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World China faces huge climate and tech challenges in its bid for global leadership

03:31  07 march  2021
03:31  07 march  2021 Source:   cnn.com

As U.S., U.K. Converge on China, British Lawmaker Says 'Golden Era Is Over'

  As U.S., U.K. Converge on China, British Lawmaker Says 'Golden Era Is Over' An "awakening" to the challenges posed by Beijing has caused a shift in attitude in the United Kingdom, says Tom Tugendhat, chair of China Research Group.Echoing recent sentiments expressed on Capitol Hill, Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the British Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, said there had been an "awakening" in the U.K. to the many irreconcilable practices of the Chinese government.

China 's leaders are finalizing their political and economic agenda for the rest of 2021 and beyond. How the country achieves technological independence and tackles the climate crisis will be near the top.

As China prepares for the G20 Summit in the city of Hangzhou, Carrie Gracie looks at its bid for economic leadership , and the hurdles it faces . The G20 really matters to China . Since the first such summit in Washington in late 2008, these occasions have mostly been forgettable. But that year was a watershed for the Chinese leadership . With the global financial crisis, Beijing stopped believing there was something immutable and dependable about the way the western powers had wired the global economy.

China's leaders are finalizing their political and economic agenda for the rest of 2021 and beyond. How the country achieves technological independence and tackles the climate crisis will be near the top.

a typewriter on a table: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks during the opening session of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Friday, March 5, 2021. China's No. 2 leader has set a healthy economic growth target and vowed to make this nation self-reliant in technology amid tension with Washington and Europe over trade and human rights. © Andy Wong/AP Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks during the opening session of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Friday, March 5, 2021. China's No. 2 leader has set a healthy economic growth target and vowed to make this nation self-reliant in technology amid tension with Washington and Europe over trade and human rights.

This year's "Two Sessions" meeting — the most important annual event on China's political calendar — is particularly noteworthy because Beijing will ratify its 14th five-year plan, a broad outline of goals through 2025 that policymakers have been working on for months. The meeting kicked off last Thursday and will run through the better part of this week.

CPAC puts a bullseye on China

  CPAC puts a bullseye on China GOP hopefuls are already hammering the line that Biden is “soft-on-China.”Elected Republicans wanting to excite the audience littered their speeches with references to the former president. Breakout sessions and high-profile panels featured former officials plucked straight from his administration. Even a gilded Trump statue — adorned in American-flag shorts and the ex-president’s iconic red tie — was wheeled throughout the exhibition hall to the amusement of attendees.

GUANGZHOU, China — China 's technology giants are firmly in the crosshairs of the country's regulators who are trying to figure out how to create a set of antitrust rules that can keep these firms in check. Experts say Beijing will need to ensure that its drive for new regulations balances its push to Like in the U.S., China 's tech sector has expanded via a largely unencumbered path. In some areas, regulators have already stepped in and are now stepping up those efforts. "Like Washington, Beijing has a love-hate relationship with its tech champions," Kendra Schaefer, a partner at Trivium China

Chinese leaders never praised the China model; its fans were mainly Chinese academics and the country’s cheerleaders in the West. (Long before the term became fashionable, Deng advised the president of Ghana: “Do not follow the China model.”) But talk of “guiding globalisation” and a “ China solution” does not mean China is turning its back on the existing global order or challenging American leadership of it across the board. China is a revisionist power, wanting to expand influence within the system.

After dodging a recession last year, Beijing said Friday it expects the world's second largest economy to grow by more than 6% in 2021, which if achieved will keep China on pace to match US GDP as early as 2028. President Xi Jinping wants the economy to double in size by 2035.

But on the back of the bruising trade war with the United States, China has already called out self-reliance and technological independence as major goals. And as climate change accelerates, President Xi Jinping pledged last September that coal-guzzling China will go carbon neutral by 2060.

Those are lofty ambitions, and until now it had been far from clear how Beijing planned to achieve them. But the world got more clues last week when Premier Li Keqiang outlined some aspects of the country's agenda, and Beijing released a draft of the five-year plan.

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China obtains 60% of its power from coal and is the world’s biggest source of climate -changing industrial pollution. As a result, its carbon intensity is higher than any other country. (Bloomberg) -- China pledged to boost spending and drive research into cutting-edge chips and artificial intelligence in its latest five-year targets, laying out a technological blueprint to vie for global influence with the U.S. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang singled out key areas in which to achieve “major breakthroughs in core technologies ,” including high-end semiconductors, operating systems, computer processors.

What factors distinguish China ’s business climate from the rising markets in India or Vietnam? Also, how can China retain its competitive advantage in on the global stage? All questions were carefully answered in detail by Alan Beebe, Steve Carpenter, and the US Consul General Jamie Fouss. Even some of the members also joined discussion by sharing their company experiences on facing business challenges . After the launch event, Carpenter introduced the background behind the MOU and invited Ren Jian, the Vice President of CCPIT, Wuhan Sub-council to sign the MOU of Cooperation with the

Shedding reliance on foreign tech

One key goal that Xi has already outlined is a desire for China to shed its reliance on the United States for key technology, such as parts that power smartphones, computers, telecommunications gear and next-generation gadgets.

Li stressed the importance of technological development and innovation during his speech on Friday. He said that China will increase spending on research and development by more than 7% annually. The Chinese government has previously identified semiconductors, 5G networks and cloud computing as critical areas, among others.

Still, China has a long way to go to end its reliance on foreign tech. In 2019, the country imported $306 billion worth of chips, or 15% of the value of its total imports. And Washington has severely hampered some of Beijing's ambitions in recent months by slapping restrictions on Chinese companies, including Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC).

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(Bloomberg) -- China called on its technology giants to share key data, dealing a further blow to the companies already reeling from heightened antitrust scrutiny.Companies are encouraged to open up data related to areas from search to e-commerce and social media, in order to promote the healthy development of the sharing and (Bloomberg) -- China pledged to boost spending and drive research into cutting-edge chips and artificial intelligence in its latest five-year targets, laying out a technological blueprint to vie for global influence with the U.S. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang singled out key areas in

China has emerged as a truly global actor, impacting every region and every major issue area. To better address the implications for American policy and the multilateral order, Brookings scholars are undertaking a two-year project—“ Global China : Assessing China ’s Growing Role in the World”—intended to furnish policymakers and the public with a new empirical baseline for understanding China ’s regional and global ambitions. China aspires to global technology leadership . Can it achieve its ambitions? What would the impacts be at home and abroad?

State vs. private sector

State-owned companies such as SMIC are central to Beijing's drive for self-sufficiency. But private firms also have a critical role to play. After all, tech giants from Alibaba to Tencent have driven much of Chinese innovation in the field in recent decades.

The government has made clear in recent months — and in its new five-year plan — that such companies will be expected to toe the Chinese Communist Party line if they want to succeed.

"As Xi pursues ambitions for China at the cutting edge of technology, Beijing recognizes that a top-down approach has limits," Eurasia Group analysts wrote in a recent research report. "But Beijing's willingness to leave more to the market will be challenged by Xi's sense of urgency and frequent preference for a strong hand for the [Party] and state."

Beijing has steadily been broadening its control over tech companies in recent months. Not only did Chinese regulators force Alibaba's financial affiliate Ant Group to call off its record-breaking IPO in November, they also have ordered the company to overhaul its business. Authorities also launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba, questioned executives at Tencent and Pinduoduo, and floated new rules.

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The government has also shown a desire to strengthen its influence over the economy by creating its own digital currency and extending a trial version to major cities including Beijing and Shanghai.

The new five-year plan gave more insight into how authorities want to expand their reach. Tech companies are "encouraged" to share data related to research, e-commerce and social networks.

Reaching carbon neutrality

As China charts its economic trajectory for the coming years it will also have to balance those ambitions with an urgent need to tackle the climate crisis.

Xi unveiled a bold plan last year for China to become carbon neutral by 2060. It's a massive target for a country that burns more coal than the rest of the world combined, and one that will require nothing short of an economic revolution.

The country spent decades staking its ascent on massive infrastructure projects and manufacturing, building an economic engine that is now heavily reliant on dirty energy. And analysts have said that pressures caused by Covid-19 and tensions with the West are pushing China to spend more on those energy sources, not less.

Still, the country has finally started outlining some details on how it wants to work toward its climate coals.

Even before the "Two Sessions" meeting kicked off, the state power grid had unveiled plans to upgrade its network, reduce coal-power generation and develop charging stations for electric vehicles.

Top China Diplomat Warns Biden to Tread Carefully on Taiwan

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The draft five-year plan contained more benchmarks. By the end of 2025, China aims to boost the use of non-fossil fuels to 20% of total energy consumption from the current level of 15%. That includes efforts to build more nuclear power stations and clean energy facilities.

Premier Li said Friday that China intends to cut energy consumption per unit of GDP by 3% in 2021. It plans to do so by eliminating heavy air pollution and requiring some 70% of heating in the northern part of the country to come from clean energy sources, among other methods.

"This should be a start to commit to the net-zero carbon emission target by 2060," said Iris Pang, chief economist for Greater China at ING, in a Friday report.

China outlined other ways to reach its coals, including through the construction of more clean energy facilities like hydropower plants and wind farms.

But some climate experts argue that the five-year plan still lacks significant detail about how China will ultimately move away from coal in a more meaningful way.

"In terms of the climate, initial indications from China's 14th Five Year Plan are underwhelming," said Swithin Lui, lead China analyst for the Climate Action Tracker at NewClimate Institute, in a statement Friday. "While it's positive that this plan does reiterate its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2060, and peaking emissions before 2030, there is little sign of the change needed to reach that goal."

— Ivana Kottasová and Steven Jiang contributed to this report.

Li Keqiang wearing a suit and tie: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a speech during the opening session of China's National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday. © Andy Wong/AP Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a speech during the opening session of China's National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday.

China Looks to Get U.S. Ties 'Back to Right Track' in First Meeting Under Biden .
"We hope that through dialogue, the two sides can build on the spirit of the phone conversation of the two heads of state, focus on cooperation, manage differences and promote the sound and steady development of China-U.S. relations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.Chinese Communist Party Central Foreign Affairs Commission Director Yang Jiechi will meet U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken next Thursday in Alaska. This marks the first in-person talks between Beijing and the new leadership in Washington, as well as the Biden administration's first contact with Chinese officials since the U.S.

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