A top-ranking Chinese cyberofficial has warned his countrymen about the dangers of relying on American technology.

Shen Changxiang, a 74-year-old former military engineer, told his compatriots to be wary of technologies coming from the United States. His statement has however drawn scrutiny, for as of Dec. 2014, Shen has himself has been working for an American tech-giant — International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

Shen's responsibilities to IBM involve helping a little Chinese company named Teamsun to absorb and continue to develop the key technologies IBM has licensed to it.

IBM was given permission by the U.S. government under export laws to provide Beijing-based Teamsun with a partial blueprint of its higher-end servers and their corresponding software. Shen's role as the Chinese government's lead scientist overseeing the project is to make sure that Teamsun develops a complete supply chain of software and computers to match IBM's own products.

The Chinese government's goal is to improve its local technological industry so the country will no longer be dependent on American tech products, thereby eliminating possible security breaches.

Critics of IBM's recent actions in China claimed that the tech company's project will force other companies to follow suit in order to stay competitive in the Chinese market.

James A. Lewis, an analyst for the Center for Strategic and International Studies said some people are angry at what they view as accommodation in IBM's partnership with the Chinese.

He added that the move is to be expected since the American government is pushing for an agreement.

IBM, however, argued that it is simply following up on the agreement set in the Open Power program that began in 2013. The program, established by 120 member companies including Google and Samsung, aims to provide the technology needed to initiate partnership and business opportunities.

"Our Open Power partners in China are getting access to the same technology that we make available to all Open Power members around the world," Edward Barbini, IBM's spokesman, said.

Barbini explained that IBM has been transparent with their stakeholders, including the Obama administration, regarding their plans to expand their efforts with Open Power and IBM's technology partnerships in different countries.

IBM has other ongoing business projects in China, one of which involves agreeing to license an advanced chip technology for servers to another Chinese company, Suzhou PowerCore.

The company also said that it has spoken with clients regarding the creation of local encryption for over its z13 mainframe computer. This is viewed as a particular benefit to China as proposed security has required local companies to provide encryption keys or follow the standards set for domestic Chinese encryption.

Photo: Claus Rebler | Flickr

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