By Zhong Sheng
French scientist Louis Pasteur said that “Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world,” but some U.S. politicians are running counter to it, with arbitrary attempts to politicize science and monopolize the fruits of innovation.
A US official claimed on social media that “I want the United States to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies.”
However, this message was quickly followed by a ban of the U.S. administration preventing a Chinese high-tech company from participating in the construction of U.S. telecommunication equipment, especially the 5G network in the disguise of “national security”. The U.S. even added the Chinese company to an “Entity List” of export control.
The US official also noted that “We welcome Chinese students and scholars to the United States to conduct legitimate academic activities.” But the U.S. immediately decided to restrict and impede normal people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and the U.S., and even cooked up excuses and fabricated accusations to fire Chinese scientists and shut down their labs.
The U.S. launched an initiative for scientific and technological cooperation, saying it is committed to promoting an international environment that supports AI R&D and will open markets for American AI industries. But indeed, it is arbitrarily interfering with the global division of labor.
According to U.S. media, at the end of the last year, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) under U.S. Department of Commerce published a list of 14 representative emerging technology categories for potential export control, and most of the categories were related to AI technologies.
While boasting “open innovation” and “free competition”, the U.S. is indeed sabotaging regular academic exchanges and scientific and technological cooperation both on and under the desk. It is waging a “technology Cold War” and erecting a “digital Iron Curtain” by hook or by crook, revealing the nature of some U.S. politicians who think in one way and behave in another.
It’s common knowledge that the core of the international order established by the U.S. after the World War II is to boost free circulation of commodities, personnel, capital, and technology within systems and rules.
However, the U.S. politicians have overturned this rule-based international order with their bald-faced bullying practices. Following the law of the jungle and “winner-takes-all” approach in the field of science and technology, they allow no one to challenge their scientific and technological hegemony.
What they are doing is to try to firmly secure their position at the top of the industrial chain so as to reap huge profits from technological monopoly and force latecomers to remain at the bottom.
The U.S. is being a bully by allowing only its own innovation while stifling the development of other countries.
Scientific and technological achievements are common wealth of the mankind, as well as the fruits of mutual learning and joint efforts of generations and generations of scientists around the world.
The world needs concerted efforts of global scientists to find new driving forces of economic development and cope with major challenges including environment pollution, climate change, and diseases.
Today, when the world is undergoing profound development of economic globalization, innovation resources are flowing rapidly around the world. The economic, scientific, and technological ties among countries are also becoming closer. It’s impossible for any country to independently conquer all the challenges of innovation, and the U.S. is no exception.
As a Chinese saying goes, the ocean is vast because it rejects no rivers. With global support and concerted efforts, endeavors to boost innovation will deliver great results and benefit the whole world.
Before and after the World War II, many European scientists traveled far to the U.S. and made extraordinary contribution to the innovation and development of the country. The success of Silicon Valley today could never have been realized without the untiring efforts of scientific and technological talents from the world.
According to credible statistics, 38 percent of American scientists and engineers with doctoral degree were born outside the U.S., and the ratio stands at more than one third for frontier researchers in the country.
Such point was also indicated in a report released by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation of the U.S. that said highly educated immigrants who have been working in major enterprises comprised a large portion of innovators in the U.S.
At present, some politicians in the U.S. are arbitrarily cutting off technology cooperation, with a so-called intention to protect their leading status in related fields. However, such an act is doomed to hurt the country’s own interests, as it hinders free competition and breaks the close cooperation on the global industrial chain.
China’s tech company Huawei contributes as high as 30 to 40 percent to the total revenues of some U.S. spare part companies. These U.S. companies have to work overtime to finish Huawei’s supply orders before the U.S. ban on the Chinese tech giant comes into effect. Their approval process, which cost approximately one and a half month, has been shorted to three hours.
The Wall Street Journal disclosed that Qualcomm’s share of revenue from China stood at 67 percent, and the figures for Intel and Apple were 26 and 20 percent respectively. It is imaginable that to cut off supplies to Chinese tech companies and block the trade of telecom equipment will definitely backfire and hurt the U.S. itself.
By refusing globalization, the U.S. politicians have not only pulled their country out of the game, but also hurt the interests of other players. The ultimate victim will be countries on the global industrial chain.
Stanley Shanapinda, a research fellow at La Trobe University, noted that a ban on Huawei, a company that has provided network services for over a decade in Australia, will slow down Australia’s upgrading of national network, and increase the cost of telecom operators. The spending will be passed on to the consumers.
Openness and cooperation have been an inevitable manner to boost technological progress and productivity. At present, multi-polarization, economic globalization, cultural diversity and society informatization are developing fast, indicating that no country is able to develop with its doors shut.
Any anti-globalization attempt will turn out to be useless and could never stop the trend of technological development. Those US politicians who choose self-seclusion should come back to reality, because such mentality will only make the U.S. fall behind.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name used by People’s Daily to express views on foreign policy.)
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