China US Trade War

The so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which proposes to do away with the city’s special tariffs status, goes against US economic interests. It is for political reasons that the White House has signed the vaunted bill into a law. The US wants to attack China’s “one country two systems” principle by expanding its long arm jurisdiction over the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and is ready to forgo its economic interests for political goals.

In fact, on the issue of the US-launched trade war against China, the US business community has never been entirely on the same boat with the White House. The latter paints a ludicrous picture of US long-term interests – if China is pressured to take on the so-called true structural reforms and make concessions in terms of relevant rules of political system and market regulations, the trade war might increase Americans’ cost of consumption in the short term, but will serve US interests in the long run.

This is a shameful way of trying to seek economic advantage by political means, and is like political extortion undertaken by liars and speculators.

US business leaders have already begun to buy this type of criminal logic. What’s more, the passing of the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act means US political community is taking a stance of extreme conservatism, aiming to contain China’s development by disregarding the benefits of US enterprises based in Hong Kong or the welfare of Hongkongers.

As a matter of fact, the US has left no stone unturned to curb China’s development in the past few years. It is as if a bad boy bullies his classmate to a dark place, knocking out one light bulb after another.

The passing of the act is one of such moves. Yet the US is disappointed most of the time. For example, US sanctions against China’s high-tech giant Huawei have not stopped the company from developing its technology or expanding its overseas businesses, especially in Europe. Another example is China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region – despite US interference, China’s determination and the fundamental strategy of governing the region remains unchanged.

There is no sign of Washington changing track. It may to some extent upset China’s development temporarily, leading to lower economic growth or increasing the cost of China’s interactions with other countries. Yet in the current situation, the US is doomed to fail if it continues to behave with such a Cold War mentality and extreme arrogance of trying to promote a unipolar world.

The China-US trade war is best described as a Pyrrhic victory for the US. In recent years, in the face of criticism and attempts at containment, China is more open to the outside world.

China has proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, vowed to work with African countries to build a China-Africa community of shared future, backed the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and hosted a number of multilateral events.

China welcomes international interactions by hosting the World Internet Conference and other new industrial forums such as that on artificial intelligence. Instead of being contained, China has made more friends than ever.

Over the past years, China’s political and economic communities are mobilized to save for a rainy day, speed up economic transformation and industrial development. Emphasis is placed on self-reliance by enlarging the domestic market. In view of external political pressure, the Chinese government has also strengthened domestic institutional foundations of the Communist Party of China (CPC)’s governance and risk prevention of social instability. A more cohesive consensus on reform and stability is seen between the CPC and the Chinese people.

It is a time when the country’s political system as well as its risk-taking capacity is put to the ultimate test. There is no doubt that attempts by extreme Conservative elements in the US to contain China have made the Chinese people more resolute in their belief, and boosted their determination on their development path. All roads lead to Rome, and opportunities abound. China is on the threshold of dawn.

The author is a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Political Sciences.

(In association with Global Times)