USCC Eyes China’s Tech Rise with Concern

On Thursday January 28, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) held a hearing entitled “U.S.-China Relations at the Chinese Communist Party’s Centennial.” In the first public hearing during Joe Biden’s administration, the council held three different panels to address the ways in which the US-China dynamic will evolve as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) enters its 100th year. In their opening remarks, co-chairs Carolyn Bartholomew and Roy Kamphausen emphasized the need for American decision makers to “successfully address the generational challenge that China poses.”

In relation to technology and China’s vision, all witnesses made a clear statement: technology is central to the CCP vision and the technological arms race with the US will not slow without serious US policy to counter China’s actions. In the final panel, Daniel Rosen, Founding Partner of Rhodium Group, expressed that the technological “priorities presented at China’s Central Economic Work Conference in December are informative: 1) improve national strength in strategic technologies; 2) strengthen control over supply chains; and 3) expand domestic demand.”

The analysis of these priorities was supported throughout the hearing when Mary Lovely, Professor of Economics at Syracuse University, explained that the CCP has elevated innovation to “the core of China’s modernization” and has given the highest priority in the plenum communiqué, the first time in CCP history. Further, Yuen Yuen Ang, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, suggested that after being “strangled” by U.S. sanctions, Chinese leaders in 2020 became singularly fixated on developing “core technologies” to achieve their domestic and international goals.

Finally, in their recommendations, all witnesses stood firmly behind the notion that, in the US, there must be bipartisan support and cooperation with democratically aligned allies in order to curb the wide-ranging threats that sustained action from Beijing brings.  

Read further notes from the meeting here.