President Trump – in a May 28 press conference – pulled no punches in describing China’s dishonesty, manipulation of facts, and repression. In terms reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s assessments of Soviet Russia, Trump questioned the communist nation’s legitimacy. He also imposed consequences for bad acts – another new idea. Mainstream media hates this anti-China turn – as they hated Reagan’s blunt talk about the Soviet Union. Still, it is right.
The trigger – or straw that broke diplomacy’s back – was China’s crackdown on Hong Kong’s autonomy, ending terms agreed decades ago. Among the terms were legal and political independence and universal suffrage – a promise that never materialized. Click here or here for examples.
Trump was comprehensive in fingering China. He named violations of international law and human rights, including responsibility for COVID-19’s 350,000 deaths and 80 trillion dollars in global economic damage (see example,) violations of sovereignty, maritime and space treaties, interference with international trade routes, militarization of waterways, abuses of multilateral organizations – including the World Bank, World Trade Organization, and World health Organization – and systematic repression of individual liberties.
Factually accurate, flanked by six cabinet members, Trump’s message was clear: Enough is enough. Communist China’s anti-international, anti-diplomatic, rogue behavior must stop. Click, here.
He then took action, including restriction of Chinese access to US capital markets, ending investment of US thrift fund resources – that is, American pensions – in China’s companies, de-coupling from the blundering, China-dominated World Health Organization (click here) imposing sanctions on officials responsible for violating human rights, and ending special privileges for Hong Kong – now that Communist China has retaken it. In short, the President decided to confront China – in a way no recent president has.
As the world wrestles with China’s COVID-19 pandemic, China has pivoted to taking advantage. As a result, President Trump called foul and is seeking global unity in opposition.
China is charging usurious interest rates on nearly $200 billion in loans to more than 60 poor countries, made possible by their borrowing of billions at low interest from the World Bank – in which the US s chief shareholder. This while G-20 countries agreed to suspend interest on all loans to poor countries. See, here.
China has propagated threats to withhold lifesaving pharmaceuticals, shipped defective protective gear to Western countries, and delayed critical supply chains to the United States. See here or here for examples.
China has even ramped up interference with civilian and military shipping in international waters and patrols in international airspace, to which the US has begun responding. See, here.
Trump is stating the obvious: For years, China boldly violated norms of national sovereignty across Asia and Africa, violated international treaties governing land, sea, air and space, ignored requirements set by multilateral institutions, stole US public and private intellectual property, personal and sensitive government information, bought influence in hundreds of US universities, and repressed human rights at home, including speech, religion, assembly, travel, due process, equal protection, unreasonable search and seizure, right to confront witnesses, political kidnapping and incarceration, cruel and unusual punishment, lack of appeals, and denial of personal liberties from privacy and reputation to loss of life.
China has been unapologetic, and – since communist-run – atheist and aggressive. They have assumed the posture of a button-down government, all the while coercing Western companies, stealing intellectual property, hacking public and private databases, offering dependence for cheap labor, plentiful communist capital, and promises of a one-day consumer market.
China accommodated efforts by a vice president on an official trip to facilitate meetings for his son, who emerged with a multi-billion-dollar deal – and had national security implications. See, here.
Reality is that China has gotten away with too much for too long. This American president is the first to say, enough! He wants accountability. Unlike predecessors, he is exacting consequences from China – overtly linking “private” companies with the State, banning Chinese front operations from influence in US universities, scrutinizing educational contributions, tying leaders to illegal actions, and challenging unchallenged Chinese affronts to security and trade.
Perhaps the most under-reported fact is the media’s shock at Trump’s candor – and willingness to impose consequences on this Communist country. Not only has the media forgotten Hunter Biden’s sweetheart deal, they are sufficiently anti-Trump to carry China’s political water.
Accordingly, mainstream outlets give more ink to what China thinks than to Trump’s reasoning on the Chinese illegalities – including e damage inflicted on global health, safety, and security. Reuters says China “bristles” at Trump, the New York Times reports China’s “defiance” of Trump, and the Washington Post says “China vows to ‘smash’ any Taiwan Independence move.” The same media scorched Trump for dropping flights with China early in the coronavirus. See here. Current reporting omits past media errors and pro-China bias.
Bottom line: American foreign policy for decades indulged China, overlooking egregious violations of human rights, international law, global security protocols, economic and political overreach. We pursued a strategy of hope – but hope is not a strategy.
Western leaders imagined giving leeway to Chinese communism – encouraging economic development and overlooking illegalities – would incentivize freedom. It did not. Slow-motion appeasement empowered Chinese communism – making fools of those who thought China would never bite a hand that fed it. Bite hard it has – and hard. Consequences must follow. Some in the media never learn, but China must. Reagan, in time, showed Soviet illegitimacy. Trump is doing that with China.