China believes it is on track to take over the world.
At the ongoing "Two Sessions" in Beijing, the Communist Party has publicly told us how it will accomplish its ambitious goal. If the Chinese ruling party succeeds, the rest of the 21st century will be painted only in shades of red.
Fortunately, America is beginning to mobilize itself. Americans, however, need to act, immediately. Tech is the real arms race of our era.
On March 5, at the annual meeting of the National People's Congress, China's rubber-stamp legislature, Premier Li Keqiang announced the 14th Five-Year Plan, which begins this year.
China, pursuant to the plan, will increase spending 7% per year to achieve "major breakthroughs" in areas of "frontier technology." Specifically, the country, will devote resources to artificial intelligence; quantum information; semiconductors; brain science; genomics and biotech; clinical medicine and health; and deep space, deep sea, and deep earth.
Moreover, Beijing is also talking about the Sci-Tech Innovation 2030 Agenda and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035. Officials are silent when it comes to Xi Jinping's now-notorious Made in China 2025 initiative — the plan is on its face a violation of the country's trade obligations — but there is no question that the effort remains underway nonetheless.
China is going all-in on what Wang Zhigang, the head of the Ministry of Science and Technology, called the development of a "new ecology" for innovation. In that ecology, China has been able to lead the world in important areas, such as "unhackable" quantum communications. Moreover, the country is not far behind — if it is behind at all — in quantum computing and artificial intelligence.
China's recent progress has been impressive. A decade ago, Beijing was not considered a tech contender.
There should be no surprise how Chinese leaders made their regime a technology powerhouse. In addition to theft, they adopted a determined, methodical and disciplined approach to developing their own innovations. Beijing's efforts to master key technologies have been massive, state-directed and government-funded.
Government funding has been China's key tactic. The 7% figure of the 14th plan comes on top of a massive increase in tech spending in the last half decade. Ye Yujiang, the head of basic research at the Ministry of Science and Technology, just announced that China's spending on basic research nearly doubled during the just-completed 13th Five-Year Plan.
Beijing's effort depends on large, top-down projects. Take the National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences, a multi-billion-dollar facility spread over 86 acres in Hefei, the capital of Anhui province. It is the world's largest quantum research lab.