United States must address economic intimidation and human rights abuses from China


No one in their right mind wants another cold war, and certainly not a war with what will soon be the world’s largest economy.

In poker terms, however, you could say that China is trying to play its chip stack, and the world needs to push back.

After integrating into the global economy, President Xi Jinping is betting the world will let him get away with rewriting not only the rules of the World Trade Organization for doing business, but also the fundamentals of international law.

Most Americans are aware of China’s illegal business practices. The national regime and local governments subsidize businesses that lose money to export products abroad and sell them for less than their cost of production. WTO rules expressly prohibit such behavior, but proving it and collecting tariffs takes years of litigation.

The Biden administration has maintained the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the previous administration, but the list of unfair trade practices grows daily.

Xi’s “Made in China 2025The strategy explicitly calls on the government to use grants, state-owned enterprises and intellectual property acquisitions to outperform the West in research and development. But while China is happy to export its technology, it bans imports of premium products, according to a report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a science and technology policy think tank.

“China is not engaged in anything, even remotely, of ‘free trade’, in particular with regard to its high technology sectors,” said Robert Atkinson, president of the foundation. “China’s unique goal of dominating the world market in strategically important industries by any means necessary undermines the global trading system and comes at the expense of future waves of innovation.”

Atkinson search found the Communist government’s preference for Huawei and ZTE telecommunications equipment has excluded foreign competitors from lucrative Chinese contracts. Yet the Chinese go mad when foreign governments refuse to buy Huawei equipment due to cybersecurity concerns.

According to the analysis, Chinese support for home solar power equipment has made it almost impossible to compete for foreign factories. The government‘s indifference to intellectual property theft around semiconductors has given Chinese companies a head start over US patent holders.

“China’s innovation commercialism not only threatens the US economy and national security – it affects the entire world as it undermines innovation in a wide range of sectors,” Atkinson concluded. “If we want a robust rate of technological innovation, then the whole world has an interest in putting pressure on China to reverse its commercialism of innovation and replace it with an efficient and undistorted innovation policy.”

Cheating on international trade is not China’s only sin. The Communist government is also questioning fundamental principles of international law, including respect for international borders and the prohibition of genocide.

By now, most Westerners understand that the Communist Party is trying to wipe out entire cultures, ranging from representative democracy in Hong Kong, to Islam in Xinjiang, to Buddhism in Tibet, and to nomadism in Mongolia. Communist parties have sought to forcibly assimilate people into an international proletariat for over a century.

Xi doesn’t just change countries. His government rejected centuries-old principles of the law of the sea to claim the entire South China Sea as its own, including the islands claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines.

The Chinese navy has built man-made islands in the middle of the sea to make illegal territorial claims, but it is more than showing military force. The bottom of the South China Sea is dotted with mineral nodules filled with rare earths, the items needed for batteries, turbines and advanced semiconductors.

China is already the world’s largest producer of rare earths and Xi plans to make the world dependent on his country.

Look just about anywhere in the world, and you’ll see Chinese officials bullying a government: a land grab in Bhutan, fighter jets in Taiwanese airspace, an expensive port project in Pakistan, a military base. in Djibouti. Fleets of hundreds of Chinese fishing boats invade the waters of South American nations, knowing that they have no navy to stop them.

American and European companies are already bowing deeply to Chinese rules and regulations. No US leader will dare to speak out against human rights violations or unfair business practices after Xi punished the NBA because a Houston Rockets leader tweeted about democracy in Hong Kong.

The United States and the European Union are the only checks and balances to China’s growing global influence. EU suspended trade agreement with China last week on these concerns.

Leaders are starting to denounce Chinese crimes against humanity, illegal business practices and violations of international law. No one wants another cold war, but Xi can’t give us a choice.

Tomlinson writes commentary on business, economics and politics.


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