China accused the U.S. of stealing its technological autonomy in a press conference on Monday, Reuters reported. Spokesperson Mao Ning claimed that by imposing various TikTok bans, “the U.S. is trying to deprive it of developmental rights and perpetuate its own hegemony,” the outlet wrote.
Ning has spoken out against the U.S. following TikTok bans and crackdowns on technology produced within China, even as the country carries a “stunning lead” in the technology sector.
In a press conference held on Friday, Ning told reporters that China continues to hold the top spot for “global technological advancement.” Ning said, “Politicizing scientific and technological issues, using them as weapons for ideological confrontation and patching up coteries harm the interests of the whole world.”
A report published last week by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute found that Chinese researchers are ahead of the U.S. in 37 out of the 44 technologies it examined including defense, space, robotics, energy, environment, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, advanced materials, and quantum technology.
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“In the long term, China’s leading research position means that it has set itself up to excel not just in current technological development in almost all sectors, but in future technologies that don’t yet exist,” the ASPI concluded.
However, the Chinese government believes the U.S. is unilaterally imposing restrictions on its technology by “false pretexts through unfair means,” Ning said in a press conference last week. The arguments come as two U.S. Senators drafted a new bill that that’d allow the government to “ban or prohibit” foreign technology products like Chinese-owned TikTok.
The chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrat Mark Warner expressed concern that based on the video content users see on the platform, TikTok “can be a propaganda tool,” adding that it is imperative to secure Americans’ data if the situation calls for it. Speaking on the bill, Warner said, “... in terms of foreign technology coming into America, we’ve got to have a systematic approach to make sure we can ban or prohibit it when necessary.” He told Reuters he plans to introduce the legislation this week with Republican Senator John Thune.
This new legislation comes just days after a House Committee advanced a bill to give President Joe Biden the authority to ban TikTok over concerns that the Chinese Communist Party is gaining access to American users’ data through the app.
In the wake of the U.S. government’s recent restrictions on China-based technology, the country has become an outlier, not just in the U.S., but abroad as well including Canada, India, and England. Ning accused the U.S. of “ideological bias,” and “suppressing Chinese companies under false pretexts,” in the press conference, and said it hasn’t “respect[ed] basic facts.”
Ning added that the U.S. should “provide Chinese companies with open, just, and non-discriminatory treatment,” adding, “China will continue to firmly defend the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of our companies and support them in defending their rights and interests.”