China’s global reputation and standing took a hit in 2020, creating new tensions with the United States and the West amid accusations of human rights violations, the coverup of coronavirus, and their expanding economic sphere of influence. Those tensions will likely continue through 2021.
China’s opacity surrounding its handling of the coronavirus is continuing, as researchers working on identifying the origin of the virus must have their data and research signed off on by the Chinese government.
- Wet markets (the likely origin of the virus), the discovery of transmissibility between humans, and the celebration of the doctor who sounded the early alarms on coronavirus were all missing from a Chinese exhibit detailing the government’s efforts to stop the disease.
- While a new strain of coronavirus has appeared in China and other nations, Beijing is downplaying it, saying the new vaccine created and approved by the Chinese will still be effective.
- On the economic front, while the United States and China struck a “phase one” trade deal in mid-January last year, the relationship through the pandemic and other issues.
- The Trump Administration’s efforts to ban the mobile video app TikTok, even during the final days of his presidency, citing national security concerns over its strong ties to the Chinese government, was met with China considering barring foreign companies from operating inside its borders.
- While US-Chinese relations have faltered, China recently signed a trade pact with the European Union, which it considers a diplomatic win to box in the incoming Biden administration.
- Several European nations protested the agreement, saying the deal ignores concerns about forced labor and human rights violations and that the incoming Biden Administration should have been consulted on the pact.
- China’s military muscle-flexing has caught the attention of Taiwan’s president, who warned of China’s increased presencein the Taiwan Strait. China recently protested the movement of American warships through the Strait, which are considered international waters.
- American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also criticized China over its imprisonment of journalist Zhang Zhan and a group of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, calling Beijing “a fragile dictatorship afraid of its own people.”
- China has also been accused targeting American troops in Afghanistan after recent intelligence was declassified suggesting the communist regime offered bounties to terrorists for killing American soldiers.
- The New York Times reported on the New York Stock Exchange delisting a trio of Chinese telecommunications companies with strong ties to China’s defense ministry, though saying it will have little economic impact on the state-owned enterprises.
- A CNN analysis of the EU-China trade deal suggests President-elect Biden could face headwinds in countering China if the European continent is moving closer to China economically.
- CNBC characterized the EU-China agreement positively, citing increased market access and a pledge to stop the coerced transfer of technology and intellectual property for companies that want to do business in China.
- An opinion column by Glenn Reynolds in the New York Post with a long list of examples of China’s disruptive activities, arguing China, not Russia, is our greatest threat and questioning if the incoming Biden administration is up to the task.
- National Review published an op-ed arguing that the West must be ready to confront China as its grip on its economic arms and largest corporations tightens, saying all Chinese companies “should be treated as part of a single, government-controlled entity for purposes or litigation and regulation.”
- The Federalist aimed its sights on NBC News for reporting “that reads as explicit Chinese propaganda” in retelling the past year’s coronavirus pandemic relying on accounts and data from the Chinese Communist Party while blasting President Trump.
- Meanwhile, former presidential speechwriter and current Wall Street Journal columnist Bill McGurn warned of China’s extensive influence campaign, citing Rep Eric Swalwell’s Chinese honey trap scandal and Hunter Biden’s Chinese business ties.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021