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China says US is ‘abusing state power’ with new attacks on its companies

CHINA accused the United States today of “abusing state power” by using bogus national security concerns to “suppress foreign enterprises.”

It hit back following a US decision to add China’s largest producer of processor chips, the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation to a blacklist limiting access to US technology or investment.

The attacks on Thursday are part of Washington’s global drive to close off access to technology or foreign components for Chinese high-tech firms such as Huawei, which has included putting pressure on US allies such as Britain to stop working with such firms.

They accompanied an aggressive attack on China in the Washington Post by US President Donald Trump’s top spook, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe.

Mr Ratcliffe said that China “intends to dominate the US and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically” and is “the greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War II.” He accused it of stealing US technology using an espionage strategy he dubbed “rob, replicate and replace.”

China said the US accusations were hypocritical and had no basis in fact. Its ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai called for “mutual respect and mutual understanding,” arguing that the differences between the two countries did not justify “war, cold or hot.”

Mr Cui’s low-key response indicates Beijing’s hope that the Joe Biden administration may end some of Washington’s wilder attacks on China, though Mr Biden’s team have indicated they will maintain tariffs on Chinese goods that the World Trade Organisation has ruled are illegal.

Mr Ratcliffe’s unusual intervention is a further sign that the Trump administration is determined to entrench its anti-China policy before the president leaves office, following rules this week that limit travel visa access to members of China’s 90-million-strong Communist Party and their families. 

The State Department has also removed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, an al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group supportive of Uighur separatism in Xinjiang, from its list of terrorist organisations and banned cotton imports from the autonomous region, claiming that the cotton is picked by slave labour.

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