China's push for Internet sovereignty gained momentum abroad after Edward Snowden released information about U.S. National Security Agency surveillance programs. Capitalizing on the anti-U.S. sentiment in other authoritarian countries like Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, China wooed developing countries with growing online populations to consider the benefits of control of the Internet.
I approached a man who was cleaning the streets. I introduced myself as a college student from Beijing and asked, "I'm just curious, but what do you think is the 'Chinese Dream'?" He looked at me, his eyes full of alert. After a few seconds, he chuckled awkwardly. "Well, people like me," he looked at the broom in his hand and sighed, "are in no position to answer this question." "But shouldn't the 'Chinese Dream' belong to the Chinese people? What is your dream?" A long silence ensued.
It is not apparent that policymakers in either the U.S. or China yet seem persuaded that accommodation is necessary. Both seem to underestimate the resolve of the other and hope that they can secure all they want because the other will back down to avoid confrontation. This is how Asia today most resembles Europe in 1914.
In the end, Ernst concludes, both the U.S. and China have a strong interest in finding a compromise during the APEC Summit. From the U.S. perspective, a mini ITA-2 without China would be an oxymoron. Not only is China the world biggest smart-phone market, it is also by far the most important market for U.S. semiconductor firms.