Monday, May 8, 2023

Beijing Curtails Overseas Access to Chinese Data After Reading US Think Tank Reports

Here is more from the Wall Street Journal: 

A recent campaign to restrict overseas access to China-based data sources was partly triggered by a drumbeat of U.S. think tank reports on sensitive Chinese practices that alarmed Beijing, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Increasingly worried about perceived Western threats, Beijing in recent weeks expanded an anti-espionage law and stepped up pressure on foreign companies specializing in collecting information, such as auditors, management consultants and law firms. In addition, access to Chinese databases including Shanghai-based Wind Information has tightened for foreign think tanks, research firms and other nonfinancial entities.

The wider scope of the campaign is intended to ensure the party-state’s control over narratives about China. The part of it focused on restricting overseas access to databases began in earnest after some reports based on publicly available information set off alarms among senior Chinese officials, according to the people with knowledge of the matter.

The reports, these people said, included analyses written by the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University and the Center for a New American Security, co-founded by Kurt Campbell, the White House’s coordinator for the Indo-Pacific.


The article notes that one of the think tank reports that got Chinese officials' attention is a CSET policy brief published in June 2022 entitled "Silicon Twist: Managing the Chinese Military's Access to AI Chips."  Another CSET report that got their attention was one called "The Chinese Talent Program Tracker." 

The article also notes that China cut off the Center for Strategic and International Studies' (CSIS) access to Chinese data provider Wind Information.