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Why Blacklisting Huawei Could Backfire

The History of Chinese Indigenous Innovation

An engineer stands under a 5G base station antenna in Huawei's near-field testing system in Dongguan, Guangdong province, China , May 2019 Jason Lee / REUTERS

Last spring, when the U.S. Department of Commerce added the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE to a trade blacklist, effectively severing ZTE from its vital U.S. suppliers, Chinese President Xi Jinping told an audience at a tech company that the Chinese people must “cast aside the illusion and rely on ourselves.” “The illusion” was the idea that China can prosper even as it relies on foreign technology.

The Trump administration seems determined to prove Xi right. Last month, it blacklisted the telecommunications giant Huawei, the third major Chinese company to be added to the Commerce Department’s blandly named Entity List within the last year. Huawei is an indispensable Chinese company, central both to the rollout of China’s 5G mobile network at home and to the country’s efforts to expand its digital influence abroad. The Trump administration is also considering blacklisting several of China’s largest artificial

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