The following is a guest commentary. Emily Jin currently works as a research assistant for the Energy, Economics, and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.
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Media reports from late January indicated that Japan and the Netherlands were prepared to follow the US in applying semiconductor export controls on China — and last week the government of the Netherlands made the first concrete move by announcing export restrictions on advanced immersion DUV systems to China. On February 15, China’s primary trade association for semiconductor firms, the China Semiconductor Industry Association (CSIA), released an official statement condemning the measures. The statement protested the trilateral export controls, warning that such measures would gravely damage the Chinese semiconductor industry and bring harm to the global semiconductor ecosystem. The Chinese statement was then followed by a “suggested translation” (参考译文).
In reality, the English translation did a poor job of conveying the full extent of the trade association’s dismay. A closer reading revealed two important omissions and one mistranslation, together making a strong case that the suggested English translation was intended to appear more calm and tempered in front of an international audience. In fact, the original Chinese statement takes a much more indignant tone, reading more like an impassioned call to action to the Chinese domestic semiconductor industry to get its act together.