In This Review

China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage
China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage
Edited by William C. Hannas and Didi Kirsten Tatlow
372 pp, Routledge, 2020

A 2013 book by Hannas and two other contributors to the present volume focused on the many ways that China gets hold of advanced U.S. technology. Since then, as reported by contributors to this new, deeply researched and sophisticated volume, the Chinese government has vastly increased its technology-acquisition programs, not only in the United States but also in Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Europe. As before, some Chinese methods are illegal, such as hacking and theft, but many are carried out in the open, including investing in foreign companies, conducting joint research projects with foreign universities and companies, using “talent programs” to bring Chinese and non-Chinese scientists to China, and offering returned scholars venture capital to start businesses. Thousands of university centers, technology-transfer parks, and startup incubators convert the imported technology into products that increase China’s competitiveness, upgrade its military, or strengthen the government’s ability to control society. Officials and observers in the West lack awareness of the extent of these activities. Governments face the dilemma of trying to stop the outflow of advanced technology without interrupting the valuable inflow of Chinese students and scholars.