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US Senate approves bill to counter China tech competition

The measures will look to combat competition from China and boost US semiconductor manufacturing

The US Senate has passed legislation that is intended to boost the country's ability to compete with Chinese technology.

The measures, which were voted on 68-32 in a bipartisan effort, include $190 billion to strengthen US technology and research, $54 billion for semiconductor and telecommunications equipment research, as well as $2 billion dedicated to chips used by automakers.

In response to this new legislation, China's parliament expressed "strong indignation and resolute opposition" to the bill, according to Reuters. It said that the bill showed a "paranoid delusion of wanting to be the only winner" and had distorted the original spirit of innovation and competition.

There are other provisions in the bill related to China, such as banning TikTok from government devices and blocking the purchase of drones from the Chinese government. It would also create broad sanctions on Chinese entities engaged in US cyber attacks, and stipulates a review of export controls on items that may be used to support human rights abuses.

"We are in a competition to win the 21st century, and the starting gun has gone off," said US president Joe Biden. "As other countries continue to invest in their own research and development, we cannot risk falling behind.  America must maintain its position as the most innovative and productive nation on Earth."

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The bill still needs to pass the House of Representatives to be sent to the White House for Biden to sign into law.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who co-sponsored the bill, said: "Today's Senate passage of the bipartisan S. Innovation and Competition Act moves forward historic legislation to invest in science, technology, and US manufacturing that will shore up critical industries like semiconductors, artificial intelligence, advanced communications like 5G, quantum computing, biotechnology, and advanced energy, and create opportunity to reshape the Upstate New York economy with investment in new regional tech hubs and support for New York entrepreneurs and research at universities and laboratories."

Last week, hackers with suspected ties to the Chinese government breached systems belonging to New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The attacks reportedly took place during April but only now came to light, with researchers stating that the hackers may have implanted a backdoor to allow future access to the MTA's systems.

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