In January the US and allies agreed a plan to cut off Chinese access to high-end chip-making machinery to limit Beijing’s ability to make smart weapons and advance in generative AI. Eight months on something akin to a Friday-night crush at an especially exclusive nightclub is underway. Chinese imports of said machinery are up, not down. The FT says China spent $5 billion on ultra-sophisticated chip makers in the last two months alone, up 70 per cent on the same two months last year. Most of the machines come from Japan and the Netherlands, whose ASML is a world leader in the giant laser lithography equipment needed to etch silicon wafers at near-atomic levels of miniaturisation. Between May and July, Chinese imports of Dutch chip-making equipment doubled. ASML said in January it didn’t expect the new export restrictions to affect its targets for 2023, but those targets seem to have been exceeded as regional and national Chinese concerns race to get their orders filled before it’s too late. Whatever next? More AI-powered bots for Chinese commerce, or more AI-guided missiles aimed at Taiwan?