A recent story in the Wall Street Jounal focused on China's potential directive that western companies must share their proprietary technology in electric car manufacturing if they want to sell cars in China. This is no surprise to those of us who read a book called To Change China: Western Advisors in China by Jonathan Spence. He described how the Jesuits in the Ming, then Qing Dynastys shared their advanced knowledge of astronomy with the Emperor, then stood there waiting, hoping they could proselytize in China. (Back then predictions on where celestial objects would be was important to the Emperor's face). The Emperor then looked at the priest and said, "Why are you standing there?" The priest asked what was in it for the Jesuits. The Emperor said,"Thanks a lot."
This drama played out through Chinese history and culminated with the ouster of the Russian advisors when they were no longer essential to the communist revolution and the rebuilding of China. (In fact, the book Odd Man Out draws a picture of how Stalin manipulated the Chinese Communist party and put them in a position where they had to fight in Korea. It wasn't always a good things to have Russians around)
So, a few years ago, when I watched this American bank buy a Chinese bank and build ATMS all over China I was amused. Beijing didn't allow them to take deposits from Chinese. Of course, the bank could have foreigners use the ATMs. American bankers never seem to know what's going on, only how big their paychecks will be.
More and more companies that used to be described as American moved their operations to China because the CEOs wanted bigger bonuses and the less they paid employees the more they got in their pay envelope. They didn't care whether a lot of Americans wouldn't have a job, they just wanted more money.
So the idea that technology would be taken over is a logical expectation given Chinese history. If companies don't want to sell cars in China, they can go home. Since most Americans couldn't find China on a map, it is to be expected that these corporate barons wouldn't know anything about Zhongguo li shi. America is an insular land where the only other languages besides English are spoken by the children of immigrants.
So this step was inevitable. A couple of months ago, Boeing sales made our trade deficit less horrible than usual. Wait until the Chinese produce a plane.