New US sanctions on China morally chaotic: Global Times editorial

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Source: Global Times

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The US Commerce Department on Monday added another 11 Chinese companies to its Entity List, accusing them of participating in “human rights violations and abuses” in China’s “forced labor and “involuntary collection of biometric data” targeting Muslim minority groups in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. This is the third batch of Chinese companies targeted by the US Commerce Department to interfere in the Xinjiang-related affairs.

It is believed that in addition to causing difficulties for the sanctioned companies to import American parts and components, the US move will also undermine the confidence of American and Western companies to cooperate with these Chinese companies, and purchase products from them.

The US has been abusing sanctions against Chinese companies. The US placed Chinese firms, including Huawei, on its Entity List last year. Washington’s logic was relatively clear at that time. But since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, the US started to behave recklessly. Some forces have been deliberately creating tensions between China and the US to facilitate Donald Trump’s reelection. As a result, random and arbitrary sanctions against China are increasing.

The excuses the US cites for its moves are getting increasingly shoddy and unreasonable. For example, the newly listed Chinese companies were accused of “forced labor.”

But it is well known that increasing the employment rate of ethnic minority people is a good thing and requires a lot of hard work from the local authorities.

The sanctions will discourage Chinese companies from absorbing ethnic minority  people in Xinjiang for employment, and will undermine the ordinary people’s right to be employed. Washington offers only lip services to protect Muslims in Xinjiang, but it is actually undermining the normal relations between ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and the job market. The US makes companies, especially those export-oriented companies, not to hire Uygur workers to avoid trouble.

Washington just wants to create moral gimmicks for itself. Such sanctions help the US to publicize itself in Western public opinion, because few Americans and other Westerners can sense the trick.

The unbridled acts of the US makes China’s response more complicated. It’s impossible for China not to retaliate, otherwise it will indulge Washington’s bully tactics. But if China takes “reciprocal countermeasures,” the China-US struggle will fall into the battlefield preset by the US.

More importantly, the Trump administration’s top priority now is the upcoming reelection, and to win as many votes as possible is the most important thing. In contrast, what China cares more is the long-term situation of China-US relations as well as China’s long-term interests. This is also a major asymmetry between the two countries.

Given the above-mentioned reasons, during the period before the November election, China must maintain high sobriety in its struggle against the US, and accurately identify what China’s interests are. We must counter US provocations in a way that best serves China’s interests. As the US has taken a whole-of-government approach to crack down on China, we need to explore strategies that will hurt the US more than ourselves.

The US is experiencing the worst performance of its economy. It’s fair to say the US economy is a mess. The room for the US to afford a lose-lose situation with China has shrunk. Washington’s current tactic is to repeatedly play propaganda tricks to strengthen the White House’s hard-line image toward China.

What the US cares most now is the economy and stock market. The US fight against the epidemic is a total failure. To make the economic data look better is of the same significance as to shift the blame to China for its botched epidemic response. We should understand this.

It has become more of a technical issue on how China should work out countermeasures. We suggest that Chinese society should maintain confident as well as a sense of justice. We must have confidence that the government’s professional team will make plans that are in the best interests of China. The US strategy toward China has drastically changed, causing a lot of uncertainties. But there is nothing to worry about, as we know what China’s interests are, and we have the strength.

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