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The COVID-19 outbreak that began in Wuhan, China and spread death, massive unemployment and economic dislocation around the world is just the latest example of China’s long history of misconduct in its dealings with the rest of the world.
As of Tuesday night, COVID-19 was responsible for more than 321,000 confirmed deaths worldwide and over 91,000 deaths in the U.S. Confirmed cases of the disease totaled over 4.8 million around the world, including over 1.5 million in the U.S.
China lied to the world about the extent of its COVID-19 outbreak, falsely stated at first that the disease was not easily spread, and refused to cooperate with health experts from the U.S. and other nations trying to understand the nature of the novel coronavirus that causes the deadly disease.
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Many lives could have been saved, hospitalizations could have been averted, and the shutdowns that nations around the world have imposed could have been far less severe if China had not tried to cover up the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak and if it had promptly halted travel by its citizens outside the country.
Given China’s history, no one should be surprised that now the Chinese government is now threatening members of the U.S. Congress who have had the temerity to introduce legislation that would allow U.S. citizens to seek restitution from China for its role in the spread of COVID-19.
We have to face the truth: Chinese hostility to the rest of the world is part of a pattern exhibited by the Communist regime in the years since President Richard Nixon began his ping-pong diplomacy with China in 1971 – leading to the resumption of U.S.-China trade followed by full diplomatic relations in 1978.
In all that time, China hasn’t acted as an international competitor and responsible member of the world community – it has acted like a Cold War enemy and an international outlaw.
The truth is that China has treated its relationship with the U.S. as adversarial for as long as anyone can remember. But we don’t need to cover hundreds of years of history between the West and China. It is only necessary to briefly review the last 50 years.
America has sacrificed millions of jobs, generations of technological advantage, and our economic dominance to China.
In particular, President Bill Clinton’s relaxation of trade restrictions with China was great for U.S. multination corporations, but devastating for American workers. Foreign investment in China nearly tripled in the first decade of this century, while nearly 2.5 million Americans lost their jobs.
Workers in China earn only a small fraction of the wages of U.S. workers, and China doesn’t impose worker safety and environmental standards even close to those in the U.S. All that combines to make it cheaper for companies to manufacture products in China – meaning that jobs have become one of our biggest exports to that nation.
Over the past two decades, the Chinese have flooded the U.S. market with everything from basic electronics, to low-cost consumer goods, to medication and medical supplies – all while buying up more and more of our advanced products along with more of our national debt. This has resulted in the one of the largest international transfers of information, technology and wealth in the history of the world
It is not unreasonable to argue that America has sacrificed millions of jobs, generations of technological advantage, and our economic dominance to China. All of this was done to enable U.S. corporations to make a fast buck by replacing American workers with cheap Chinese labor.
Warning voices were out there – including then-businessman Donald Trump – but academics, globalists, and professional politicians and bureaucrats ignored them.
The list of China’s harmful conduct is longer than space permits to provide here, but to cite just some examples:
The U.S. has given sophisticated rocketry and telemetry science to the Chinese that the Chinese can now use against us.
We educate thousands of Chinese nationals in American universities every year. Most return to their country with U.S. science and technology.
In the meantime, China threatens our hegemony as the world’s currency of exchange.
We have paid for China’s naval buildup. We have built a robust Chinese middle class.
China’s abuses include aggressive and adversarial expansion in the South China Sea. The Chinese use their leverage against smaller neighbors to gain trade advantages.
China is perhaps the world’s biggest polluter, but has insisted on concessions to international agreements that have the effect of permanently excluding China from having to operate under the same environmental restrictions that the European Union and the U.S. must operate under.
China continues to threaten Taiwan.
The recent manipulation of the World Health Organization into muffling warnings about the Wuhan flu outbreak has brought widespread human suffering to the world. Government actions that have stifled economic activity worldwide have created threats of starvation for tens of millions of people.
During our current economic difficulties, China is trying to buy up American businesses.
Chinese companies trading on our stock exchange adamantly refuse to allow audits that are routine and required.
China continues to steal the intellectual property of our companies, or mandate that these companies share important corporate secrets or face serious consequences.
In the meantime, China’s leaders use American big tech and social media companies to oppress their people. Did our high-tech wonks think that tech that they were providing to the Chinese government to spy on the Chinese was merely being used to invade privacy? The domestic intelligence is used by the Chinese to torture and kill dissidents, and more broadly, to surveil their population.
Now, of course, those same American companies are offering their malevolent spying technology to state and local government tyrants to surveil Americans.
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Canada and Mexico don’t mind sniping at the U.S., but we remain huge trading partners and share generally amicable relations. The same can be said for the European Union as well. Even Russia has interests that intersect with the United States.
Decades of a trade surplus with the United States, rocketing economic growth, and tech transfer have fueled the hegemonic goals of China.
Important legislation permitting Americans to sue China is pending in Congress. We must also incentivize American companies to start thinking of themselves as American companies, and provide the tax, deregulatory, and red-tape slashing incentives to bring our supply chains home.
Some are encouraging moving operations to Southeast Asian countries, but Chinese influence over those nations is already outsized. China might be motivated to exercise even more power over those nations should they become home to more workers for U.S. companies.
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We should use the dispute resolution forums of the multilateral institutions to which globalists seem so attached.
Most importantly, we should reinstate a list of prohibited items that can’t be transferred to China. Failure to act will continue to erode our competitiveness in every way with that nation. We shouldn’t treat China as a friendly economic competitor when it views itself as our adversary with intentions of world hegemony.
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