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China Risks Losing Her Western Friends

September 12, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

China’s extraordinary transformation over the last four decades has
been among the most dramatic events in history.

One aspect of the PRC’s rise was to create personal and
institutional relationships around the globe. Multiple ties bind
Chinese to people in nations, such as America, which only a few
decades ago considered Beijing to be a reckless, dangerous

However, relations between China and much of the West appears to
be moving in reverse. The PRC risks losing its best friends in
other nations. Which could result in more contentious and
destabilizing future relations.

Obviously, Beijing is empowered to make its own decisions, based
on what it believes to be its people’s best interests. And there is
no reason to assume such judgments will match the preferences of
Washington or elsewhere. However, when the PRC’s policies inflame
foreign sentiment, they risk creating costly blowback.

Consider trade. President Donald Trump can be criticized both
for his focus on trade deficits — which are a largely
irrelevant accounting measure — and confrontational

It would be a tragedy if
China retreated from the freer, more open society which it appeared
ready to become.

Nevertheless, the PRC has taken advantage of the
West’s more liberal economies to benefit Chinese firms and, most
important, the Chinese state. Chinese laws and rules have been
applied in ways that hinder American and other foreign enterprises.
American and European technology has been acquired through means both fair and

As a result, many U.S. firms, once strong advocates of the bilateral economic
, have turned hostile. Some welcome the
administration’s economic truculence.

The result is to put at risk vast financial, product, and
service flows which have been mutually beneficial. The danger goes
beyond economics, however.

A Relationship At Risk
For years, commercial ties have undergirded
the American-Chinese relationship. If that foundation deteriorates,
other disagreements will loom even larger, putting the entire
relationship at risk.

Beijing’s crackdown on academic and other exchanges also
concerns the West. Until recently Americans could work with Chinese
to explore issues of common interest.

The willingness of Chinese scholars, thinkers, and activists to
engage those from around the world was an important sign that the
PRC saw itself as a member of a shared international community and
system. While Chinese authorities might dislike some of the
influences coming from the West, Chinese participants in turn acted
as informal ambassadors for their country.

Hindering such exchanges suggests fear, the belief that Beijing
cannot withstand free contact among peoples. Indeed, today’s policy
appears to be an indirect attack on Westerners who once visited and
interacted freely with Chinese citizens.

Disagreements …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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