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China asks the United States to stop ‘unreasonable suppression’ of Huawei

China’s foreign ministry said on Saturday the United States needed to stop the “unreasonable suppression” of Chinese companies like Huawei, and a Chinese newspaper said the government was ready to retaliate against Washington.

The Trump administration on Friday moved to block global chip supplies to blacklisted telecoms equipment company Huawei Technologies, spurring fears of Chinese retaliation and hammering shares of US producers of chipmaking equipment.

China will firmly defend its companies’ legal rights, the foreign ministry said in a statement in response to Reuters’ questions on whether Beijing would take retaliatory measures against the United States.

China’s Global Times newspaper on Saturday quoted a source close to the Chinese government as saying that Beijing was ready to take a series of countermeasures against the United States, such as putting US companies on an “unreliable entity list” and imposing restrictions on US companies such as Apple Inc, Cisco Systems Inc and Qualcomm Inc.

The newspaper, published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, said the source also mentioned halting the purchase of Boeing Co airplanes.

“China will take forceful countermeasures to protect its own legitimate rights” if the United States moves forward with the plan to change rules and bar essential suppliers of chips, including Taiwan-based TSMC, from selling chips to Huawei, the Global Times quoted the source as saying.

Tensions between the world’s two largest economies have spiked in recent weeks, with officials on both sides suggesting a hard-won deal that defused a bitter 18-month trade war could be abandoned months after it was signed in January.

In addition to the move on Huawei, the US Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which oversees billions in federal retirement dollars, this week also said it would indefinitely delay plans to invest in some Chinese companies that are under scrutiny in Washington.

The pandemic has turned the world upside-down, almost overnight. But technologically, we’re better equipped to address this global threat than we were just 15 years ago. 

When SARS struck China and 25 other countries in 2003, smartphones didn’t exist, 3G was the wireless communications standard, and home broadband was the exception rather than the rule. Today, we have 4G and 5G, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. These tools are helping to prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease, while helping scientists look for a cure.

Social distancing would be a lot harder without digital technology. Streaming services like Netflix have helped take the edge off of staying indoors while at the same time online shopping – normally just a convenience – is saving lives by allowing millions of people to avoid crowded stores. Online retailers in China have addressed the crisis in innovative ways. JD.com, an e-commerce company, used autonomous robots to deliver supplies to Wuhan’s Ninth Hospital, lowering the risk that JD employees might get infected while delivering much-needed supplies.

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