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Ah, so that’s how they’re going to – try at least – stop GM going bust. Again.

Joe Biden has warned Chinese electric cars are a threat to US national security, as he ordered a sweeping investigation into whether the vehicles can be exploited for spying.

The President accused China on Thursday of using unfair trade tactics to flood the US market with technology-packed vehicles that can hoover up sensitive data about people and infrastructure.

He said the US Department of Commerce would investigate vehicles that used technology from “countries of concern” and prepare to hit them with new restrictions.

Gotta try summat because they need that help, right?

22 thoughts on “Ah, so that’s how they’re going to – try at least – stop GM going bust. Again.”

  1. Joe Biden has warned Chinese electric cars are a threat to US national security

    And not just because they might burst into flames at any time?

  2. Bloke in Pictland

    Chinese electric cars have warned that Joe Biden is a threat to US national security.

  3. Much better to use the new US-built vehicles which can only be used for spying by the US government, which can receive real time reports on your speed and location etc, and will be able to turn off your engine remotely via the exciting new ‘kill switches’ they are mandating.

    I ought to say something sarcastic, like ‘oooh I bet no foreign government will be able to hack into this’, but at this point the greatest danger to western citizens is our own governments, not foreign ones.

  4. It’s tit for tat. China has already banned Tesla’s from some area due to their always on cameras and the massive amount of data they harvest.

  5. I been thinking bout China, trade and war, and this article is on point so here’s a bit of a ramble…

    The move comes as governments are bracing for a wave of cheap Chinese cars to hit western markets, amid warnings that traditional US and European manufacturers could be wiped out.

    Somebody save us from affordable cars that would help our government achieve its insane Net Zero targets!

    BYD’s Dolphin Mini is set to sell in Mexico for just $21,000 (£16,637) – less than half the price of Tesla’s cheapest model.

    I’ve had a look at the BYD Dolphin Mini (what a name tho) and it looks like an amazing deal at that price. All of us remember when Chinese manufacturing used to mean cheap and nasty, but – like Korea and Japan before them – their best companies successfully moved up the value chain years ago.

    Now, China will sell you indigenously designed smartphones, servers and drones that are every bit as good as Western brands, and a lot cheaper. Because EVs are basically laptops on wheels, cars are a natural next step.

    It’s impressive how far they’ve come. Not very long ago, China was always on the brink of starvation. Now they’re landing robots on the Moon. Maybe we should get some of that market magic for ourselves.

    The President claimed that electric cars, which are packed with sensors, cameras and other advanced technology, could be used by China to collect sensitive data about American citizens and infrastructure. They could even be “remotely accessed or disabled”, he claimed

    But this logic (yeah I know) means we can’t trust China to sell us any complex tech products, because of our essentially unfalsifiable paranoia over cyber security. It’s 5G all over again.

    As with 5G, we’re telling China – the world’s greatest manufacturing power – that we don’t trust them to trade manufactured goods with us like a normal country. If that’s the case, what non-antagonistic relationship with China is possible?

    Look at it from the Chinaman’s point of view: they’ve done what Western neolibs told them to do, e.g. stop trying to build a Communist society and create a market based economy that does vast sums of free trade with the rest of the world instead.

    From their perspective, it looks like we’re now trying to frustrate their peaceful economic development at every turn. Given Chinese historical awareness of the Century of Humiliation at Western and Japanese hands, and their rapidly growing naval power, do we think it’s wise to make an enemy of the Han (again)?

    Don’t we have enough enemies?

    However, Conservative MPs urged the Government to follow the White House.

    What has “following the White House” gained us, except war and debt? The US government won’t even sign a trade deal with us (back of the queue!), and is proving incapable of keeping the sea lanes open for trade.

    Why are we backing the weak horse that bites us? I can’t remember Chinese politicians interfering in our domestic affairs. Can you? But the US State Dept is openly grooming “future leaders” in British politics.

    Bob Seely, a Tory backbencher and a member of the foreign affairs committee, said: “We are being extremely naive in our relationship with China.
    “China does not seek to live in harmony with the west but to dominate it.

    Is it really true that the Chinese government is seeking to “dominate” the West? Looks to me as if they’d like to dominate their home region of Asia, and even that isn’t a done deal. Korea and Japan aren’t going to be brushed aside.

    How is allowing British people on lower incomes access to affordable Chinese consumer goods during a cost of living crisis caused by our own government a “threat”, exactly?

    And why do globalists no longer believe in globalism? It it because they’ve worked out that the globe isn’t interested in being dominated by the USA plus sidekicks? Sure feels like the American Empire is retrenching in preparation for another global war, does it not?

    And what are we supposed to if the US antagonises China into a shooting war? They’ve probably got at least 100 hypersonic antishipping missiles for every one of the Royal Navy’s warships, and their factories can churn out Lend Lease quantities of war materiel without breaking a sweat. Does anybody think we can “win” a war, halfway across the planet, with a billion upset Chinese guys?

    What if they had a war, and we told them to fuck off?

  6. This is primarily election-year politics. The Democrats are haemorrhaghing union and blue-collar voters like the Mohne Dam, and this is one of a suite of efforts to try and shore up the union vote in the primaries and the general, also super-delegates at the convention. It means nothing, nothing will actually be done to limit Chinese EV imports. Same with the sudden interest in ‘border security’, after 3 years of open borders.

    Note the typical hypocrisy in the animated concern that Chinese EVs might be ‘remotely disabled’. It’s been less than a month since NHTSA published a proposed rulemaking that would require government-controlled remote disabling in all vehicles sold in the US, also known as ‘it’s different when WE do it.’ And of course all modern cars, and especially EVs already hoover up all kinds of data about operation, location and 101 other parameters. It’s just election-year pearl-clutching, from an adminstration running out of options.



  7. Steve

    “Is it really true that the Chinese government is seeking to “dominate” the West? Looks to me as if they’d like to dominate their home region of Asia, and even that isn’t a done deal. Korea and Japan aren’t going to be brushed aside.”

    No, it’s bullshit. I don’t believe China even cares that much about Taiwan. I think they’re getting a bit like Argentina with the Falklands, that there’s some old conservative fuckers who want Taiwan back, and they have to keep doing things that seem like some activity around this. You know, like the way our government pretends to do things about illegal immigrants like driving a few vans around.

    If China really wanted Taiwan, why haven’t they don’t it by now? Oh, right, they’re going to become more industrialised, more dependent on harmonious relationships with the west, more dependent on companies like TSMC in Taiwan to make chips for them, and then invade, scaring off the west from trading with them and fucking up their tech. Because reasons.

  8. Interested,

    Given that the U.S. government (at all levels) has shown scant interest in using existing technology to clamp down on bad driving, I can’t see them going for “kill-switches” either. The UK govt, on the other hand…

  9. WB – Yarp, it feels like China only gets upset about Taiwan when somebody starts talking about Taiwanese independence or sending them weapons.

    Other than that, it seems to suit both China and Taiwan to maintain the status quo, which is nebulous enough to allow Xi to save face even though the island is, de facto, independent of the mainland.

    We should be in favour of liberty everywhere, but that’s not a reason to insert ourselves into a dispute between two different groups of Chinese people.

    BTW – did you know the proximate cause of the first Opium War was because the Chinese came to the defence of British traders? Maybe you did, but it was news to me.

    The Royal Navy was blockading their ports in support of British drug dealers, and the Chinese authorities tried to defend an independent British trading vessel (Royal Saxon) after the RN fired on them. Obviously the Royal Navy stomped all over the Chinese and forced them to sign humiliating concessions as well as continue to buy our drugs.

    Not our finest hour, and the Chinese are probably reminded of stuff like that when we play trade war with them.

    Instead of hectoring and lecturing the funny foreign chappies, and picking favourites in their local or internal squabbles, what if we minded our business and freely traded with anybody who reciprocates?

  10. What if they had a war, and we told them to fuck off?

    We should do.
    The Americans didn’t help us out with the Falklands. So much for NATO. One of our territories was attacked and conquered and we were on our own.
    We would be much better being small and neutral, like Switzerland with a few boats to defend shipping and that instead of having two useless and obsolete carriers, that don’t work anyway , in an attempt to play at being a prime military power.

  11. @CD

    Tbf, the South Atlantic territories are specifically excluded from NATO (the clue’s in the treaty name). Similarly we aren’t obliged to help the French if something kicks off in the French Pacific – nor were we during their various decolonisation wars.

    And if you want to keep the Falklands and the other leftovers of the British Empire, you’re going to need a decent blue water navy and an air force that can operate on the other side of the world. The value for money option would be handing the Falklands over to Argentina, and finding suitable new homes for the other territories. But even Switzerland spends about 1% of GDP on defence so it’s not like we’d all feel appreciably richer if we cut ourselves down to their level.

  12. Also fwiw the Americans came good with Five Eyes stuff in the Falklands. Nobody was expecting the Americans to turn up on our side with a carrier group. There was no tacit understanding that we had that such an arrangement concerning the Falklands, and no betrayal when the USN didn’t show up. The intelligence-sharing relationship, on the other hand, was valuable.

  13. @Andrew M
    Andrew M
    March 1, 2024 at 2:54 pm


    Given that the U.S. government (at all levels) has shown scant interest in using existing technology to clamp down on bad driving, I can’t see them going for “kill-switches” either. The UK govt, on the other hand…

    You obviously don’t pay much attention to the sorts of selective prosecutions that are fast becoming the norm in the US, Andrew.

    There are hundreds of people in jail, in some cases for decades, for the crime of hanging around in or just near the Capitol on Jan 6, and many were identified by cellular location technology. A cop who literally murdered one protestor – shot her dead when she was completely unarmed and on the other side of a wall from him – was not only not charged, he was recently promoted.

    An appeal court just explicitly dismissed a case against two right wing nut jobs who had got involved in a big fight with a load of left wing nut jobs precisely because the FBI or cops knew that leftists had committed identical offences, and knew who they were, but had declined to investigate them, much less prosecute them. This judge, one of the sane few, said such partisan political prosecution was wrong. If the case had been in NYC or DC or many other places the two blokes wouldn’t even have got a fair trial, never mind this.

    The governor of New York just explicitly said, Don’t worry, folks, the prosecution and $350 million fine of Donald Trump for a victimless non-crime involving the valuation of his properties, upon which loans were to be secured (something which the lending banks were quite happy with, to the point where they went to court and said they would be happy to work with him again on the same basis), is only something we do to Trump.’

    People need to wake the fuck up because this is happening, right now.

    Here too:

    They 1000% want the kill switches. They just won’t use them for everyone.

  14. @anon

    Tbf, the South Atlantic territories are specifically excluded from NATO

    I was saying this just the other day as I was swimming in the Atlantic just off the cost of Ukraine.

  15. Ronnie realised that Maggie was his Bestie. They replenished our stocks of Sidewinders at cut price, for instance. He could not directly intervene, having just had his arse burned in Lebanon and both UK and Argieland were supposed allies.

    Biden and his Obamites do not think that way.

  16. The real benefit was – Ronnie and Caspar told RN (especially, but all UK armed forces) “Here’s the phone numbers of the US military depots. Help yourselves”. This was done at the level of Lt Commander/Commander the level at which people still actually do things.

    Pops was Commodore in DC at the time. It wasn’t this missile, or that torpedo. It was everything – this nut, that bolt, helicopter gearbox, just everything.

  17. @Interested

    “I was saying this just the other day as I was swimming in the Atlantic just off the cost of Ukraine.”

    Hah! But seriously, no. Did you ever read the North Atlantic Treaty? Europe is specifically included. North America is specifically included. Plus a handful of other places. It’s all in article 6:

    on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France[2], on the territory of Turkey or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;

    Footnote [2] points out “On January 16, 1963, the North Atlantic Council noted that insofar as the former Algerian Departments of France were concerned, the relevant clauses of this Treaty had become inapplicable as from July 3, 1962.”

    Ukraine is in the European zone covered by the treaty (yes it’s not protected itself, since it’s not a member, but the point is that if e.g. Australia joined NATO you’d have had to rescope the geographical area covered in Art 6), Ukraine borders NATO states, and Ukraine is currently being invaded by a country whose politicians semi-regularly threaten to invade other NATO states, and whose intelligence services have in recent years carried out killings and the destruction of arms depots (plus one attempted coup d’etat) inside NATO states. If in response to that NATO closed its eyes, stuck its fingers in its ears, and wibbled around saying “la-la-la, can’t hear you”, it would be failing to do its job.

    The Falklands on the other hand was very deliberately excluded from NATO’s remit, and nobody expected NATO per se to do a damned thing about it.

  18. @Otto/Tim

    Yeah it wasn’t just the Five Eyes stuff in fairness. Considering the US was also more-than-nominally allied with Argentina (I believe they provided satellite data to both parties to the conflict under their various arrangements!) obviously they couldn’t fight themselves. I only cited Five Eyes because, unlike NATO, it was a formal part of our relationship with the US that, unlike NATO, did apply in that conflict. And America did stick to its word, which is contrary to what some people in the thread seem to be suggesting. A lot of the help was beyond formal agreement – even in intelligence, I believe we got some intelligence decrypts that went beyond normal Five Eyes sharing, for example – and as has been said above, that did depend a lot on the personal whims of that administration, so no guarantees it’ll hold good next time. On the other hand, the stuff which is formally mandated for them to share, I expect we’ll still get.

  19. Considering how often my Polestar drops its Internet connection and has to be reset I wouldn’t rely on Chinese kit to be doing constant surveillance or having a reliable kill switch.

  20. Bloke in North Dorset

    Like it or not the Falklands are a disputed border and as such would never be part of the Article 5 protected area.

    As Anon and Tim say, the US went beyond what it was obliged to do, even delaying satellite and weather data they were contracted to send to Argentina.

  21. @Anon

    Yes, I was being slightly tongue in cheek. But there is a serious point there too – NATO should have closed down when the USSR collapsed. It’s NATO expansion which is creating the conditions for what might develop into WWIII.

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