China must limit reliance on foreign technology, according to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In a speech at the Work Conference for Cybersecurity and Informatization in late April, President Xi observed, “We have never been so close to realizing the objective of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation as today, and we have never had more confidence and more ability to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation as today.”
To accomplish this rejuvenation, he called for China to inject more resources into research, industrial development, and policy-making in order to achieve breakthroughs in information technologies.
Digital communication's role
Xi also noted that the development of cybersecurity and informatization should contribute to China's drive to develop a modernized economy and achieve high-quality development, and to the new model of industrialization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization.
Later, according to the New York Times reporter Chris Buckley, he said, “In the next step of tackling technology, we must cast aside illusions and rely on ourselves."
Dependence on Western technology
A barrier to China’s self-reliance in technology are the U.S. sanctions that threaten to cripple Chinese technology companies.
Will these sanctions keep China dependent on U.S. technology? James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies thinks not. He writes,
"There are very few technologies where we still have a monopoly, and though it is in our national interest to prevent exports that improve China’s technological base, we should not delude ourselves that this will frustrate Chinese ambitions. At best it may slow them....”