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The US’s Top Ten Questions on China in the Year of the Ox

When we start the Year of the Ox and a new US administration takes office, China occupies a large place in the US imagination. Many people seem concerned about the future of US relations with one of the largest countries in the world where nearly a fifth of humanity seems to benefit from a growing economy and developing technology under a communist government.

UCS hosted an event to talk about What’s Happening in China and invited our 500,000 members and supporters to submit their most pressing questions. Here are the top ten.

Question 10: What can be done about the Chinese government’s human rights violations in Xinjiang and Tibet?

Whatever the historical, sociological or political conditions, or how difficult China’s economic and governance problems may be, there is no reason why the Chinese government suppresses citizens in Xinjiang and Tibet, as the US government admits. People’s Republic (PRC).

It is important to draw attention to political pressure. It provides a sense of comfort, hope and solidarity to the oppressed. And there is a possibility that US expressions of concern may eventually lead the Chinese Communist Party leadership to change its repressive policies in Xinjiang and Tibet.

However, calling China about human rights while describing the US-China relations as a historic rivalry between the so-called “great powers”, the concern that the US will be seen as a US strategy to score points in the war for people in these two regions is the global impact. This will likely be less effective.

Question 9: Why is the Chinese government interfering with Hong Kong and how should the government of the United States respond?

The UK claimed Hong Kong as compensation after defeating the Qing Dynasty in the 1840 Opium War. Britain ruled Hong Kong undemocratically as a British royal colony for the next 156 years. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher agreed to return the island to the PRC in September 1984. The official transfer took place on 1 July 1997. The United States government has recognized that Hong Kong is part of the PRC.

China and the UK signed a Joint Statement calling for the promulgation of a fundamental law that will guide how Hong Kong will be governed after its handover. The Chinese government claims to have introduced a new security law, and the actions taken to enforce it are in line with the basic law. British officials claim this is in breach of China’s international obligations under the Joint Declaration. Who can interpret the basic law? The basic law entrusts this power to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, which adopts the new security law for Hong Kong.

As with human rights violations in other parts of the PRC, US expressions of concern are important sources of support for victims, and can lead to positive change if these attempts to respect universal human rights are not viewed as part of a competition for global impact.

Question 8: Is China stealing US intellectual property?

Yes, and quite a lot. There are countless examples that include everything from massive construction equipment to snippets of computer code. Official US estimates claim that Chinese IP theft costs US companies 250 to 600 billion dollars annually. The PRC government appears to allow foreign intellectual property rights to Chinese companies in violation of agreements with foreign governments.

IP theft is not a new way to move forward. It has been a part of intellectual and commercial life since ancient times. The United States government adopted the same reckless attitude towards IP theft in the golden age of its industrial development in the late 19th.pearl century.

Question 7: Will the new administration change the US economic policy towards China?

Nobody can predict the future. China’s communist leaders began pursuing new economic policies aimed at making the PRC less dependent on the existing international financial system after its sudden collapse in 2008. The Obama administration has responded with new trade policies aimed at reshaping international trade in ways that encourage China to rethink. new policies. President Trump has chosen tariffs and other trade barriers as part of his strategy to separate the US and Chinese economies. The current expectation is that the incoming administration may adopt some combination of the two policies followed by its late predecessors.

Question 6: How does the US-China relationship affect global progress in climate change?

PRC leaders will continue to act aggressively to move the Chinese economy and society on a more sustainable and climate-friendly path, whether US-China relations improve or not. They believe that choosing this path serves their local and international interests. More US-China cooperation will likely address the climate problem more effectively than making it another area of ​​US-China competition.

Question 5: Is China a leader in environmental protection or is it behind?

It is difficult to say. China was late for the industrial revolution and, until recently, progressed more slowly. The Chinese people’s awareness of environmental issues lags behind other nations, but it invests significant resources in environmental education. The Chinese Communist Party has a high degree of control over the Chinese economy and Chinese society and uses its authority to improve China’s environment. However, at the same time, the party’s pressure for freedom of expression and independent research limits public participation. The absence of an independent judiciary creates opportunities for powerful interests to break environmental laws.

Question 4: What is China’s Belt and Road Initiative and how does it affect China and the United States’ relations with Africa and other parts of the world?

The “Belt and Road Initiative” is a political term used to describe a set of Chinese economic policies aimed at integrating China with the rest of the world. Transport infrastructure projects are a central part of the initiative. Many observers inside and outside of China describe these projects as an attempt to rebuild the ancient Silk Road trade routes linking Europe, Asia and Africa.

Relations between PRC and Africa date back decades before the Belt and Road Initiative. The votes of the newly independent African nations that were liberated from European colonial rule gave the PRC the majority it needed to reclaim China’s seat in the United Nations from the rival Chinese government in Taiwan in 1971. Thousands of scholarships were awarded to African students in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of the graduates now play influential roles in African governments and economies.

The United States does not need to compete with China in Africa. It can use the infrastructure that China helps develop to complement Chinese investments in various fields for the benefit of all parties. Making Africa a political and economic battleground in the global competition between China and the United States and forcing African governments to choose sides will have the opposite effect.

Question 3: How can the US have a less confrontational and more productive relationship with China?

There are three important steps the US can take to improve US-China relations. The first is to stop seeing the relationship as a zero-sum competition between the so-called “great powers.” This perspective, a product of abstract debates among students of international relations theory, assumes that there must be a winner and a loser, the prescription of conflict and war.

The second step is to base the US-China relationship on openness rather than uncertainty. The US-China agreement on Taiwan is the basis of the diplomatic relationship between the PRC and the USA, established in 1979. The US executive has been dishonest with the US Congress and the US public about its commitments to PRC leaders. State of Taiwan. Successive US presidents told Chinese leaders that the US had accepted Taiwan as part of China, but later told Congress and the US public that the problem was not resolved. Tension over Taiwan is a major cause of military congestion in East Asia. Honest and transparent negotiations on how to resolve the Taiwan issue to the satisfaction of all parties are a precondition for peace in the region.

The third step is for the US government to break with the past. Since the late 19th century, US policy on China has been based on the assumption that the United States could somehow help reform China. The US government and the US public must admit that China is not their own to change. US officials need to establish a working relationship with the China they see in front of them, rather than a China they hope to see in the future.

Question 2: Why are there disagreements with China over claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea?

Territorial disputes in the South China Sea go back thousands of years. Every nation with competing claims has taken steps that make others uncomfortable. PRC’s claims have been public knowledge since the PRC published its first official map in 1955. China’s economic development has only brought these conflicts into focus in recent years.

An important source of tension is the control of very efficient fishing in the South China Sea. Increasing Chinese incomes increased China’s demand for seafood. This has led to a significant expansion of commercial fishing in China and the greater use of Chinese coastguards to protect Chinese fishing in disputed waters.

The growing military rivalry between the US and China has also led to a dramatic increase in the activity of the US and Chinese navies in the region. The different interpretations of international laws governing what defines their territorial waters are a complex factor. China is building coral islands in the region to support its sovereign claims.

Promoting negotiations between all rival states is the best way to resolve regional disputes and manage fishing.

Question 1: How great is the risk of war between China and the United States?

The risk of war between the United States and China is greater than at any time since the Taiwan Strait Crisis of the 1950s. For a number of reasons, Taiwan is once again becoming a source of blame that could lead to a military conflict.

The key question is whether Taiwan, officially called the Republic of China (MOST), will require an official declaration of independence from China. The government of the PRC passed an anti-secession law that says “if the possibilities for peaceful reunification are completely exhausted, the state will use non-peaceful means.” PRC leaders believe that the current Taiwan government, led by President Tsai Ying-wen, is reluctant to negotiate in good faith based on past PRC-ROC agreements. PRC leaders may interpret Tsai’s reluctance to accept past treaties and his claim that Taiwan is already an independent country, as meeting this legal requirement. If PRC leaders decide to act on this interpretation, US leaders may feel compelled to try to stop them by non-peaceful means, under the provisions of US domestic law called the Taiwan Relations Act.

The United States and China would fight over Taiwan.

If necessary, both countries are currently preparing for a war on Taiwan’s status. Both sides have nuclear weapons. China has announced that it will not use them first under any circumstances, but US policy allows for the first use of nuclear weapons if victory cannot be guaranteed by other means. China promised to retaliate if shot first. Therefore, a nuclear war between China and the US is possible, although unlikely, due to Taiwan’s status.

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