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Art by Annie Gugliotta

What does a US-China reset mean for Canada?

A breakthrough in US-China relations is signaling a possible detente. Earlier this week, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo visited her counterpart Wang Wentao in Beijing to discuss smoothing trade relations. While the Biden administration is still committed to trade and security restrictions on China, it’s hoping to open space for more trade on consumer goods while “de-risking” the relationship between the countries – meaning reducing the chances of an accident or misunderstanding escalating into a full-blown crisis. For its part, Canada, as always, is following in the wake of the big powers.

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China’s tech crackdown & the Jack Ma problem
China’s tech crackdown & the Jack Ma problem | GZERO World

China’s tech crackdown & the Jack Ma problem

Is the Communist Party losing support in China?

On GZERO World with Ian Bremmer, Shaun Rein, founder and managing director of the China Market Research Group, explains why wealthy Chinese citizens fear that the country is moving towards socialism and is no longer pro-business as it was in the past.

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U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff walk to a helicopter on their way to Cape Coast in Accra, Ghana, Tuesday March 28, 2023.

Misper Apawu/Pool via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Zambia warns against anti-LGBTQ protests, AI scares tech leaders

Zambia warns against anti-LGBTQ protests ahead of Harris’s arrival

Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema is warning against anti-LGBTQ protests ahead of US Veep Kamala Harris’s visit Friday, part of a three-nation Africa tour aimed at shoring up US relations across Africa.

While in Lusaka, Harris will (virtually) address the Summit for Democracy, a Biden-crafted international conference designed to bolster democratic institutions and norms amid rising global authoritarianism. But dozens of Zambian opposition MPs claim the summit also aims to introduce gay rights to the country.

The opposition Patriotic Front Party reportedly plans to hold protests before the summit, but Hichilema has called for calm and for a dialogue with his opponents. Earlier this month, he vowed to maintain Zambia’s laws criminalizing consensual same-sex acts, which carry a life sentence.

This isn’t the first time gay rights have come up during Harris’s tour. In Ghana, she noted that LGBTQ rights are human rights but did not discuss the proposed Ghanaian bill to criminalize LGBTQ identification and advocacy. Harris’s visit also follows Uganda’s adoption last week of a draconian law that criminalizes identifying as LGBTQ, which could involve the death penalty in some cases.

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Jess Frampton

Washington watches as Beijing bargains

China announced last Friday it had brokered a deal to restore diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia for the first time in seven years. Beijing will also reportedly host a summit later this year, bringing together representatives from Iran and the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. Like all early stage diplomatic breakthroughs, this one remains fragile. It will take at least two months to hammer out details, and Iranians and Saudis aren’t about to become fast friends. But President Xi Jinping wouldn’t trumpet this news unless he believed all relevant parties were sincerely interested in an agreement of substance.

This is something Joe Biden might call a “big F deal.”

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A central processing unit (CPU) semiconductor chip is displayed among flags of China and U.S., February 17, 2023.

REUTERS/Florence Lo

What We're Watching: US-China tech race, Ukraine-Russia confusion, Greek train politics, world's most populous "country"

Who's winning the US-China tech race?

China is now ahead of the US in 37 out of 44 types of advanced technology, according to a new report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. These include artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and robotics — all key to winning the race to dominate global tech. Beijing is finally reaping the benefits of decades and vast sums of money invested in scientific research, a priority for Xi Jinping. So, can China declare victory? Not so fast. The study points out that it’s not easy to turn cutting-edge research milestones into manufacturing prowess. In other words, the Chinese might have acquired the technology to make the most advanced quantum computers in the world, but the country still lacks the capacity to mass-produce them at the same quality standards as less powerful American-made models (this applies, for instance, to semiconductors). For now, at least, China is not yet eating America's tech lunch.

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How democracies nurture the growth of artificial intelligence
How Democracies Nurture the Growth of Artificial Intelligence | Global Stage | GZERO Media

How democracies nurture the growth of artificial intelligence

China wants order to beat the US in the race to dominate artificial intelligence. But open-ended research? No way — and that's a problem for Beijing.

"If you are in a society where there are certain things that you can't ask, you don't know what you can't ask, and the penalty for asking those things you don't know that you can't ask is very high ... it will start to limit the capabilities of researchers to explore," Azeem Azhar, founder of the Exponential View newsletter, says in a Global Stage livestream conversation hosted by GZERO in partnership with Microsoft.

Meanwhile, he adds, the US or Europe are freer societies where culture wars hurting academic freedom are the biggest threat to AI research.

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Luisa Vieira

The Graphic Truth — US vs. China: Who invests more in Africa?

Twenty years ago, the US was the largest single outside investor in Africa, by a huge margin. How times have changed. After peaking in 2009, American foreign direct investment — an ownership stake in a company or project made by an investor, company, or government from another country — was overtaken by China, now the biggest source of FDI on the continent. In recent years the US has narrowed the gap some, particularly as Beijing has become both warier of the bad optics of so-called “debt-trap diplomacy” and more focused on its own economic challenges at home. Here we look at net FDI flows from the US and China to Africa since 2003.

Will China determine the fate of the world?
Will China Determine the Fate of the World? | GZERO World

Will China determine the fate of the world?

Who's the most powerful person on the planet right now? Xi Jinping, who just got a third term as boss of China's ruling Communist Party and got all his loyalists appointed to the CCP's top decision-making body. But having so much power comes with big tradeoffs.

Zero-COVID is saving Chinese lives, yet killing the Chinese economy. And Xi is feeling the heat from his increasingly muscular foreign policy.

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer speaks to Antoine van Agtmael, the investor who coined the term "emerging markets" and knows a thing or two about China. He believes China is now the second largest economy in the world and soon to surpass the largest, the United States.

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