President Trump’s administration released the new “United States Strategic Approach to The People’s Republic of China.” This official document is more on point and timelier than any seen in decades. It’s impressive, and Beijing’s bad behavior is nothing new to Liberty Nation. It addresses the country’s pariah-like actions and puts the U.S.-China relationship under the microscope. Responding to a requirement in the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, the new strategic approach reflects a whole-of-government response.
The spotlight of United States foreign policy strategy is re-focused on a relationship with China that has run hot and cold since the U.S. first established diplomatic relations in 1979. Whatever the hopes were for a mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries have been thwarted consistently by Beijing’s all too often aggressive march toward economic and military dominance. As the introduction to the new China strategy document, what was anticipated to be a convergence of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) “rapid economic development and increased engagement with the world” and a “citizen-centric, free, and open order” has not happened. Just the opposite has been the case. China eschews any semblance of what was hoped for, but instead has chosen to “exploit the free and open rules-based order and attempt to reshape the international system in its favor.”
Among the crucial factors in the approach are a complete consistency and integrated narrative with the National Security Strategy (NSS). But unlike the NSS, this focuses on China independently rather than as part of an aggregate of global competitors. The old view of the PRC is out, and a more “clear-eyed assessment of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) intentions and actions” is in. The Trump Administration calls out the duplicity and CCP-speak in General Secretary Xi Jinping’s comments in 2017 at the Nineteenth National Congress of the CCP when he explained his vision for the way ahead for China under “Socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Chinese Dream.” What the General Secretary really means is a one-party dictatorship, a Beijing-run economy, science and technology serving the government, and all individual rights “to serve CCP ends.” Let there be no mistake. No one is confused by the Platonesque sounding phrases like “building a community of common destiny for mankind.” But it does bring to mind a utopian existence. Think about it. A “community of common destiny,” not just for a few, or thousands, but for “all mankind.” Wow. You lingering flowerchildren of the 60s, you’re thinking where do I sign up? But just a minute, the China strategy explains what the words really mean. It reveals Beijing’s desire to:
“…compel ideological conformity at home, however, present an unsettling picture of what a CCP-led ‘community’ looks like in practice: (1) an anti-corruption campaign that purged political opposition: (2) unjust prosecutions of bloggers, activists, and lawyers; (3) algorithmically determined arrests of ethnic and religious minorities; (4) stringent controls over and censorship of information, media, universities, businesses, and non-governmental organizations; (5) surveillance and social credit scoring of citizens, corporations, and organizations; and (6) and arbitrary detention, torture, and abuse of people perceived to be dissidents.”
Those arrests and detentions of religious minorities include “more than a million Uighurs” as well as persecution of Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, Muslims,” and others. But Beijing’s CCP doesn’t exercise its repressive activities on just its citizens inside China. The PRC has made significant efforts to spread Beijing’s communist “influence over discourse and behavior” globally. As the new China strategy explains, “China’s party-state controls the world’s most heavily resourced set of propaganda tools. Beijing communicates its narrative through state-run television, print, radio, and online organizations whose presence is proliferating in the United States and around the world.”
Consistent with the new approach and the National Security Strategy – and to help stem the tide of Chinese propaganda in the U.S. – the Department of Justice (DOJ) has forced China Global Television Network, an arm of China Central Television (CCTV), to register as an agent of a foreign power under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. According to a Foreign Policy article by Elias Groll, “Chinese Media Targeted in Foreign Agent Crackdown,” CCTV offering token resistance maintained the Chinese media outlet “exercises editorial independence.” Nonetheless, CCTV complied with the order.
Americans have experienced firsthand the predatory, lousy behavior of China in numerous ways, from stolen intellectual property, withheld vital information that might have helped slow the COVID-19 pandemic, and dangerous and potentially deadly adventurism in the South China Sea, to attempting to steal data from pharmaceutical companies working on treatments and vaccines to cure the Coronavirus pandemic. The United States now has a comprehensive strategic approach that “understands and responds to the leaders of the world’s most populous country and second-largest national economy.” The approach is a “re-evaluation” of previous foreign policy with regards to China that states the U.S will approach China in the future with “a tolerance of greater bilateral friction.” When it comes to facing the Dragon, the Trump Administration is definitely not cowering in place.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
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