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U.S. panics over China tech threat

A prototype C919, China's foray into civilian aviation. Photo: Qilai Shen / Bloomberg / Getty

The U.S. is experiencing a revival of Japan syndrome, harking back to the late 1970s when "Made in Japan" abruptly stopped being a source of mirth, Americans began to snap up Toyotas and Nissans in big numbers, and Detroit sank into a profit-and-jobs bloodbath.

The big picture: Five years ago, American technologists sneered at China's Baidu and its new search engine. But "they aren't laughing anymore," says Gregory Allen, an AI expert at the Center for a New American Security. "Now they are marveling at Baidu's advances in artificial intelligence."