China’s growing dominance in the technology sector has sparked a new controversy with the United States. A U.S. Congress committee has called for scrutiny of Chinese-made internet modules that are increasingly embedded in various devices, ranging from first responder systems to smart refrigerators. The presence of these modules in critical systems used by firefighters and police, combined with concerns over their security vulnerabilities, has prompted the congressional investigation. This latest development has further intensified the already escalating technology war between the two superpowers.
Newsweek’s exclusive reporting on the issue has caught the attention of Chinese media, with the English-language China Daily criticizing the congressional investigation as an example of U.S. political correctness. The Chinese government has responded angrily, warning of consequences if its companies are unfairly treated. This dispute highlights the deepening tensions between the world’s two largest economies, which have been exacerbated by a range of issues, including national security concerns and the post-COVID economic recovery. As the battle for technological supremacy heats up, the implications for global economic stability are becoming increasingly uncertain.
China Angered by U.S. Congress’ Scrutiny of Chinese-Made Internet Modules
China has responded angrily to calls by a U.S. Congress committee for scrutiny of Chinese-made internet modules that are increasingly embedded in devices that range from vital U.S. first responder systems to electronic cars to smart refrigerators. The Chinese comments follow Newsweek’s exclusive reporting on the presence of the modules in the systems used by firefighters and police as well as on the congressional demands for investigation of their ubiquity in the so-called Internet of Things. The quarrel over the devices has opened another front in the increasing war over technology between the United States and China.
U.S. Congress Raises Concerns Over Security
A House committee scrutinizing relations with China wrote to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on August 7, asking it to address security concerns over the Chinese-made internet modules, which are made by about a dozen Chinese companies and sold widely around the world, including the U.S. The committee is concerned that the modules are vulnerable to interference, which could not only lead to spying but also potentially degrade communication systems or even switch off critical infrastructure. Engineers and industry sources have expressed uncertainty about the effectiveness of security measures to prevent the modules from sending information back to servers in China.
China Reacts with Anger and Threats
China has strongly criticized the congressional investigation, with the English-language China Daily calling it a "threat" to national security. The Chinese media outlet accused politicians in Washington of raising unfounded concerns about Chinese technology in order to maintain political correctness. The editorial warned of consequences for any action taken against Chinese companies and highlighted previous measures taken by the FCC to bar approvals of telecoms companies like Huawei, citing national security risks. China Daily also noted that the Communications Director of FirstNet Authority, responsible for first responder devices, had assured Newsweek of robust testing and high security measures.
China Prepares to Counter U.S. Scrutiny
In response to the congressional letter, Chinese media outlets and think tanks have suggested strategies to counter the increased scrutiny from the U.S. One such strategy involves mobilizing global public opinion and overseas businesses to support China. This includes using media platforms to publish professional views, refuting contradictory claims, and popularizing appropriate knowledge in the IoT industry. China is also looking to leverage its partnerships with overseas allies, particularly in the chip and IoT platform industries, to influence relevant policies and decisions. The China committee has asked the FCC to respond to its concerns by August 21, and the FCC has stated that it will closely review the committee’s letter.
The increasing war over technology between the United States and China has now extended to Chinese-made internet modules, which are embedded in various devices. The U.S. Congress has raised concerns about the security of these modules, citing the potential for interference and espionage. China has responded angrily to the congressional investigation, accusing politicians in Washington of raising baseless concerns. Chinese media outlets and think tanks are preparing strategies to counter the scrutiny, including mobilizing global public opinion and leveraging partnerships with overseas allies. The FCC is expected to respond to the committee’s concerns by August 21.