After the US Senate on Tuesday passed a historic bill to commit some $250 billion to fund scientific research as well as subsidies for chipmakers and robot developers, including an overhaul of the National Science Foundation - the largest effort to date in efforts to boost a US competitive edge over China as a tech powerhouse - Beijing has reacted by mocking Washington's "paranoid delusion" and "Cold War mentality". It's also calling for an "immediate" halt to the legislation's progress as it goes to the House.
The bill, called the US Innovation and Competition Act passed the chamber 68-32 and had clear bi-partisan support, now ranking among the largest industrial bills in American history. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hailed it as "the moment when the Senate lays the foundation for another century of American leadership," in Tuesday night statements from Senate floor Tuesday. A $52 billion emergency allotment to the Commerce Department to bolster domestic semiconductor development and manufacturing is considered the centerpiece of the bill.
No doubt thinking primarily of China, he said, "Around the globe, authoritarian governments believe that squabbling democracies like ours can’t unite around national priorities," before adding, “Well, let me tell you something: I believe that they are wrong. I believe that this legislation will enable the United States to out-innovate, out-produce, and out-compete the world in the industries of the future."
President Joe Biden seconded the statement on the eve of his departure for the G-7 summit (where China is expected to be a front and center topic), saying late Tuesday: "We are in a competition to win the 21st century, and the starting gun has gone off."
On Wednesday China's Foreign Ministry urged Washington to stop treating Beijing as an "imaginary enemy" while alleging Senate leaders' rationale ultimately constitute a "smear" on China's achievements, and that it "interferes in China's internal affairs under the banner of innovation and competition." The statement claimed that China ultimately seeks to develop a "a win-win relationship" with the US on the global stage.
And a statement from China's National People's Congress (NPC) foreign affairs committee appeared to take direct aim and Biden and Schumer's statements: "The bill shows that the paranoid delusion of egoism has distorted the original intention of innovation and competition," it said according to Xinhua.
The statement "strongly" urged the US House to "immediately stop" the legislation's progress lest bilateral ties be further damaged to the point severing cooperation in key sectors.
The NPC had further charged the new US legislation as being bull of a "Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice," and indicated China's parliament has voiced "strong indignation and resolute opposition". But this will do little to sway momentum for it as it now heads into the House of Representatives, also as Biden is expected to continue ramping up the pressure on China during his eight-day high stakes trip to Europe where he'll coordinate action with world leaders.