BEIJING: The United States is leading a “containment, encirclement and suppression of China”, Pre­sident Xi Jinping has said, as he urged the country’s private sector to boost innovation and become more self-reliant.

China’s technology ambitions have been hit with a raft of restrictions by the US and its Western allies, and Beijing has doubled down on the need to shift away from imports for sectors perceived as vital to national security, such as semiconductors and artificial intelligence.

“Western countries led by the United States have implemented all-round co­n­­t­ainment, encirclement and suppression of China, which has brought unprecedented severe challenges to our country’s development,” Xi told industry leaders in a rare direct criticism of the US.

Xi said the past five years had been riddled with a new set of hurdles that threatened to weigh down China’s economic rise. He added that China must “have the courage to fight as the country faces profound and complex changes in both the domestic and international landscape”, according to a readout of the speech to delegates at the Chinese People’s Political Cons­ultative Con­f­erence.

He said private firms “should take the initiative to pursue high-quality dev­e­lopment”, Xinhua rep­­orted late Monday. Earlier this week Xi said the country should be able to fend for itself.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2023

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