China Could Dominate Tech 10/22 08:09
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. officials are issuing new warnings about China's
ambitions in artificial intelligence and a range of advanced technologies that
could eventually give Beijing a decisive military edge and possible dominance
over health care and other essential sectors in America.
The warnings include a renewed effort to inform business executives,
academics and local and state government officials about the risks of accepting
Chinese investment or expertise in key industries, officials at the National
Counterintelligence and Security Center said Thursday. While the center does
not intend to tell officials to reject Chinese investment, it will encourage
efforts to control intellectual property and implement security measures.
ational security agencies under President Joe Biden's administration are
making an aggressive public push against China, which some officials have
called the greatest strategic threat to the United States. The Biden
administration has simultaneously tried to ease some tensions with Beijing
dating to the Trump administration and seek common ground on trade and climate
Beijing has repeatedly accused Washington of fear-mongering about its
intentions and attacked U.S. intelligence for its assessments of China,
including allegations that Chinese leaders have withheld critical information
about the coronavirus pandemic.
Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has stated its goals to
create profitable technologies in robotics and other fields in plans known as
"Made in China 2025." The Justice Department in recent years has returned
several indictments alleging theft of sensitive U.S. information on behalf of
China, including vaccine research and autonomous vehicle technology.
The counterintelligence center's acting director, Michael Orlando, told
reporters in a rare briefing Thursday that the U.S. "can't afford to lose"
ground to China in several key areas: artificial intelligence, autonomous
systems, quantum computing, semiconductors and biotechnology.
Orlando noted that Chinese businesses and academics are beholden to the
Chinese Communist Party and are required to serve the party's interests.
"Although we've been saying this for year after year, people are not
digesting this," he said.
Orlando declined to say whether the U.S. should enact tougher restrictions
or outright bans on Chinese investment in certain sectors, saying his role was
not to suggest policy.
But the counterintelligence center holds regular briefings with private
industry and academia while recognizing that industries and universities may
still want to seek students, experts and investors from China, Orlando said. He
would not name companies with which the center has met.
The center's officer for emerging and disruptive technologies, Edward You,
noted the investment of Chinese companies in U.S. and European biotechnology
WuXi Biologics, headquartered in Hong Kong, has since 2019 built a vaccine
manufacturing facility in Ireland, announced plans for a production facility in
Massachusetts and acquired a Bayer plant in Germany. Officials on Thursday did
not disclose any information linking those acquisitions to Beijing's influence
but said they were part of a broader pattern by Chinese medical companies.
Chinese companies have also offered COVID-19 testing kits and genetic
testing in the U.S., meeting federal privacy standards and other regulations,
You said. But the data collected by companies with ties to China could
ultimately end up in the hands of Beijing, You said.
China already has the greatest access to medical data of any country, You
said. With its data collection and its advancements in technology, Beijing
could one day be dominant in health care and leave the U.S. wholly dependent on
China, he said.
"If you're President Xi," he said, "that's the gift that keeps on giving."