US Cracks Down on Chinese Tech Investment, While Chinese STEM Students Face Harassment in US

June 24, 2024

US Imposes Proposed Restrictions on Chinese Investment in Tech Sectors, While Chinese Students Face Harassment and Detainment in the US

US Announces Proposed Investment Restrictions for Sensitive Technologies: In a significant move to curb Chinese technological advancements, the US Treasury Department has released a 165-page Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) outlining potential restrictions on US investments in China’s semiconductor, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence sectors. It is claimed that these initiatives aim to safeguard US “national security” interests by limiting American capital flow into these critical technological areas. The US Treasury is scheduled to finalize the implementation regulations by August 4, 2024, and determine the program’s effective date.

Chinese STEM students harassed by US border officials: Four Chinese students who recently traveled to the United States to study and participate in academic conferences suffered unwarranted harassment, interrogation and repatriation by the US side, sources said.

The four students have scientific and technical backgrounds, and two of them have research interests in artificial intelligence, the sources familiar with the matter told China Daily on the condition of anonymity.

US Customs and Border Protection officers took the four Chinese individuals to a darkened room for more than 10 hours of continuous interrogation, repeatedly questioning them with a baiting, coercive approach, the sources said.

The officers repeatedly questioned them about their personal and family information, their studies and internships in the US, whether they were members of the Communist Party of China, and whether they had cooperated with the Chinese government.

The officers “paid particular attention to political backgrounds such as CPC membership, and to scientific research backgrounds related to computers”, one of the sources said.

The US side also refused to allow two of the individuals to contact their families and friends, causing one of them to be out of contact with the outside world for more than 30 hours, the source said.

In addition, without evidence or valid warrants, the US side arbitrarily seized the electronic products of one of the Chinese individuals and repatriated the other three students. How the fourth student’s case was resolved was not disclosed.

The US side in recent years has conducted unwarranted harassment, interrogation and repatriation of more than 30 Chinese students majoring in computer-related fields, according to incomplete statistics.

The vast majority of them are master’s or doctoral degree candidates, with more than half of them being PhD candidates, and most of them are studying in well-known universities in the US.

Their research interests cover fields such as artificial intelligence, information science, network security, electronics, software engineering and electronic information engineering.

“Mostly, these students were harassed and interrogated by the US side for more than 10 hours upon entering the country, and the longest time of being held was even up to five days, and ultimately, without exception, their visas were canceled and they were repatriated,” another source said.

The US practice is “far beyond the realm of normal law enforcement, is strongly ideologically biased, and is not aimed at maintaining so-called ‘national border security’,” the source said, adding that the aim is to hold back China’s scientific and technological development and maintain US scientific and technological hegemony, which “fully reflects the hegemonic, bullying nature of the US side, as well as its anxiety and lack of self-confidence in the realm of science and technology”.

Such practices will only give rise to a serious “chilling effect” inside and outside the US, poison the public opinion environment for China-US relations, and impede the mutual visits and exchange of talent between the two countries, the sources said.

The US will eventually damage its own international image and innovation vitality, leading to a serious backfire, a third source said.

“Chinese students should assess the risk with great caution and think twice before going to the US to study,” the source added.


Huawei Unveils HarmonyOS NEXT: A Truly Independent Operating System

On June 21, Huawei introduced HarmonyOS NEXT, a genuinely independent operating system separate from Android and iOS. The beta version is now available for developers, with consumer release slated for Q4 2024.

HarmonyOS development began in 2015, launching in 2019 amid U.S. trade restrictions and the controversial arrest of Huawei’s CFO. This latest version marks a significant evolution, using Huawei’s proprietary Harmony kernel instead of Unix or Linux, making it incompatible with Android.

Richard Yu, Huawei’s Executive Director, reported that the HarmonyOS ecosystem now includes over 900 million devices and 2.54 million developers. Over 5,000 applications are in development, with 1,500 already available.

According to Counterpoint Research, HarmonyOS’s market share in China grew from 8% to 17% year-over-year in Q1 2024, surpassing iOS to become the second-largest operating system in China. This growth, coupled with Huawei’s rebounding smartphone sales, is expected to further boost HarmonyOS’s market presence.


Chinese Reusable Rocket Aces 10km Test Flight

On June 23, China made a significant leap forward in reusable rocket technology by successfully completing a 10-kilometre vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) flight test. This marks the largest VTOL flight test for a reusable rocket in China to date and represents a crucial milestone in the development of next-generation launch vehicles.

Key Points of the Test:

  • Largest VTOL Flight Test: The test involved a 3.8-meter diameter reusable rocket, the largest of its kind to undergo a VTOL flight test in China.
  • The Debut of Deep-Throttling LOX/Methane Engine: The test marked the first application of a domestically developed deep-throttling liquid oxygen-methane (LOX/Methane) engine in a 10-kilometer-level return flight. This engine technology is crucial for enabling efficient and controllable flight manoeuvres.
  • Paving the Way for 2025 First Flight: The successful test lays a solid technical foundation for the maiden flight of a 4-meter-class reusable rocket in 2025.
  • The next step for the research team is to conduct a 70-kilometre-level VTOL flight test for reusable rockets. These advancements pave the way for developing more cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and versatile launch vehicles, revolutionizing space exploration capabilities.

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