1. China: Does the average American support the U.S./China trade war?
U.S.: The average American would not support the trade war with China, due to the fact that goods imported from China will be more expensive for the average American. However, it may not be enough for the average American to notice. Many of the goods that were affected by increased tariffs are items that consumers do not purchase often (washing machines, printers). If tariffs are increased on nondurable goods, such as clothes and food, the average American will definitely be affected since they purchase nondurables often. Studies have been done concluding that the increased tariffs will cost the average American family $460 each year, with up to $970 for wealthy families. These prices stand for the current tariffs, however further increased tariffs would cost families even more. Both the United States and China have retaliated at each other by raising rates and targeting more products. With higher tariffs, companies are encouraged to produce goods in other countries with cheaper import rates than China, and would, in turn, ease the pressure on the average American’s wallet.
2. China: Why does the U.S. feel it is necessary to meddle in the Hong Kong issue by passing, or attempting to pass, the Human Rights and Democracy Act? What if China was to interfere in the U.S. issue with Puerto Rico?
U.S.: Relating to our will to spread democracy in Hong Kong, America should have the obligation to feeling the need to improve the lives of other people. This bill would show our support for the protection in the people of Hong Kong’s autonomy and political freedoms. U.S policy towards Hong Kong has been underpinned by the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act, passed in 1992, which affords the territory special status as separate from China in trade, transport, and other areas. The Human Rights and Democracy Act would put Hong Kong’s autonomous status under closer scrutiny and allow for continued special US trade and economic benefits. If Hong Kong becomes another Chinese port, companies that rely on its role as a middleman will most likely do business elsewhere. The biggest impact on Hong Kong would come from the revocation of Hong Kong’s special status, which is different from the rest of China and has shielded it from tariffs on Chinese goods as part of the trade war. This bill is a response to the protestor’s opposition to China’s authorities’ attempts to erode their autonomy and freedoms. The people of Hong Kong see the steady effort by the CPC in destroying these freedoms, and the response by the Hong Kong police under pressure from the CPC is violence and oppression. Hong Kong has threatened to cancel elections, and the CPC is attempting to pass a law that would allow them to arrest political critics, which would be the definition of control and proof for all loss of autonomy in Hong Kong. The U.S cannot allow China’s push to remove “one country two systems” for “one country one system”, placing Hong Kong under CPC rule. The Human Rights and Democracy Act would also protect Americans from China’s extradition bill if passed.
3. China: The U.S. has expressed a desire to see Western democratic values implemented in Hong Kong. Considering how Western democracy has failed when exported to other countries such as Libya, Syria and Iraq, why does the U.S. continue to push to export their version of Democracy?
U.S.: Democracy is not an unalloyed good, so it is important to not overstate or misrepresent the benefits of democratization. It should be an obligation as human beings first, rather than Americans, to feel the need to improve the lives of other human beings, where the bonds of common humanity do not stop at the borders of the United States. America was founded on the principle of securing liberty for its citizens, and today it has a large stake in advancing its core value of liberty. The pushing and spread of Democracy would benefit the citizens of new democracies, promote international peace, and serves U.S interests, while also promoting liberty, prevention of famine, and the fostering of economic development. Promoting democracy has been one of the United States’ most central foreign policy goals since global interests would be advanced if the world contained more democracies. Most Americans assume that democracy is a good thing and that spreading it would, in turn, be beneficial. People live generally better lives under democratic governments since citizens are allowed to enjoy greater individual liberty, political stability, freedom from governmental violence, enhanced quality of life, and a much lower risk of going hungry. Governments that are more accountable to the public are less likely to deprive their citizens of human rights. In addition, citizens of democracies are less likely to suffer violent death at the hands of their governments. The People’s Republic of China has killed millions of its citizens over history, which can be ceased if a democratic civilization is established. Democratic political systems constrain the power of the governments, reducing their ability to commit mass murders on their own people, and democracies allow the opposition to be openly expressed and have regular processes for the peaceful transfer of power. A final reason the push of democracy into Hong Kong would be the benefits of long-term improved economic performance and development. Democracies have been shown to outperform autocracies economically, since democracies have market economies producing economic growth, and democracies that embrace liberal principles of governments are likely to create a stable foundation for long-term economic growth.
4. China: Up until recently, around 2016, the CPC was working to protect its people from the threat of terrorism in Xinjiang. This was not a targeted at the Uighur people for their ethnicity, it was to stop the rise of terrorism in China. Considering the U.S. response to terrorists abroad (i.e. Iraq, Syria) why does the U.S. view China’s response to terrorism as an infringement on Human Rights and an “ethnic cleansing”?
U.S.: China’s counterterrorism efforts mainly focus on the Muslim ethnic Uighur population concentrated in its western Xinjiang region, although its population only makes up 1.5% of China. China’s official use of the word “terrorist” is usually reserved almost exclusively for describing people and groups tied to Xinjiang. For over 15 years, China has sought to manage its terrorism problem through a strategy that rests on three pillars: 1. Enhanced regional economic growth, 2. Stronger internal security capabilities, and 3. Deepened controls over ethnic and religious activities. China has grouped separatism, religious extremism, and terrorism as interrelated problems, and is commonly viewed as “the three evils” in the Chinese government. This does not address China’s terrorism problem at large and focuses on other factors such as counterrevolution and separatism. Its primary emphasis has been the impact that jihadists and separatists outside China’s borders might have on extremism in Xinjiang. Beijing has attempted to assimilate the Uighur population, which they have resisted. Many Uighurs resent what they regard as Beijing’s sustained repression of their rights, culture, national sentiment, and religious expression, which is an infringement on basic human rights. The United States believes that leaders in Beijing have used concerns about terrorism as an excuse for suppressing its Uighur Muslim population. Uighur exile groups and human rights activists have frequently expressed concern that Uighur religious and cultural practices are heavily restricted in Xinjiang. Since 2011, officials have mounted an official campaign to disallow women from wearing veils, burqas, and traditional Islamic garments, followed by a ban of full-body veils in public. Human rights monitors have reported official efforts to prosecute and restrict a range of activities including authorized preaching by religious figures, observance of Ramadan by government employees who are Muslim, and religious education and mosque attendance by students. Chinese authorities have criminalized perceived “illegal religious” and “separatist” activists in the region and clamped down on peaceful expressions of cultural identity. Chinese officials describe these restrictions as an effort against terrorist threats.
5. China: Considering the great economic success of China in recent years, and the significant history of China, why does the U.S. still view the Chinese version of Communism a poor system of rule?
U.S.: China’s Communist Party and its leadership are a direct main threat to America’s core values and interests and even world peace. The communist party is focused on a struggle and international domination and needs to be confronted. The U.S hopes China will go along the path to a free democratic political system and find a place in the United States-led global order, on the heels of decades of economic advances. However, the communist leadership sees freedom and democracy as nothing more than a U.S plot to overthrow its rule, where Xi has made maintaining the one-party system and his grip on power his top priorities. China has become more incompatible with Washington’s political system over time, where their communist party shifts towards more authoritarian rule to embrace elements of Marxist ideology and Leninist political repression. In the eyes of the United States, this is a threat to world peace. China has challenged the United States dominance by ramping up efforts to secure its geostrategic flanks to prepare for its rise to the top ranks of global power. Disagreements between the United States and China’s communist party include trade issues, technology issues, and currency to human rights and regional and global security. China has shown a will to dominate crucial ocean routes that dominate global commerce and security, putting the United States under pressure to meet China with competitive actions to contain China and protect the interests of the US and its allies.
China Answer: In order to understand the People’s Communist Party of China you have to understand Chinese history. We have a much longer history than the United States; you need to look at 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. You need to look at not only the values of Confucious, and many other wise men that have contributed to the DNA of the Chinese nation, but you also need to take into account what has occurred in the last two centuries since the Opium War in 1840. Our very proud, ancient civilization was invaded, exploited and oppressed by foreign powers. This left a very deep impact on the mindset of the Chinese nation. So for over 100 years, each generation has been working to modernize the country. We are working to modernize an ancient civilization while still keeping some of the essential elements, keeping our tradition. The founding of the Communist Party was against this background. In two years time, we will be celebrating 100 years of leadership by the Communist Party. We imported Marxism but with Chinese characteristics applied. That is why the Communist Party in China is very different from the former Soviet Union Communist Party or others. China has experienced setbacks along the way, such as the Cultural Revolution, but we have gradually formed a system, a path for China’s development that works for China. Within this system, China has has grown into the second-largest economy in the world from a very low base. We have lifted something between 700 million to 800 million people out of poverty, and we are contributing 30% to the global economic growth. I think this is very good proof that what the communist party is doing in China works well for China.
0. United States Question: The economic success is certainly there. That said, another element of the Chinese system is that it is a one-party system that places many limitations on freedoms- as America would understand “freedoms”. Is that one-party control a necessary part of your economic success?
China Answer: I don’t know that the people actually worried about this have ever really visited China, talked to Chinese citizens or even spent time in the Chinese society. If you were to come to China and speak to ordinary Chinese people today, they would tell you that they are very happy with the current system. This feeling spans from people living in cities to the countryside, business people, and ordinary farmers and workers. The people feel greater freedom than ever before. Take into account that over 100 million Chinese are traveling abroad every year. People are happy and they are thriving in China.
0. United States Question: There have been ongoing protests in Hong Kong since protestors first objected to an extradition law but their demands have since expanded and now among them is a demand for universal suffrage. There is a Basic Law in Hong Kong that has been approved by the central government that states the goal is the selection of all members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage. When will that happen?
China Answer: First, the issue in Hong Kong is a domestic issue. No one should be challenging China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong. The issue is the violence, which needs to end. Order must be restored before anything else can be accomplished. How can you solve economic and social problems in the face of rising violence? You cannot. You mentioned the Basic Law, and this is true. In the Chinese constitution, there is a clear provision for the setting up of special administrative regions such as Hong Kong and Macao. The Basic Law listed all the political, social, economic systems and all the basic policies for Hong Kong. A few years ago, there was a proposal that would lead to “universal suffrage” as you call it. But it was rejected by the opposition people in Hong Kong. The violent demonstrators are challenging China’s sovereignty in Hong Kong. They are challenging the Basic Law itself- yet it is the legal foundation for everything else in Hong Kong. We still see one country, two systems as the system that works.
0. U.S. Question: Why have the Chinese targeted the Uighur ethnic group and forced poor living conditions and re-education of them against their will?
China Answer: China has 56 ethnic groups and all of them are considered equal. Any security measures that China is taking is not against any particular ethnic group, whether they are Uighur or Han or any other ethnicity. What we are doing in Xinjiang is to protect our people from the threat of terrorism. Up until a few years ago, maybe 2016, terrorism was rising in that part of China. It was very scary and thousands of incidents of terrorist attacks occured, as thousands of people were killed or hurt. This led to a rising demand from the people for the government to act and take measures to protect them from terrorist acts. Some of the embers of the terrorist groups have gone to countries such as Syria to fight for ISIS. Some of those same people, are trying to come back into China! I think this is not only a problem for China, but also for the U.S. and some European countries. We have to make sure people are safe and can enjoy their life. That is what we are doing in Xijiang, and other places in China. It is not against any particular ethnic group- it is against terrorism.
0. U.S. Question: The trade talks are expected to resume shortly. U.S. officials have indicated they want to change the rules in order to balance the trade between our two countries. Essentially, they want China to fundamentally change the way it does business. Is China ever going to do that?
China Answer: Over the past 40 years China has spent opening up and going through reform, we have learned a lot of these rules from the United States, Europeans and many international organizations. We tried our best to follow these rules, to work and compete with other countries on the basis of these rules. Now, the country that set the rules wants to change the rules. That is fine; rules have to be changed from time to time. So all of the countries should engage themselves in a discussion on how the rule could be changed. If it is a world rule it has to be made by the world community- not just one or two countries. It is our belief that the U.N. charter encompasses the purpose and principles of basic norms for international relations. SInce we are all members of the United Nations, we should all abide by these rules.