Biting back at China over Micron will break US’ teeth: Global Times editorial
Published: May 23, 2023 12:07 AM
US-based semiconductor firm Micron Photo: VCG

US-based semiconductor firm Micron Photo: VCG

The news that Micron's products sold in China did not pass the network security review has caused a strong reaction in the US. This indirectly shows China's decision has touched some Americans, demonstrating its power and producing additional effects. However, the true nature of the matter cannot be covered up by the US.

A US Commerce Department spokesperson said in a statement that this was a "raid and attack" on US companies, restrictions that "have no basis in fact" that would lead to "distortions of the memory chip market." This is Washington's consistent use of strong words to justify its actions. In fact, these words are just the phrases used to describe US actions of undermining free trade in recent years. But China is not the US, and will not learn bad behaviors from Washington.

The conclusion was made after a seven-week investigation by China's General Administration of Customs and a network security review conducted by China's Cybersecurity Review Office (CRO) in accordance with the law, which can withstand scrutiny. The review found that Micron's products have serious network security risks, which pose significant security risks to China's critical information infrastructure supply chain and affect China's national security. According to laws and regulations such as the country's Cybersecurity Law, operators of critical information infrastructure in China should stop purchasing Micron's products.

Besides assessing how much losses China's decision will bring to Micron, the US also shows a certain degree of unease and insecurity, feeling that the "blast radius of this matter may be much larger." This is mainly because they have done many unscrupulous things to China and are very clear about what it means for the US to attack Chinese companies under the guise of "national security." Therefore, they reflexively imagine that any action taken by China toward US companies is "retaliation."

Of course, it is not a bad thing to make those who harm China's interests feel uneasy, and it is a punishment they deserve. The Micron case is indeed the first time that CRO has conducted a review of a foreign company, but Micron is not the first company to undergo a security review by the office. The so-called "targeting foreign companies" is simply not true. The only thing it shows is that with the gradual improvement of China's regulatory system, all market entities must comply with Chinese laws in their business activities. This is not about targeting specific companies. There will be no discrimination based on the different "identities" of the enterprise, neither will anyone be targeted nor given special treatment.

As one of the world's largest manufacturers of semiconductor storage and imaging products, Micron's products in China have long been said to have cybersecurity risks. In addition, Micron has always been known in the industry for its "aggressive competitive tactics" and has been accused of playing an instigating role in the US' crackdown on Chinese technology, as well as being the US company that has dealt the most blows at Chinese chip enterprises. Micron itself knows clearly whether it has cooperated with Washington to export unsafe products to China, and this will undoubtedly determine its future in the Chinese market.

Many foreign media outlets have included this matter in the scope of the US-China tech war, suggesting that it could lead to an escalation of the "tech war." On the surface, it may seem that way: in the past, the US always took the initiative to strike in the semiconductor field, while China was constrained and subject to others' control; now, China has taken actions against Micron, demonstrating its ability to fight back. However, it needs to be said that the reality is not so. The so-called "national security" of the US is a unilateral and anti-market suppression of China's technology, while China's security review of Micron is to effectively safeguard its own security interests. The nature of the two is completely different. Washington's accusations against China can only expose its hypocrisy and double standards.

In fact, it has long been clear to the world who is engaging in unreasonable suppression and distorting the market. When China just started reviewing Micron, the White House demanded that the South Korean government prohibit South Korean chip manufacturers from filling the gap left by Micron in the Chinese market. That's how domineering it is. Over the years, facing Washington's "small yard, high fence" strategy and its push for "decoupling," China has consistently adhered to a high level of openness and supported an open and inclusive global economic order. This has to a considerable extent offset the negative impact caused by Washington and greatly stabilized the global industrial and supply chains.

Take a look at US' vicious and ruthless suppression against Huawei, and its greedy and lawless attempt to forcibly acquire TikTok. It has reached an extreme in trampling on the rules of free trade and the principles of fair competition. However, a legitimate and necessary action taken by China is used by the US to turn around and bite back, which is indicative of their guilty conscience and unreasonableness. They must be kicked in the teeth and be made to weigh the consequences carefully.