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President Trump’s China Policy

President Trump’s China Policy

By Governor Pete Ricketts

October 27, 2020


Governor’s official photo here


Over the past four years, President Donald J. Trump has adopted a tough, principled stand against China’s communist regime.  During his time in the White House, President Trump has been unafraid to call out the Chinese Communist Party and the government—the People’s Republic of China (PRC)—for its responsibility for the global pandemic, human rights abuses, and unfair trade practices.


Ever since the coronavirus spread around the world, President Trump has demanded that world leaders hold the PRC accountable for the severity of the pandemic.  Experts agree that evidence points to Wuhan, China as the source of the virus.  Instead of ringing alarm bells about the initial outbreak, Chinese Communist Party officials covered up the spread of the virus.  Their secrecy deprived the international community of crucial information needed to slow the spread of the virus.  To hide the true source of the virus, the PRC even circulated a bizarre conspiracy theory accusing the U.S. Army of having introduced it to Wuhan.  President Trump hasn’t let the Chinese government off the hook for the way it suppressed information that allowed the coronavirus to spread around the globe.   


As it became apparent that the virus was a growing threat, President Trump took quick action to halt travel from China to the U.S. on January 31, 2020.  This early decision slowed the spread of the virus in the United States and bought valuable time for health officials to prepare for it.  Yet at the time, many criticized the President’s travel ban.  The day after the White House announced the ban, former Vice President Joe Biden rashly accused President Trump of being motivated by “hysteria.”  Given what is now commonly known about the virus, it’s clear that President Trump’s wise foresight to stop travel from China saved American lives.


Even as the world deals with the coronavirus, President Trump has been an outspoken critic of the PRC’s record on human rights, denouncing it for oppressing minorities in Mainland China and for violating basic political freedoms in Hong Kong.  In July 2020, the Trump Administration imposed sanctions on high-ranking officials within China’s ruling Communist Party for their role in the persecution of Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other minority groups.  The PRC has forced up to one million Uighurs to live in concentration camps, where they are indoctrinated with PRC propaganda, made to do hard labor, and reportedly undergo forced sterilizations.  In addition to the mass detentions, the PRC is engaging in intrusive surveillance of minority groups to identify and root out dissent.  Other countries are following President Trump’s leadership in denouncing this vile treatment, as just last week the Canadian parliament urged sanctions against the PRC.


While placing ethnic minorities in camps, the PRC has stepped up religious persecution as well.  According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, “Religious freedom conditions in China continue to deteriorate.  The communist Chinese government has created a high-tech surveillance state, utilizing facial recognition and artificial intelligence to monitor and harass Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, Falon Gong, and other religions.”  The Trump Administration has repeatedly condemned the PRC’s religious repression.  On June 2nd, President Trump signed an executive order to ramp up U.S. efforts to promote religious freedom as a key American foreign policy priority.


Even though Hong Kong is supposed to retain a high level of autonomy for decades to come, the PRC has also cracked down on political dissent in the territory.  Under the premise of protecting “national security,” the Communist regime enacted a law in June to enable its agents to round up and imprison critics of China’s one-party Communist government.  In response to these abuses, President Trump signed an executive order in July to place sanctions on government officials in Hong Kong who undermine political rights.  The President also eliminated tariff exemptions given to Hong Kong in 1992, now that its government has come under the influence of the Chinese Communist Party headquartered in Beijing.


While confronting the PRC’s assault on human rights, the President has also exposed communist China’s unfair trade practices.  In recent years, the PRC has engaged in cyberattacks, intellectual property theft, and espionage all with the aim of gaining the upper hand over the U.S.  The PRC has stolen everything from trade secrets to confidential military information to university research.  According to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the FBI opens a China-related intellectual property theft case about one every 10 hours.  In 2018, President Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese goods as a wakeup call to the PRC that its misbehavior will no longer be tolerated.  The Trump administration has also correctly sought to address China’s overreach in official bodies such as the World Trade Organization, calling on the body to strip China of its developing country status.  In August 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department declared that China’s government has also been manipulating currency values to gain an unfair economic edge.  The Chinese government has been actively working to undermine the United States for years.  President Trump recognizes the challenge and is committed to countering the PRC’s aggression. 


With over a billion people and the world’s second-largest economy, China has the potential to be a great trading partner for the United States, but it needs to take meaningful actions, such as respecting human rights and fully implementing the Phase One trade deal it inked with President Trump.  According to recent reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, significant progress has been made on this front.  U.S. corn sales to China are at an all-time high.  Soybean sales are the strongest they’ve ever been.  And beef exports are triple what they were in 2017.  These results are a testament to President Trump’s leadership and the success of his foreign policy towards China.


If you have questions about the future of U.S.-China relations, please email or call 402-471-2244.  Nebraskans want to expand trade and share our prosperity.  We know, however, that the best way to grow the Good Life is to stick to our principles.