US sanctions Chinese computer makers in widening tech fight

US sanctions Chinese computer makers

The Biden administration has added seven Chinese supercomputer research labs and manufacturers to a U.S. export blacklist in a spreading conflict with Beijing over technology and security.

The measure announced Thursday is the latest sign President Joe Biden is sticking to the tough line taken by his predecessor, Donald Trump, toward Chinese tech industries seen by Washington as potential threats.

The decision adds to mounting conflict over the ruling Communist Party’s industrial plans, access to American technology and accusations of computer attacks and theft of business secrets.

The latest penalties block access to U.S. technology for researchers and manufacturers the Commerce Department said build supercomputers used by the Chinese military in weapons development.

Biden has said he wants better relations with Beijing but has given no indication he will roll back sanctions imposed by Trump on Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei and other companies.

The Communist Party has responded by declaring that accelerating efforts to transform China into a self-reliant “technology power” will be this year’s top economic priority.

Chinese-designed supercomputers have set records for speed but are assembled from U.S.-supplied processor chips and other hardware. They can be used in weapons development by simulating nuclear explosions and the aerodynamics of high-speed or stealth aircraft and missiles.

The latest U.S. penalties affect National Supercomputing Centers in the cities of Jinan, Shenzhen, Wuxi and Zhengzhou, Tianjin Phytium Information Technology, Shanghai High-Performance Integrated Circuit Design Center and Sunway Microelectronics.

Meanwhile, American telecom regulators are in the process of stripping three Chinese phone carriers of the right to operate in the United States.

Trump also tried to force the Chinese owner of video service TikTok to sell its U.S. unit and issued an order barring Americans from investing in securities of companies deemed by the Pentagon to be linked to China’s military.