Magazine August 2, 2021, Issue

The Rising Risk of China’s Intellectual-Property Theft

U.S. and Chinese flags in front of a U.S. dollar banknote and a yuan banknote (Jason Lee/Reuters)
Congress must protect new intellectual property while promoting its development

The most important dimension of U.S.–China relations is technology, which is vital to economic, military, and even ideological competition.

In the economic competition, the main American challenge is not, as is sometimes implied, inadequate innovation. The U.S. is the world’s wealthiest country by tens of trillions of dollars. The number of U.S. patents granted to Ameri­cans set a record in 2019 and nearly matched it in 2020. That more than tripled the number of patents granted to second-place Japanese filers in our market.

The main challenge is not even Chi­nese innovation. Beijing’s preference for large firms and state funding at the expense …

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This article appears as “Theft as Trade Policy” in the August 2, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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In This Issue



Economic Competition

Human Rights

Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

The geopolitical, economic, and ideological competition between the U.S. and China is now out in the open.


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