitalist state, is weaponizing such Red Scare tactics to ensure tech dominance. This explains why the U.S. government is trying to force the sale of TikTok to a U.S. company, or ban it entirely, which would drive its users to U.S. competitors like Meta, Instagram Reels (owned by Meta), Snapchat, or YouTube Shorts.

Either way, Silicon Valley stands to benefit. And even if the U.S. government doesn’t go through with a TikTok ban, the spectacle of the hearings and fearmongering over Chinese surveillance was enough to drive up stocks for Meta and Snapchat.

Continue reading TikTok on trial: The latest front in the US tech war on China

China isn’t our enemy, targeting of Tiktok is xenophobic

In this brief interview for CGTN, North American anti-war activist Calla Walsh – one of the co-chairs of the National Network on Cuba, and a speaker at our Counter-Summit for Democracy – explains that a growing number of young people in the US do not see China as their enemy but rather as a friend; “as a global leader that is really paving the way to a more peaceful and multi-polar world where all countries have a right to sovereignty, instead of living under the yoke of the United States.” Although young people in the West are exposed to a relentless barrage of anti-China propaganda, increasingly people are able to see and understand certain powerful facts: that it’s the US and its allies that go round the world waging war and imposing domination, while China stands with the Global South; that it’s the US that’s failing to make meaningful progress addressing the climate crisis, while China has emerged as a global leader in green energy. In summary, “China is a progressive force, and the US is extremely regressive.”

Calla also addresses the attack on TikTok – an attack based on xenophobia, anticommunism, and a fear of China’s economic rise. However, this attack is having the opposite of its intended effect: “I think it’ll make the entire user base, which is hundreds of millions of people, even more skeptical of the US government’s narrative on TikTok and on China as a whole.”

The anti-China onslaught in the U.S. doesn’t seem to be having the desired effect on its younger population. A recent survey by The Economist and YouGov reveals that younger Americans are friendlier to China than their older counterparts. Nearly a quarter of Americans aged 18 to 44 view China as “friendly,” only 4 percent of Americans above the age of 45 view China this way.

The report comes amid the U.S. efforts to ban TikTok, a video app that has become a craze among American youth in recent years. At the Congressional hearing of TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, U.S. lawmakers couldn’t hide their racism and xenophobia.

To understand how a large number of young Americans are contesting the anti-China narrative within the U.S., CGTN spoke with Calla Walsh, a youth anti-war activist who is on the board of Massachusetts Peace Action and one of the co-chairs of the National Network on Cuba.

Edited Excerpts:

CGTN: Let me ask you the question that The Economist-YouGov poll asked its respondents: Do you consider China to be a friendly nation or an enemy of the United States?

Walsh: China is not our enemy and I’m among the substantial group of young people in the U.S. that sees China as a friend. And I see China not only as a friend, but as a global leader that is really paving the way to a more peaceful and multi-polar world where all countries have a right to sovereignty, instead of living under the yoke of the United States. And it’s really hard to buy the U.S. demonization of China as this existential threat when in the past several decades the U.S. is the country that has committed hundreds of military interventions and invasions.

And I think young people can see through these warmongering lies that the U.S. is spreading about China. And we can also see China is actually delivering on the issues we care about, for example, climate. [U.S. President Joe] Biden is signing off on the willow project; he’s breaking his campaign promises to stop new drilling on federal land while China’s leading the world and reducing carbon emissions, building green infrastructure. So it’s very easy to tell China is a progressive force, and the U.S. is extremely regressive.

CGTN: Does the poll indicate that we are witnessing a slow but gradual generational change in perception about China?

Walsh: I think there is a slow generational shift in how we regard China and how we regard U.S. imperialism as a whole. We are not the generation of the first Cold War against the Soviet Union. I think our generation has been much more shaped by social movements that have really made us more skeptical of the U.S. government narrative on things. We’re the generation of these mass mobilizations against Climate Change, against gun violence, against racism and police brutality. And young people are becoming more civically engaged, having record-breaking voter turnout, and I think we’re much more skeptical of the U.S. government because of the failures on those issues I just mentioned.

CGTN: How do you see the ongoing targeting of TikTok? How will the Congressional hearing of the TikTok CEO affect the view of its user base?

Walsh: The ongoing targeting of TikTok is very much xenophobic, and red-scare tactic. And just when I’ve logged on to TikTok in the past few days, I’ve seen lots of popular accounts, ones that are even apolitical, that are calling this hearing a witch hunt. They’re mocking U.S. Congress members, for not even understanding how the internet works. So it’s really putting into light how ridiculous this anti-China propaganda is. And I think that’ll make the entire user base which is hundreds of millions of people even more skeptical of the U.S. government’s narrative on TikTok and on China as a whole.

And of course the U.S. government literally mass spies on its own citizens. So we know this isn’t about privacy at all. And other U.S. social media companies, like Meta, engage in very harmful data sharing practices. So what we should be talking about is why the U.S. really is doing this and that’s because of the economic competition that China poses.

The sound of the new war drum goes Tik-Tok

In the following article, which originally appeared on the CODEPINK Medium blog, Wei Yu, Nuvpreet Kalra and Melissa Garriga of CODEPINK and its China is Not Our Enemy campaign, counter the hypocrisy of the United States’ campaign against TikTok, whose CEO Shou Zi Chew, was recently subjected to a five-hour grilling in a Congressional hearing that often bore more resemblance to a racist and anti-communist lynching than a dispassionate enquiry by professional politicians. Drawing a stark comparison, the authors note:

“Ten years ago, Edward Snowden told the whole world the truth about the US global surveillance programs. If Congress cares about our digital privacy, it should first begin by investigating the surveillance policies of its own US agencies. The campaign against TikTok is a fear-mongering tactic to wage war on China.”

They further detail how the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) use social media to spy on Black Lives Matter protestors and a range of others, including the Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities. ” Unlike China,” they note, “as well as other Western countries, such as the EU, the US does not have any digital privacy laws on the federal level…

“The ongoing effort to investigate and ban TikTok is not about our privacy, but about fuelling more aggression against China. Fearmongering about China has also caused the rise of anti-Asian racism in the US.”

Last Thursday, a Congressional hearing took place where the TikTok CEO was grilled for five hours on the grounds of “security concerns.” This was days after the FBI and DOJ launched an investigation on the Chinese-owned American company. Isn’t it ironic that while the US government is putting TikTok under the magnifying glass, it’s turning a blind eye to its own surveillance programs on the American people?

Ten years ago, Edward Snowden told the whole world the truth about the US global surveillance programs. If Congress cares about our digital privacy, it should first begin by investigating the surveillance policies of its own US agencies. The campaign against TikTok is a fear-mongering tactic to wage war on China.

In 2020, the FBI used social media to monitor racial justice protesters who were targeted for arrests. For example, activist Mike Avery was arrested after posting about protests on Facebook, and his charges were dropped without explanation a few weeks later. An FBI official was so frustrated with the extensive social media surveillance that he told the Intercept, “Man, I don’t even know what’s legal anymore.”

The dissonance between accusing TikTok of security concerns and working with other companies to invade people’s privacy rings loudly in our ears.

Social media has long been a tool used by federal agencies to target individuals and communities designated as “threat.” The Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement have monitored the social media activities of immigrant rights activists. The State Department used social media screening to discriminate against the Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities under the Trump administration’s “Muslim ban.”

Only last year that the post-9/11 NSA phone surveillance program was reported to have shut down. Major telecom companies like Verizon gave the government access to hundreds of millions of calls and texts. Dataminr, a startup Twitter partner, provided police with data about BLM protests. One focus on ‘potential gang members’ targeted Black and Latinx people, including school-aged children.

Meta’s subsidiary WhatsApp was reportedly used by the Saudi government to hack journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s phone. Meanwhile, Meta itself used a VPN to spy on users’ smartphones for market research in exchange for bribes. Yet WhatsApp is not banned on government devices.

If our lawmakers are concerned about protecting digital privacy, then Congress should start with investigating American federal agencies. Unlike China as well as other Western countries, such as the EU, the US does not have any digital privacy laws on the federal level. The US could cooperate with China to better ensure people’s privacy is protected, instead of driving fear to target one single social media platform.

The ongoing effort to investigate and ban TikTok is not about our privacy, but about fueling more aggression against China. Fear-mongering about China has also caused the rise of anti-Asian racism in the US. In banning TikTok, the US is projecting its invasive policies onto another government. Warmongers are using the issue to create paranoia and justify even more aggression towards China.

It is not a coincidence that these recent bans have come about shortly after a Chinese weather balloon was shot down over the US. Privacy concerns are being used to wage war on China. The US should focus on passing federal data privacy laws instead of targeting one app. Double standards and warmongering against China need to stop. China is not our enemy.

Tell Congress to stop using TikTok to drive fear and war towards China!

Bank rescue implies US insecurities about technological hegemony

We are pleased to publish this original article by Serena Sojic-Borne – a community organizer in New Orleans and member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization – about the economics and geopolitics of the banking crisis.

Serena locates the origins of this crisis in overproduction in the US technology sector, along with the risk-taking behavior inherent to venture capital. She further explores the link between the situation of the US technology sector and the escalating US-led New Cold War on China. In contrast to the chaos and declining innovation of the tech industry in the US, China is “successfully regulating larger firms and taking advantage of smaller start-ups to fuel technological growth for the socialist state”. The only response the US has is, contrary to all its free market rhetoric, to resort to protectionism. The article cites former chair of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence Jon Bateman recommending that Washington “institute controls in technology areas where China seems close to securing unique, strategically significant, and long-lasting advantages.” This provides important context to, for example, the attempts to ban TikTok.

Hence Cold War attacks on China are, to a significant degree, an expression of a capitalist system that’s running out of steam.

Less than one month before Silicon Valley Bank collapsed, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released “US Hegemony and its Perils,” a report outlining the strategies of US imperialism. Technological monopoly, important among them, now exposes its contradictions. The recent banking panic reflected just how much American capitalism threatens its own technological growth, and the lengths the US will go to salvage it.

SVB relied on the tech industry. During the height of the pandemic, tech boomed as it provided for work and education going remote. The bank’s main depositors came from this sector. As firms rushed to corner their share of the expanding market, SVB scrambled to make new deposits profitable. Lending money wasn’t easy, because the industry rolled in revenue faster than it could re-absorb it. So the bank invested in held-to-maturity securities, such as long-term bonds. The longest-term bonds yielded the best interest rates of the time, even though these rates are unprofitably low today.

The writing was on the wall when the tech industry reached a point of overproduction and reversal in 2021, months before the Fed’s aggressive interest rate hikes began. Big companies laid off workers and small ones closed down. SVB’s loans failed and its deposits started declining. Higher rates only lit the match, and burned up the value of bank’s low interest assets. Silvergate and Signature suffered similar fates because of their similar reliance on a tech-related expansion in cryptocurrency.

Some commentators say this is the story of an interest rate crunch, and blame SVB for failing to diversify its assets. Others recognize the difficulty of doing so when lending opportunities were scarce, and will still blame SVB for being too reliant on one economic sector.

Continue reading Bank rescue implies US insecurities about technological hegemony

Circuits of War: on Biden’s technological offensive against China

This article by Italian social theorist Marco d’Eramo, which originally appeared in Sidecar (a blog published by New Left Review), provides a detailed and insightful analysis of the “chip war” being waged by the US as part of its broader New Cold War on China. D’Eramo explains the profound importance of the semiconductor industry to the overall trajectory of modern technology, and describes the extent to which semiconductor supply chains are today dominated by the US. While China uses more than 70 percent of the world’s semiconductor products, it only produces 15 percent – and these are not of the latest generation of chip design.

The Biden administration has announced wide-ranging and unprecedented restrictions on the export of semiconductors, with a view to protecting its dominance of the industry at all costs. D’Eramo quotes Martin Wolf in the Financial Times saying that the chip war launched by the Biden administration is “far more threatening to Beijing than anything Donald Trump did. The aim is clearly to slow China’s economic development. That is an act of economic warfare… It will have huge geopolitical consequences.”

The author however observes that Biden’s chip war will not be plain sailing, as it relies on the cooperation both of major US technology companies – which earn handsome profits from exporting to China – but also the US’s allies abroad, including for example Germany, which “has grounded its economic – and therefore political – fortunes in its relationship with China, its principal commercial partner (with $264 billion worth of annual trade).” In this context, Chancellor Scholz’s recent trip to Beijing “seems like a major act of insubordination.”

Another factor, not directly addressed by the article, is the record of Chinese socialism in overcoming this sort of difficulty. For example, very few would have thought that China could develop its own nuclear deterrent, carrying out its first successful test of an atomic bomb in 1964, at a time when it was still a poor and backward country, blockaded by the US and without the support of the Soviet Union, with which it was engaged in a bitter ideological dispute. Even with the seemingly unbreachable gap between the US and China in terms of semiconductor technology, the likely effect of these new US restrictions will be to accelerate China’s own research and investment in the sector. A decade ago, China wasn’t the global leader in renewable energy technology; today it is. We shouldn’t be surprised if China is able to catch up with the US in the coming years.

A world war was declared on 7 October. No news station reported on it, even though we will all have to suffer its effects. That day, the Biden administration launched a technological offensive against China, placing stringent limits and extensive controls on the export not only of integrated circuits, but also their designs, the machines used to ‘write’ them on silicon and the tools these machines produce. Henceforth, if a Chinese factory requires any of these components to produce goods – like Apple’s mobile phones, or GM’s cars – other firms must request a special licence to export them.

Why has the US implemented these sanctions? And why are they so severe? Because, as Chris Miller writes in his recent book Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology (2022), ‘the semiconductor industry produces more transistors every day than there are cells in the human body’. Integrated circuits (‘chips’) are part of every product we consume – that is to say, everything China makes – from cars to phones, washing machines, toasters, televisions and microwaves. That’s why China uses more than 70% of the world’s semiconductor products, although contrary to common perception it only produces 15%. In fact, this latter figure is misleading, as China doesn’t produce any of the latest chips, those used in artificial intelligence or advanced weapons systems.

Continue reading Circuits of War: on Biden’s technological offensive against China

Why Biden is unleashing a full scale chip war against China

The following article, by Marc Vandepitte and Jan Jonckheere, was originally published in Dutch on De Wereld Morgen. It explains the crucial significance of semiconductor chips to advances in modern technology, and goes on to describe the “chip war” currently being waged by the US government against China. The authors note that this is not the first time the US has attempted to suppress another country’s technological development, but they express significant doubt about the chances of success in this case. “In the past, the US has often succeeded in bringing countries to order and keeping them in line. However, whether it will succeed with China is highly questionable.”

Keith Lamb’s article Blocking China’s semiconductor industry is an attempt to impede the construction of socialism provides useful supplementary reading.

Recently, the US has identified China as its main enemy and is trying to thwart its economic and technological rise. Chips play a key role in this as they are the backbone of economic and military performance in the digital age. Whether the U.S. will succeed in its endeavour is highly questionable.

The key to the future

Technology is the key to the future. It is the basis for military might on the one hand, and economic productivity and a competitive position in the world market on the other.

Until recently, the US had an unassailable, dominant position on both fronts. The White House wants to maintain that hegemony at all costs, but the rise of China threatens to put an end to that.

According to US Presidential Security Adviser Sullivan, “we are facing a competitor that is determined to overtake US technological leadership and willing to devote nearly limitless resources to that goal”.

That is why the US has identified the People’s Republic of China as its main enemy and is trying to thwart the economic and technological ascent of this Asian giant.

Chip War

Semiconductors and chips[1] are particularly targeted. This makes sense, because in the future geopolitical supremacy may increasingly depend on computer chips. Chips are integrated circuits that are pretty much the nervous system of electronic devices.

Until last century, military strength was based on firearms, warships, fighter jets or (nuclear) missiles. In the digital age, chips are the backbone of economic as well as military performance.

According to James Mulvenon, an expert on Chinese cybersecurity, “the Pentagon has decided that semiconductors is the hill that they are willing to die on. The sector of semiconductors is the last industry in which the US is leading, and it is the one on which everything else is built”.

In early October 2022, the White House put its money where its mouth is. The Biden administration introduced sweeping export controls that will severely hamper Chinese companies’ attempts to obtain or manufacture advanced computer chips.

Under Trump, US companies were no longer allowed to sell chips to Huawei. Biden has now extended those trade restrictions to more than 40 Chinese companies, including several chip makers. The new measure effectively prohibits any US or non-US company from supplying those Chinese companies with hardware or software whose supply chain includes US technology.

The export restrictions not only target military applications but seek to block the development of China’s technological power by all means available. The strategy is to cut China off from the rest of the world in chip supply chains in order to deny it the opportunity to indigenise its semiconductor industry.

Paul Triolo, China and technology expert describes the new measure as a “major watershed” in US-China relations. “The US has essentially declared war on China’s ability to advance the country’s use of high-performance computing for economic and security gains.”

Conversely, the US is doing all it can to further increase its technological lead. For example, the White House’s National Science and Technology Council has just published a 47-page ‘National Strategy for Advanced Manufacturing’ that includes 11 strategic goals to increase US competitiveness in chips.

Geopolitics aside, the chip industry is also big business. The market capitalization of the largest listed chip firms now exceeds $4,000 billion. China spends more on computer chip imports than on oil.

Quest for allies

Although Biden claims to be eager to work with allies, this chip war is only initiated by the US. Experts admit that if other countries continue to supply China, the restrictions will have little effect. The only consequence then is that US chip companies will miss out on the large Chinese market.

In the past, the US already pressured other countries and regions to stop supplying high-tech products to China. In the case of chips, this mainly involves South Korea, Japan, the Netherlands and the de facto autonomous Chinese province of Taiwan. With the new measure, foreign companies working with US technology are now supposed to act following US restrictions. They must seek US permission on a case-by-case basis.

Of course, foreign countries are not eager to comply with that, because China is a very important if not the most important customer. Samsung, for example, is the world’s largest builder of memory chips. Partly as a result of the new measure, this South Korean company expects 32 percent less revenue. It remains to be seen whether and to what extent these countries will seek and find possible loopholes.

Washington especially wants to bring Taiwan along in its isolation strategy. Taiwan accounts for 92 percent of the world’s high-value chips. For China, imports from Taiwan are economically and technologically vital

It is in the context of this chip war that the provocative visit by Pelosi and other US politicians to the separatist leadership of Taiwan must be viewed. Mid-September, the US Senate approved a bill providing $6.5 billion in direct military aid to the island. Washington is putting pressure on China on several fronts.

Chances of success?

Chips are the main engine of electronics. China itself manufactures about 12 percent of global production. That is by no means enough for its own use. Only one-sixth of what it needs in chips is produced domestically. Moreover, for the time being, it is still unable to produce the most advanced chips.

In other words, in terms of chips, the country is highly dependent on imports. Annually they account for about $400 billion. If that supply were compromised, it would not only mean a very large economic loss, but it would also seriously undermine technological progress. In this sense, chips are considered the Achilles heel of Chinese industry.

To overcome that dependency and catch up with the technological backlog, China is investing more than any other country in this strategic industry. The country has already made serious progress in a number of areas. For example, it has successfully produced a 7 nanometre chip.[2] This puts it only one or two ‘generations’ behind industry leaders in Taiwan and South Korea.  

But with these breakthroughs, it will remain dependent on imports of parts from other countries for the time being.[3] It doesn’t have to stay that way. Analysys Mason, a leading consulting firm, says in a recent report that China could be self-sufficient in chips within three to four years.

In any case, the US restrictive strategy will motivate the Chinese government to allocate even more resources and make breakthroughs. Asia Times gives the example of the 2015 blocking of the supply of Intel’s high-end Xeon Phi processors to Chinese supercomputer makers. A year later, Chinese researchers developed those processors themselves.

In the past, the US has often succeeded in bringing countries to order and keeping them in line. However, whether it will succeed with China is highly questionable. By the end of this decade, we will know whether the US attempt to wreck China’s chip industry has succeeded or failed.


[1] Semiconductors are electronic components based on semiconductor material. A diode and a transistor are examples of semiconductors. In a sense you can think of semiconductors as the building blocks of chips. Chips are integrated circuits, small in size. They are part of a computer or other electronic devices. In the mainstream media, there is usually no distinction between semiconductors and chips.

[2] The company in question, SMCI, is reportedly now working on even more advanced 5 nanometer chips.

[3] For example, China cannot make advanced semiconductor devices without EUV lithography equipment from ASML (Netherlands) and electronic design automation (EDA) tools from Synopsis and Cadence (US) or Siemens (Germany).

US media hide military threats against China

This insightful article by Sara Flounders, originally published in Workers World, exposes the incredible hypocrisy shown by the ‘free’ media – giving non-stop coverage to China’s allegedly aggressive response to Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit whilst studiously ignoring the RIMPAC maneuvers being carried out at the same time by the US naval command.

Sara notes that the US maintains a constant military presence in the region, and connects this back to the imperialist domination of China, starting with the First Opium War nearly 200 years ago. Just as the Opium Wars were fought to impose British imperial hegemony, so is the current escalation in the Pacific region being carried out in order to impose US imperial hegemony. The difference being that, following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the CPC-led government has been able to “rebuild a strong, united China which is increasingly able to defend its coastal waters and resist US imperialist demands.”

The author points out that the US is conducting a “desperate imperialist strategy to reverse its declining global position”, and is wreaking havoc in the process. Progressive and pro-peace forces worldwide must join hands against this menace.

Consider what is being said, as well as what is totally omitted, in the U.S. coverage of China’s naval action around Taiwan.  

The U.S. naval command RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific Amphibious Assault Training) was carrying out maneuvers involving 170 aircraft, 38 ships, four submarines, and 25,000 military personnel from all the G7 imperialist countries. Some 19 other Asia Pacific countries were pulled in for symbolic participation. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise.

This aggressive maritime action took place from June 29 to Aug. 4. In other words, it was going on as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was visiting Taiwan.

The shaping of information is all pervasive. Whether it is FOX News, CNN, AP, the New York Times or the Washington Post, the multibillion-dollar media are part of and totally intertwined with U.S. military industries. They collaborate in hiding U.S. war plans and provocations. 

The role of the corporate media in totally distorting the news on China must be challenged.

Continue reading US media hide military threats against China

China: COVID, computer chips, airliners, and US imperialism

This interesting article by Chris Fry, writing in Fighting Words, analyzes the escalating tech war initiated by the Trump administration and being carried forward under Biden. Desperate to slow down China’s economic and technological rise, the US is spreading all manner of lies in order to impose sanctions on China.

In dealing with China, the primary goal of each successive administration is to successfully maintain U.S. hegemony, to assert the power of the U.S. ruling class to profit from exploiting Chinese workers as well as the rest of the global working class and oppressed nations without restrictions.

These sanctions will inevitably fail to prevent China’s development, but in the meantime are already impacting the livelihood of the working class in the West. As Mao Zedong famously remarked in 1957: “‘Lifting a rock only to drop it on one’s own feet’ is a Chinese folk saying to describe the behavior of certain fools. The reactionaries in all countries are fools of this kind.”

The leadership of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) likes to describe its social and economic structure as “Socialism with Chinese characteristics.” But we can describe the U.S. system, driven by its insatiable greed for profits and global hegemony, as “Imperialism with imperialist characteristics”.

A July 5th Bloomberg article revealed that the Biden administration is pressuring the Netherlands to force Dutch companies to stop selling computer chip manufacturing equipment to China:

The US is pushing the Netherlands to ban ASML Holding NV from selling to China mainstream technology essential in making a large chunk of the world’s chips, expanding its campaign to curb the country’s rise, according to people familiar with the matter.

A computer chip ploy for a vast subsidy for Big Tech

Since the 1970s, U.S. Big Business has closed thousands of plants and factories across the country, while finance capital has invested trillions in overseas facilities to exploit low wage workers. Currently, the predominant manufacturer of the leading edge 5nm computer chip is the Taiwan based TSMC Corporation in Taiwan.

Senator Sanders stated in a July 14th  editorial for the Guardian describing a current piece of chip-industry pushed legislation for $52 billion in subsidies to build a TSMC chip facility in the U.S.:

Let’s review some recent history. Over the last 20 years, the microchip industry has shut down more than 780 manufacturing plants in the United States and eliminated 150,000 American jobs while moving most of its production overseas – after receiving over $9.5bn in government subsidies and loans.

In other words, in order to make more profits, these companies took government money and used it to ship good-paying jobs abroad. Now, as a reward for that bad behavior, these same companies are in line to receive a giant taxpayer handout to undo the damage that they did.

Continue reading China: COVID, computer chips, airliners, and US imperialism

Pelosi’s one-night stand in Taipei accomplished her goals

In this short article, originally published on his Edu/Pol Newsletter, veteran US progressive activist Mike Klonsky draws a connection between Pelosi’s Taiwan visit and the shady dealings of her venture capitalist husband, currently under investigation for an insider trading scandal involving semiconductors made on the island.

If Nancy Pelosi’s aim was to destabilize the region and pull the rug out from under Biden’s upcoming meeting with Xi, her stopover in Taiwan was a resounding success. Her visit to Taiwan could also have a large impact on the semiconductor business, which has a heavy presence in China and Taiwan.

China now says it is canceling or suspending all dialogue with the U.S. on issues from climate change to military relations and anti-drug efforts in retaliation.

AP reports this morning

China is canceling all communication between its area commanders and defense department, along with talks on military maritime safety. Cooperation on returning illegal immigrants, criminal investigations, transnational crime, illegal drugs, and climate change will also be suspended.

China also announced unspecified sanctions on Pelosi and her venture-capitalist husband, Paul, who is currently under investigation for an insider-trading scandal involving semiconductors, made in Taiwan.

Can’t say they weren’t warned.

Early in July, it was disclosed that Paul Pelosi had exercised call options for as much as $5 million worth of Nvidia stock ahead of deliberations in Congress about a bill that would boost the U.S. semiconductor industry.

It wasn’t the first time Paul Pelosi had invested in a semiconductor company as momentum built behind congressional funding for the industry, which produces computer chips needed for a broad range of technology.

On her brief stopover in Taipei, Pelosi met with Mark Liu, Chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor, a company with a market capitalization of more than $430 billion. The recently passed CHIPS Act provides funding to the semiconductor sector and encourages the building of foundries in the U.S., something that was likely discussed between Pelosi and Liu.

Pelosi, who has said the CHIPS Act could create an opportunity for U.S. cooperation with Taiwan, recently came under scrutiny for her husband exercising call options of NVIDIA Corp. The Pelosis eventually sold their shares in NVIDIA.

Taiwan Semiconductor is building a $12-billion plant in Arizona.

Get it?

In July, Pelosi claimed that her husband has “absolutely not” made any stock trades based on information from her.

Paul Pelosi was also busted recently for causing a crash while driving his Porsche while drunk.

DSA open letter opposing the US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA)

We are pleased to reproduce and invite support for this Open Letter to US Congressional Representatives, initiated by the International Committee, and its Asia & Oceania and Anti-War Subcommittees of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), expressing opposition to the US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which they describe as a move “to counter China as part of a New Cold War fuelled by US imperialist interests, which further destabilizes geopolitical relations and jeopardizes efforts toward greater global cooperation on issues affecting everyone worldwide.” The statement decries further militarisation of the Pacific region along with the increased anti-Asian racism and violence in the US and declares:

We believe that US industrial policy should not be built upon imperialist ambitions that serve only to drag the world into a new Cold War. We believe that working people in the US and elsewhere deserve policies that invest in public works programs, climate resilience, infrastructure, healthcare, and more.

The undersigned chapters and members of the Democratic Socialists of America and other allied organizations and individuals strongly condemn Congress’s use of industrial policy and other elements of the proposed US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) to counter China as part of a new Cold War fueled by US imperialist interests, which further destabilizes geopolitical relations and jeopardizes efforts toward greater global cooperation on issues affecting everyone worldwide.

We call on members of Congress to oppose this aggressive escalation and push back on the narratives that have fueled rising anti-Chinese sentiment in the US, marked by increased anti-Asian racism and violence. We oppose the USICA and other legislation that calls for increased military budgets, further militarization of the Indo-Pacific region, and fosters anti-Chinese propaganda efforts, all based on nothing more than perceived threats to US geopolitical interests. Elected members of the US Congress have the duty to prioritize the needs and concerns of their working class constituents instead of those of arms manufacturers and defense contractors who have fueled decades of endless war at the expense of genuine global cooperation and common prosperity for working class people everywhere.

We believe that US industrial policy should not be built upon imperialist ambitions that serve only to drag the world into a new Cold War. We believe that working people in the US and elsewhere deserve policies that invest in public works programs, climate resilience, infrastructure, healthcare, and more. The US Innovation and Competition Act is not created for those purposes, instead it is overwhelmingly focused on preserving US global hegemony by fabricating narratives aimed at painting China as a threat and riling up global conflict in an effort to undermine an increasingly multipolar world. If enacted, the bill would ramp up interference in the sovereignty of nations throughout the world, establish an anti-Chinese federal bureaucracy, intensify the militarization of US global policies, and continue the legacy of US industrial policy being weaponized against socialist movements globally. This legislation will promote confrontation and conflict with China, escalate the potential for military conflict between nuclear powers, and hinder global cooperation needed to address critical issues like climate change.

For these reasons, we strongly condemn the USICA and urge members of Congress to oppose the bill and call for an end to US policies that threaten hundreds of millions of people in the Indo-Pacific region and could spiral into worldwide conflict.

Keith Lamb: Blocking China’s semiconductor industry is an attempt to impede the construction of socialism

We republish below an important piece of analysis by Keith Lamb, originally published in CGTN on 23 November 2021, seeking to understand the US’s motivations in imposing restrictions on China’s semiconductor industry. The author concludes that semiconductor technology is crucial for China’s goal of building a modern socialist country by 2049, and that the US and its allies are determined to impede – or ideally prevent – any further economic breakthroughs for socialist China.

Since 2015, the U.S. has introduced technological restrictions preventing China from both competing openly in consumer markets and acquiring technology. Restrictions have focused on the semiconductor industry and correlated sectors. For example, the Chinese chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC) was blacklisted in December 2020, and, just before this, U.S. and non-U.S. chipmakers who use U.S. semiconductor technology, were forced to comply with U.S. sanctions meaning they could no longer take orders from companies like Huawei.

The U.S. has justified its actions by citing China’s civil-military integration where semiconductors can be used in advanced weaponry. However, even if true, considering the U.S. military and the microchip industry grew in tandem, this crossover wouldn’t be extraordinary. At any rate, it isn’t China’s military that surrounds the U.S., and nor does China seek to confront the U.S. which sits securely protected by two oceans and two compliant neighbors.

Continue reading Keith Lamb: Blocking China’s semiconductor industry is an attempt to impede the construction of socialism

Justin Yifu Lin: China must lead the new industrial revolution

Justin Yifu Lin is one of China’s most distinguished economists and a former Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the World Bank.  We are very pleased to republish here from Asia Times his important article on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Lin points out that new industries will predominate in China by the time of the People’s Republic’s centenary in 2049. He notes how historically the United States has taken measures to prevent any rising power from being able to challenge its hegemony. China therefore needs to break through the US blockade and to do so it must lead the new industrial revolution. China not only has the material conditions to do this, he argues, but also a number of comparative advantages over the US. 

As a national mandate, the 19th National People’s Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2017 announced its “Two Centennial Goals”: the first is to complete building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way in China, which is to be achieved at the 100th anniversary of the CPC in 2021, and the second is to build the People’s Republic of China into a modern socialist power by 2049, the  100th anniversary of its founding.

There are a number of characteristics of a modern country. One is that China’s GDP per capita should reach at least half of that of the United States, the other most powerful country. 

Continue reading Justin Yifu Lin: China must lead the new industrial revolution