Summary of “Why Can’t China Make Semiconductors?”

Jack Ma says he’s ready for China to make semiconductors at home.
Semiconductors are the building blocks of electronics, found in everything from flip phones to the servers that make up a supercomputer.
Although China long ago mastered the art of making products with semiconductors produced elsewhere, it wants to move beyond being a mere assembler.
China is currently the world’s biggest chip market, but it manufactures only 16 percent of the semiconductors it uses domestically.
When the country reopened for business in the 1970s, officials quickly realized that semiconductors would be a key part of any future market-based economy.
Expensive efforts to build a domestic industry from scratch in the 1990s faltered due to bureaucracy, delays and a lack of customers for the kind of chips China was making.
By one accounting, China has made $34 billion in bids for U.S. semiconductor companies alone since 2015, yet completed only $4.4 billion in deals globally in that span.
Companies such as Shanghai-based Spreadtrum Communications Inc. are designing semiconductors for mobile phones and other technologies, then outsourcing production to foreign plants.

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Summary of “White House Considers Restricting Chinese Researchers Over Espionage Fears”

The administration is expected to detail new plans for restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States by the end of May. Congress is also considering giving the United States broader authority to restrict Chinese investments.
The Committee of 100, a group of prominent Chinese-Americans, has denounced government assertions that Chinese professors, scientists and students in the United States may be gathering intelligence for the Chinese government as “Disturbing and prejudicial” and warned that it has overtones of anti-Japanese sentiment that was rampant during World War II.”To target a whole group of people as being subject to greater suspicion, based purely on race and national origin, and in advance of any facts or evidence, goes against the fundamental American ideals of the presumption of innocence, due process and equal protection for all. It also fans the flames of hysteria,” the group said in a statement.
Administration officials have been debating restricting visas offered to Chinese nationals for months as part of the broad package of measures targeting China economically.
If the proposal is approved by the Commerce Department, and ultimately by Mr. Trump, American companies and universities would be required to obtain special licenses for Chinese nationals who have any contact whatsoever with a much wider range of goods – making it harder for Chinese citizens to work on a range of scientific research and product development programs.
The academic community is likely to push back on the administration’s efforts over concerns that tighter controls on Chinese nationals could hurt American universities’ ability to collaborate on cutting-edge research and wind up benefiting China even more.
If the United States makes it harder for aerospace manufacturers, defense contractors and others to employ Chinese nationals, more of these recently trained Chinese graduate students may return to China, taking their skills with them.
Stephen A. Orlins, the president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, said that restricting Chinese researchers would be “Tragic” for American universities.
Even Mr. Smith said he did not support tougher restrictions on Chinese researchers.

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Summary of “Prom Dress That Caused a Furor in U.S. Draws Head-Scratching in China”

Far from being critical of Ms. Daum, who is not Chinese, many people in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan proclaimed her choice of the traditional high-necked dress as a victory for Chinese culture.
“From the perspective of a Chinese person, if a foreign woman wears a qipao and thinks she looks pretty, then why shouldn’t she wear it?”.
The uproar surrounding Ms. Daum’s dress prompted many Chinese to reflect on examples of cultural appropriation in their own country.
Others were quick to point out that the qipao, as it is known in China, was introduced by the Manchus, an ethnic minority group from China’s northeast – implying that the garment was itself appropriated by the majority Han Chinese.
In its original form, the dress was worn in a baggy style, mostly by upper-class women during the Qing dynasty, which ruled China for more than 250 years, until 1912.
“To Chinese, it’s not sacred and it’s not that meaningful,” said Hung Huang, a Beijing-based writer and fashion blogger, in an interview.
The uproar surrounding the prom dress highlights America’s growing – and increasingly complex – conversation about race.
After the release of the movie trailer, another diversity issue arose: Several prominent Asian-Americans criticized the filmmakers for casting Matt Damon in the lead role, as one of the leaders of a Chinese army, likening the decision to “Whitewashing.”

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Summary of “China’s Tech Industry Wants Youth, Not Experience”

Almost immediately, readers seized on his age: At 42, he would have already been considered too old to be an engineer in China, where three-quarters of tech workers are younger than 30, according to China’s largest jobs website, Zhaopin.com.
The idealization of youth is in the DNA of the American tech industry.
In China the discrimination begins even younger than in the U.S. The irony is that most of the country’s famous tech companies were started by men older than 30.
China has used tech advancements to propel its economy forward for decades, but President Xi Jinping’s Made in China 2025 plan kicked activity into a higher gear.
In a country of 1.4 billion people, many Chinese tech companies are able to move faster than their overseas rivals by throwing people at a problem, and younger workers cost less than their more experienced colleagues.
A recent job posting for a front-end developer at a Beijing tech startup explained that the company is willing to relax its requirements for educational attainment but not for age; a college degree isn’t strictly necessary, but if you’re older than 30, don’t bother applying.
“Working in tech is like being a professional athlete,” says Robin Chan, an entrepreneur and angel investor in companies such as Xiaomi and Twitter Inc. “You work extremely hard from 20 to 40 years old and hope you hit it big. After that, it’s time to move on to something else and let someone younger try their hand.”
He, the tech recruiter, remains hopeful that age discrimination will eventually disappear in China.

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Summary of “China’s children are its secret weapon in the global AI arms race”

As a recent Oxford University report confirmed, despite China’s many technological advances, in this new cyberspace race, the West had the lead.Xi knew he had to act.
In 2013 the city’s teenagers gained global renown when they topped the charts in the PISA tests administered every three years by the OECD to see which country’s kids are the smartest in the world.
In his book Why Don’t Kids Like School? cognitive Dan Willingham explains that complex mental skills like creativity and critical thinking depend on our first having mastered the simple stuff.
“We don’t have any resources,” former education minister Ju-Ho Lee told me, “Just our minds and hard work.” He wasn’t kidding about the hard work.
A decade ago, we consoled ourselves that although kids in China and Korea worked harder and did better on tests than ours, it didn’t matter.
Troublingly, where education in the UK and US has been defined by creativity and independent thinking – Shanghai teachers told me of visits to our schools to learn about these qualities – our direction of travel is now away from those strengths and towards exams and standardisation, with school-readiness tests in the pipeline and UK schools minister Nick Gibb suggesting kids can beat exam stress by sitting more of them.
Centres of excellence remain, but increasingly, it feels, we’re putting our children at risk of losing out to the robots, while China is building on its strong foundations to ask how its young people can be high-tech pioneers.
In the AI long game, China may have the lead.Alex Beard is a former teacher and author of Natural Born Learners, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

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Summary of “China’s Carmakers Want to Dominate World’s Next Era of Driving”

On a bright spring day in Amsterdam, car buffs stepped inside a blacked-out warehouse to nibble on lamb skewers and sip rhubarb cocktails courtesy of Lynk & Co., which was showing off its new hybrid SUV. What seemed like just another launch of a new vehicle was actually something more: the coming-out party for China’s globally ambitious auto industry.
Li is spearheading China’s aspirations to wedge itself among the big three of the global car industry-the U.S., Germany and Japan-so they become the Big Four.
He’s not alone: At least four Chinese carmakers and three Chinese-owned startups-SF Motors Inc., NIO and Byton-plan to sell cars in the U.S. starting next year.
Carmakers may get better visibility of their futures, and those Chinese companies that fear losing sales at home may sense a greater impetus to go abroad. “They are in a better position now than they ever have been,” Anna-Marie Baisden, head of autos research in London with BMI Research, said of Chinese carmakers.
The creeping global influence of China’s industry isn’t limited to getting their wheels on U.S. and European roads.
“China does intend to lead and dominate the electric-vehicle industry.”
China’s knack for speedy adaptation has put the country in a position to lead the auto industry in new technologies, Toyota Motor Corp.’s China Chief Executive Officer Kazuhiro Kobayashi said.
“Developing new-energy vehicles is the only way for China to move from a big automobile country to a powerful automobile hub,” he said when visiting SAIC Motor Corp., a Shanghai government-owned company that partners with GM and Volkswagen in China.

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Summary of “Five ways China’s past has shaped its present”

The author of one of the most important works chronicling China’s past, in the 1st Century BC, he dared to defend a general who had lost a battle.
He left behind a legacy which has shaped the writing of history in China to this day.
Modern China is much more tolerant of religious practice than in the days of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution – within limits – but past experience makes it cautious about faith-driven movements which could potentially spiral out of control and pose a challenge to the government.
The Taiping rebellion promised to bring a kingdom of heavenly peace to China but actually led to one of the bloodiest civil wars in history, killing as many as 20 million people, according to some accounts.
In 1900, peasant rebels calling themselves Boxers would appear in north China, calling for death to Christian missionaries and converts, the latter being characterised as traitors to China.
Today, on Nanjing Road in that city, you can still see China’s new working and middle class enjoying a wide range of consumer goods as part of China’s contemporary tech-driven economy.
One thing is almost certain – a century from now, China will still be a place of fascination for those who live there and those who live with it, and its rich history will continue to inform its present and future direction.
Prof Rana Mitter is professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford, and is director of the University China Centre.

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Summary of “Why China Is Confident It Can Beat Trump in a Trade War”

“The American agricultural sector is quite influential in the Congress,” said Wang Yong, a professor of economics at Peking University, explaining why China has targeted farm products such as soybeans with possible retaliatory tariffs.
Hours after China’s announcement on Wednesday, administration officials sought to calm fears that a trade war was imminent, suggesting that they might not pull the trigger on a plan to impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods.
Mr. Trump said he would consider levying an additional $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods in response to its “Unfair retaliation.” In a statement, he said, “Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers.”
In addition to soybeans, China threatened to retaliate with tariffs on American cars, chemicals and other products.
Globally, China’s strategy has been to isolate the United States, splitting it from allies in Europe and Asia who otherwise share American concerns about heavy-handed Chinese trade policies intended to protect key markets and to acquire technology from foreign firms.
Mr. Kroeber said a united front against China would be more effective than American tariffs alone, but so far Mr. Trump has not managed to build one.
Instead, Mr. Xi has largely succeeded in occupying the high moral ground on the world stage, projecting China as the sober-minded steward of international agreements on issues – from global trade to climate change – that Mr. Trump has been eager to walk away from.
In December, the state news media also highlighted the new National Security Strategy unveiled by the Trump administration, which declared that China “Sought to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, expand the reaches of its state-driven economic model, and reorder the region in its favor.”

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Summary of “Life Inside China’s Social Credit Laboratory – Foreign Policy”

In what it calls an attempt to promote “Trustworthiness” in its economy and society, China is experimenting with a social credit system that mixes familiar Western-style credit scores with more expansive – and intrusive – measures.
“The social credit system is just really adding technology and adding a formality to the way the party already operates,” says Samantha Hoffman, a consultant at the International Institute for Strategic Studies who researches Chinese social management.
The Peking University credit center started in the early 2000s with social credit projects for tourism agencies, the Ministry of Commerce, and academic researchers.
The public blacklist has been incorporated by another incarnation of the social credit system – Zhima Credit, a service of the mobile payment provider Alipay.
Zhima Credit is an optional service embedded in Alipay that calculates users’ personal credit based on data such as spending history, friends on Alipay’s social network, and other types of consumer behavior.
She says the app doesn’t monitor social media posts “Nor does it attempt to measure qualitative characteristics like character, honesty, or moral value.” Zhima Credit is not a pilot for the social credit system and doesn’t share data with the government without users’ consent, she says.
The company is blending into the invisible web of China’s upcoming social credit system.
“To me, that’s what makes it Orwellian,” says Hoffman of IISS. The social credit system provides incentives for people to not want to be on a blacklist.

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Summary of “The Disappeared – Foreign Policy”

Powerful businessmen, ex-Chinese Communist Party officials, dissidents, and activists have all been targeted as part of what Western intelligence officials say appears to be a large-scale campaign.
Reached by phone in Australia, he confirms his account of Lan Meng’s rendition, citing numerous conversations about such abductions with Chinese military, intelligence, and diplomatic officials during his tenure at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The number of suspected kidnappings in that country is approaching double digits and includes multiple cases where individuals were beaten or drugged and then dragged onto a boat destined for China, according to former senior U.S. intelligence officials.
The former Canadian official describes Chinese operatives using a “Carrot and stick” approach: Individuals were promised leniency if they agreed to cooperate and return to China, while those who resisted were subjected to escalating threats.
China has formal legal channels to retrieve “Economic fugitives.” According to a former senior U.S. law enforcement official, Chinese officials about three years ago gave their American counterparts a list of U.S.-based individuals they wanted deported to China.
The cases set off what one former intelligence official calls a “Heated” debate among senior U.S. counterintelligence officials about half a decade ago, going all the way up to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.
There is greater consensus among U.S. intelligence officials that China has engaged in these extreme pressure campaigns, which include outright threats to individuals or their families, in order to compel U.S.-based Chinese nationals to return.
According to three former officials, the intelligence community is looking at whether Lee’s disclosures led to the arrest, and possible execution, of a U.S. intelligence asset who voluntarily returned to China from the San Francisco area.

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