back to article China shops around US bans to power its nuclear weapons research program

The Chinese agency responsible for developing and maintaining nuclear weapons has reportedly been powered by Intel and Nvidia silicon for at least two years, despite spending over a quarter of a century under a trade ban meant to prevent their use by foreign militaries. According to the Wall Street Journal, the state-backed …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seriously....

    The f*c*i*g chips are made in China. How the f**k does the US government expect to prevent Chinese use of any of these chips?

    1. quadibloc2

      Re: Seriously....

      No, they're not. The People's Republic of China's most advanced chipmaker is SMIC, and while they recently appear to have developed a 7nm process, that process doesn't involve the use of Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography, EUV.

      Advanced western chips from Intel are made in the United States, Israel - and some of them are made for it by TSMC now.

      Some Nvidia chips are made for it by Samsung, and the rest are made by TSMC.

      TSMC is not in the People's Republic of China, and the U.S. can indeed request that the government of the sovereign state in which it is located not allow exports of chips made with their advanced technology to the People's Republic of China. They have made such a request, and that country's government has acceded to that request.

      Of course, there is an understandable possible source of your confusion. TSMC stands for Taiwan Semiconductor. The official name of the country usually referred to as Taiwan is, of course, the Republic of China.

      So in a way, you're correct. Chips made by TSMC are made in the historic nation of China. However, while both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China are part of the historic nation of China, that doesn't mean that they are one country under one government. Even though the People's Republic of China does indeed make a territorial claim to Taiwan.

      The two countries issue their own passports. The People's Republic of China harasses the Republic of China by intruding into its airspace and territorial waters with military airplanes and naval vessels. Xi Jinping is the leader of the People's Republic of China. Tsai Ing-Wen is the leader of the Republic of China.

  2. quadibloc2

    China is a Big Country

    As long as you can walk into a computer store and buy an Nvidia graphics card off the shelf, then obviously people acting on behalf of the Chinese military are going to be able to walk into a computer store and do just that, too. Of course, many of the sanctioned Western devices of interest are for use in servers rather than home computers, which is why shell companies are involved - but of course this sort of thing can be easily done since the government of the PRC obviously has no interest in enforcing U.S. sanctions against its own military.

    Thus, the only real cure is to have a 100% ban on shipping advanced Western technology to anyone in the PRC. Our computers, our smartphones, our video cards, and so on... will just have to be assembled in Malaysia, Indonesia, or India instead of China.

    1. Black Label1
      Black Helicopters

      Re: China is a Big Country

      real cure is to have a 100% ban on shipping advanced Western technology to anyone in the PRC. Our computers, our smartphones, our video cards, and so on... will just have to be assembled in Malaysia, Indonesia, or India instead of China

      .. And yet they will still be easily acquired, putting on top a small "finder's fee"

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: China is a Big Country

        Quite. If by no other method than asking every Chinese student studying in the west to buy a PC with one in, and then ask them bring the PC back with them for Christmas every year and being handed a wad of cash at the airport to buy a replacement.

        Or by paying people in <insert nation here> to buy a bunch in exchange for a wad of cash when they hand them over for onwards shipping. Or any number of other easy ways of getting around things. It's pretty easy to circumvent restrictions like this in a free society for what is effectively a commodity good. When you start getting into specialised gear that only has one supplier that sells a hundred machines a year then it's rather easier to stop, but your never going to stop the Chinese getting their hands on western commodity goods.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Triyng to ban advanced tech...

    .... while also trying to make a lot money in China.

    They have to decide what thye want - one excludes the other. And it could include stopping making money in many other countries with too few controls on exporting to China.

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Man banned from buying baked beans at Tesco

    Tries Asda instead, or Sainsburys, or Waitrose, or the Co... why is this a surprise?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A cluster of commodity desktops these days has the computing power of the fastest machines not very long ago, so I wonder what this achieves

  6. PhilipN Silver badge

    “Ties to the military”

    What does that mean exactly? My Grandad was in the army in WWI. Am I included?

    Let’s face it - Uncle Sam just wants to see an impoverished, non-competitive China.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: “Ties to the military”

      an impoverished, non-competitive China

      Well that would be nice. I'd settle for a China that wasn't a complete pack of totalitarian dicks, but apparently as with Russia, that's not an option.

      1. TheInstigator

        Re: “Ties to the military”

        I agree - but you also realise by definition given we're all human, no country is perfect - including Western ones - they're just better at hiding the dodgy things that they've done (and are doing)

        1. TheInstigator

          Re: “Ties to the military”

          I'm presuming the person who downvoted my comment believes Western Governments do no wrong ever? *cough* IRAQ *cough*

    2. TheInstigator

      Re: “Ties to the military”

      I've always found it funny that the US precluded China from participating in the ISS because their space arm had links to their military arm - and apparently this isn't the case in the US.

      This however, doesn't explain how the USAF managed to develop the X37B indepedently so quickly without NASA's help - and it looks SOOO much like the space shuttle ... surely the USAF and NASA couldn't have been ..... COLLABORATING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      The kicker out of all this is that - even if they were - what are you gonna do about it? ;) and that's why the West continues doing what it does - because they know there are no repercussions to all the dodgy stuff they get up to - invade Iraq, kill the leader, create civil war - and there's absolutely no come back for it

      When you can get away with stuff like that - who exactly do you need to be scared of?

      1. TheInstigator

        Re: “Ties to the military”

        and I'm guessing the person who downvoted this comment doesn't like the facts being stated ;)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's wrong with letting them play bomb simulations?

    Sure I'd rather they didn't bother, but if it keeps them entertained I'd much rather they play war games on computers than for real. A bug in the simulator is probably giving wrong answers anyway.

    1. quadibloc2

      Re: What's wrong with letting them play bomb simulations?

      The bomb simulations the Americans are really worried about are the ones that let them design better real bombs. Not tactical simulations, but physics simulations.

  8. TheInstigator

    I think it's come time to put China in it's place

    They should listen to their masters - and if not they need to be taught a lesson.

    1) Put them on the sanction list along with Syria etc - it may have some impact in the West - but just as the West has ridden it out with Russia - I'm sure they'll find a way to ride out the impact with China too.

    2) If they still don't listen, invade their country or nuclear bomb them back to the stone age

    3) If they still don't listen, place all people of Chinese origin in Western countries in protection camps to ensure their safety and security and well being.

    Although I've said the above as a form of Dystopian nightmare, I can easily imagine some politicians thinking this would be a good idea ... I mean - historically this has worked well right?

    1. Black Label1
      Black Helicopters

      Re: I think it's come time to put China in it's place

      Heil ! :-)

      China also has nukes, so.. let's all chill and behave like adults, sit in a table and talk.

      1. TheInstigator

        Re: I think it's come time to put China in it's place

        I like the first word of your reply - you're getting the idea.

        China might have nukes - but if the world gets together and carpets the whole of China in nukes, they will never get the chance to launch theirs and the West wins by default. I wonder if the world has enough nuclear weapons to cover the entire landmass of China - or enough bullets to bring justice to everyone in China ...

        Of course - that won't be enough - as you'll have all the other Chinese in the world up in arms - hence my idea about camps to ensure they're safe and secure ...

        Job done

        Let's race to the bottom of humanity ....

        1. Black Label1
          Black Helicopters

          Re: I think it's come time to put China in it's place

          "but if the world gets together and carpets the whole of China in nukes"

          You clearly have not heard of the Nuclear Triad

          A nuclear triad is a three-pronged military force structure that consists of land-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear-missile-armed submarines, and strategic aircraft with nuclear bombs and missiles

          Yes, it is technically feasible to wipe out all China's land with nukes. But submarines will assure MAD is in place. Dissuasion at its best.

          Putting it simple, just not. Better sit and talk.

          1. TheInstigator

            Re: I think it's come time to put China in it's place

            You are mistaking my ambition here - I am not after any side to win - I am after the annihilation of the human species - literally MAD actually happening.

            Look at the world around you - do you really think as a species we deserve to inherit the stars? We will simply spread like a virus out there the same way we've done on Earth

            1. Black Label1
              Black Helicopters

              Re: I think it's come time to put China in it's place

              I understand your point of view and I have no arguments against your position, despite my will to procreate myself.

            2. Black Label1
              Black Helicopters

              Re: I think it's come time to put China in it's place

              When I was dating (sex) a biologist a few years ago, she presented me vhemt

              I do not like it or am inclined to it. Just it looks like your ideas, so take a look

              1. TheInstigator

                Re: I think it's come time to put China in it's place

                Thanks - never heard of this movement before - an interesting concept.

                Sometimes when I hear pieces of music which invoke great emotion or am surrounded by good people it is easy to think there is great good in the world - it just seems as the higher up you go in terms of politics, social scale, all the negative attributes of humanity gets promoted rather than the positive.

                I love sex and I'd love to procreate - but if the world were to end in a blaze of nuclear radiation it wouldn't bother me too much - as long as everyone dies - because i firmly believe in equal opportunities.

                I don't care what's between your legs, what your faith is etc etc - if you're a good person - that's the building block I'm looking for

      2. TheInstigator

        Re: I think it's come time to put China in it's place

        Also remember - talking never has really fixed any issue right? Look all around the world - talking didn't end WW1 or WW2 - talking didn't end the troubles in Northern Ireland, or the war in Afghanistan or Iraq

        It's an (un)fortunate fact that humans seem to be very good at killing each other to solve problems - so let's take it to an extreme and see what happens - like a real life "The Purge"

        1. Black Label1
          Black Helicopters

          Re: I think it's come time to put China in it's place

          Not going to happen. If we kill each other we finish earth.

          So lets just talk and solve our problems.

          1. TheInstigator

            Re: I think it's come time to put China in it's place

            Talking never solved anything on its own - violence of action has always been involved.

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