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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."

Chinese Big Tech is one dimension of a juggernaut that's collectively terrifying the Trump administration, Silicon Valley and the western foreign policy community.

It's "Made in China 2025," Beijing's three-year old game plan for dominating the 10 biggest technologies of the future, such as AI, robotics and electric cars.

  • Driving the news: In a 215-page investigation released in March, the U.S. Trade Representative cites China 2025 111 times, notes CFR's Lorand Laskai.
  • Where it stands: The Trump administration is pushing China to stop encouraging the theft of U.S. intellectual property. And just this week, the government took action to stop the sale of Huawei telecommunications gear by U.S. carriers, and barred ZTE from buying U.S.-made components.
  • Between the lines: A conviction that, like Japan conquered cars, China may actually manage to pull off its tech ambitions. And not only would it have the most advanced versions of these technologies, but it would effectively block off its market for competition in these leading sectors.

Elizabeth Economy, director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, tells Axios that the West is not being alarmist.

"We are right to be concerned... Japan, Germany — anyone who has advanced sectors are concerned about the lack of a level playing field. These are the technologies of the future."

Go deeper

58 mins ago - World

Scottish first minister vows independence referendum after election win

Scotland's First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon, reacts after being declared the winner of the Glasgow Southside seat at Glasgow counting centre in the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Friday. Photo: Andy Buchanan /AFP via Getty Images

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans Saturday for a second independence referendum once the pandemic has abated following the country's parliamentary elections.

The big picture: Sturgeon's Scottish National Party won 64 seats, one seat short of an outright majority in the 129-seat Parliament. But most seats went to pro-independence parties.

4 hours ago - World

India records its deadliest day of the pandemic

A health worker moving an oxygen cylinder in a coronavirus ward of a hospital in New Delhi on May 8. Photo: Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India saw its deadliest day of the pandemic yet with more than 4,180 confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported Saturday.

Why it matters: The country has recorded more than 21.8 million coronavirus cases and 238,270 deaths since the pandemic began. The true numbers, however, are likely much higher, experts say, as the country battles a continued surge in cases that has left hospitals and health workers overwhelmed.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: The end of quarantine — CDC updates guidance on airborne COVID-19.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations.
  5. World: Asia faces massive new COVID surgeIndia records its deadliest day of the pandemic.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

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