A new report from the Berlin-based Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) shows the “asymmetry” in the information level between China and Europe.
According to the report, China has for a long time worked thoroughly to acquire knowledge of foreign technology to reproduce domestically. In contrast, Europe has only recently become aware of the importance of monitoring Chinese development, and as Science Business writes, it was only in 2019 that the EU commission officially labeled China as a “Systemic rival”.
This becomes a problem when China is using their so-called “science and technology diplomats” to keep close tabs on Europe to see which kinds of European technology they need to reproduce at home in China.
Another part of the problem is the problematic cooperation between western researchers and China. In this respect, the report highlights the research scandal where 30 Danish researchers had assisted and worked for Chinese universities without their Danish employer knowing about it.
The recruitment of the Danish scientists was according to an FBI investigation part of a major program of industrial espionage conducted by China. One of the industries which were implemented in the scandal was the Danish windmill industry.
Also, at this time the Danish state was urged to take the Chinese threat more seriously and to act against it. Emily Weinstein, who is a research analyst at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) which focuses on Chinese innovation and domestic S&T policies and development, addressed this when she was a witness at an under-committee hearing in the American Congress.
“Windmills is a key industry for Denmark why it should also be the states utmost important task to protect the comparative lead. Meanwhile, green energy is strategically important to China, and President Xi Jinping has pointed it out as one of the technologies where China must be the global leader by 2025. If I was the Danish government, I would keep a close eye on what’s going on here,” Emily Weinstein said.
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