Since the breakout of the COVID-19 virus, like most people, I have been homebound and not able to travel abroad for nearly four years. In this period, the U.S. presidency changed from Republican Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden. Although they have quite different philosophies in managing domestic issues and dealing with foreign policies, surprisingly they both have embraced the anti-China national strategy, that is they both have set China as a target enemy viewing China’s rise as a threat to U.S. security. Trump started a trade and economic sanction against China and Biden extended his inherited anti-China (Trump) tactics to a broad technology sanction and several orchestrated alliances such as AUKUS (Australia-UK-U.S.) and QUAD+ (U.S.-Japan-Australia-India +) aimed at confining China’s progress and world influence. Trump marveled at his bargaining skills in business and trade and Biden valued his diplomatic and alliance-building experiences, both eagerly applied to the anti-China policy. Biden’s victory over Trump was not an overwhelming one, hence Biden’s continuation of an anti-China policy was understandable, an easy scapegoat blaming China for the deterioration of the U.S. standing on the world stage.
The U.S.-China relationship started to turn sour during the Trump Administration with its tariffs applied to steel and aluminum imports from China and sanctions against Zhong Xing and Huawei. The detention of Ms. Meng Wan Zhou, treasurer of Huawei, by the Canadian Custom under U.S. court charges and extradition order made world headlines and China and its citizens furious. The relationship got worse during Biden’s term when his national security team took charge of China policy by applying zealous diplomatic maneuvers against China involving U.S. Allies and expanding sanctions to technologies including the entire semiconductor industry. Furthermore, Biden’s team and the Democratic Party-controlled Congress continuously stepped on China’s redline, its sovereignty issue regarding the South China Sea and Taiwan island. The forming of AUKUS and QUAD doing military exercises near China’s sea border is a provocative act and playing the Taiwan card by selling military equipment to Taiwan preparing for war has made China the targeted enemy next to Russia no matter how words hypocritically covered these deeds. China has always believed in diplomatic negotiations to settle any international issues. Its attitude towards the U.S. has always been accommodating, valuing the U.S. as its largest trading partner. China wanted no conflicts with the U.S., but it guarded its honor and redlines seriously. Through the recent two U.S. Administrations, China seems to have woken up from her wishful thinking - pleasing and accommodating the U.S. will get peace in return.
China, its government, and its citizens had held a pro-U.S. attitude ever since WW II. China worked hard to build itself up from poverty to modernization, China expected respect from other countries, but she got little but hypocritical diplomacy from the U.S. The U.S. claims to recognize the one-China policy but it consistently tries to split China by agitating Tibet, Hongkong, Xinjiang, and Taiwan as sovereignty or independence issues resisting China’s effort to reunite itself peacefully. Everyone including the Americans knows that China was invaded and split by foreign powers, it is China’s right to reunite one China with its peaceful means which is more honorable than what the U.S. did to American Indians. Tibetans are now freed from religious slavery, Xinjiang Uighurs are living in better conditions than 95% of the Muslims in the world (except the few royalties), and Hongkong people finally can have true equality free of colonial status under the British. It is striving to be a free port and city governed by Hongkong and Chinese, not British laws. Taiwan enjoyed more than seventy years of peace achieving economic miracles now heavily dependent on Mainland trade. China did not want to take Taiwan by force and Taiwan people did not want war, so why is it the U.S. business to arm Taiwan for war? It is no wonder that China finally woke up from the ‘American Dream’; China is ignoring the U.S. pressure and influence and will act on its own will. Hence, the U.S.-China relations are in a deep freeze state. The U.S. continues to pursue its sanction and anti-China alliance policy, but China just simply focuses on its economy and builds a supply chain with no U.S. sanction components. The more U.S. sanctions, the more China becomes independent and more completely self-sufficient. Who gets hurt eventually? The U.S. will lose the China market, hurting its hi-tech future growth and China will gradually move its U.S. trade to its other 134 no.1 trading partners. The U.S. needs to defrost the freeze. That is why the U.S. is anxiously trying to have an open dialogue with China. The Biden-Xi meeting seems to be the only hope after the U.S. failed to open China’s door. The reason is that China has lost faith in U.S. diplomacy - saying one thing and doing another, fundamentally maintaining a targeting China policy.
The author was glad that he had made a fact-finding trip to China including Taiwan. The U.S. media and its Allies’ newspapers had become an orchestrated mouthpiece advocating the anti-China policy. The reports are one-sided with a concerted effort to trash China and sing the China collapse theme again, bad economy, high unemployment, real estate implosion, etc. As an international, especially US-China relations, commentator, one needs to make a fact-finding trip to reveal the Western Media Mirage. I am glad that I have made a one-month trip to China. I am also glad that Prof. Graham Allison of Harvard has also visited China in October for whatever reason, but he will find some facts for sure. Meeting some Californians in China talking about Gov. Galvin Newsom’s China trip has made the author believe that more people need to make a fact-finding trip to China. Newsom may or may not run for 2024 US Presidency (NBC Chuck Todd interviewed Newsom after his China trip, Newsom said: “He is re-electing Biden for 2024.”, but my Californian sources think otherwise), but his trip is a more useful fact-finding trip than petting a rare red crown bird.
The author has written a couple of trip reports in Chinese; for our English readers, I will say here that China is not near to collapse than a giant space rock hitting the Earth. Yes, there is a slowdown in the economy, some employment problems for fresh graduates, and some over-built houses in third-tier cities but nothing near collapsing. China’s long-term strategy is intact and its response to US sanctions is furious and serious to the detriment of making the U.S. vulnerable. However, I detect a broad sentiment that China seeks no trouble but is afraid of no trouble. This sounds like an official line, but I believe most Chinese citizens mean that sincerely. Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s response to Blinken’s earlier China trip and messages does reflect that public opinion. I am glad to learn that the Biden-Xi meeting may take place at APEC in San Francisco in November. This is very significant, one that the U.S. has wanted to have this meeting because no meeting will give a negative signal to the world. Secondly, this meeting will be Biden’s opportunity to verify with Xi his input from other people’s fact-finding reports on China. Hopefully, Biden will revise his China policy from one-sided thinking to a mutually beneficial approach. Based on what I have seen in China from a more prosperous province like Jiangsu to a recently fast-rising province like Anhui, and my discussions with common Chinese citizens, I can say that China’s fast-rising will continue to spread internally from region to region, perhaps no more “double-digit” growth, but still fast rising compared to the U.S. growth. The author does think the Biden-Xi meeting as one of the most significant international leaders meeting which can help not only the two countries but the world, however, based on Biden’s Administration’s past track record, one cannot raise too high a hope. Will they be open and sincere enough to resolve the senseless anti-China economic sanction? Will they be frank enough to make a peace effort in the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Palestine war? Or will Biden just seek for a political dividend for his re-election campaign? Xi certainly would rather have a cordial meeting with host Biden when attending APEC than have none. That is why at this point commenting on the much-anticipated forthcoming Biden-Xi meeting means a lot but ….