U.S. Policy Toward China

Even before the 20th century began, the official contacts between china and America were marginal and fragmental. The main reason this was attributed to was efforts by American merchants who wanted to profit and get a larger share from Chinese trade especially in 1780s. Moreover, there was still the problem of American missionaries showing their desire to convert the Chinese public into Christianity. In 1844, the Treaty of Waghia as the first between United States and China was created. This is a scenario that created a pattern similar to the British imposed unequal treaties immediately after the 1839-1842 Opium Wars.

In order for china to be opened, the missionaries and foreign merchants used extraterritoriality so that they could make their property and goods immune to the authorities of Chinese people. These shows some good example of what has been happening especially between United States and China in the field of trade and commerce. There were times even the United States formulated the Open Door Policy in respect to the republic of china (Nakayama, 2006). This is a policy that aimed for equal and of course preferential treatment of foreigners and preservation of China’s integrity.

In a nut shell, the United States has all along been trying to establish laws that should govern its relationship with china. In my view, all the policies created must endeavor to enhance the economic development of the two countries. It was in 1995 when Harry Wu, an American human rights activist born in china was arrested allegedly for spying which is an act punishable via death in China. Wu had entered china mainly to investigate abuses on human rights and his previous trips had given him enough evidence that there was slave labor.

According to him, there were around 10 million prisoners in almost 1,000 forced labor camps and this included even in manufacturing centers where goods meant for United States were being produced. This is an act that made the United States government and several other human rights activists to protest demanding for the release of Wu. As from the information documented in the Washington Post, criminal charges that were filed against this activist had amounted to the test of what kind of a relationship existed between the Peoples Republic of China and the United States of America.

Due to such comments, the august of 1995 saw the Chinese government expel Wu from china (Enotes. com, 2010). For most of the times, china is commonly criticized for violating human rights in many respects and United States is one country that keeps advocating for the need of this to be revisited in china. The laws that United States must set toward China despite the violation of human rights must always seek to enhance development with hopes that in future these vices are going to be mitigated. China exports a lot of goods to United States and United States on the other hand also has a good volume of exports to China.

There is need for both countries to engage dialogue on a round table and come up with policies that are not going to affect the manner in which trade is being conducted. United States may decide to come up with policies that may determine what kind political climate may be in China thinking that this is going to favor the trade between the two. But in most cases, some of these laws may bring adverse effects to the traders from both ends. The focus should be on free and fair trade between the two (uspolicy. be, 2009). The arrest of Wu had come two weeks immediately after another test on U.

S. -China relations via the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. This is a massacre where Chinese troops were involved in direct shooting of public demonstrators together with college students who were in a proreform/prodemocracy demonstration. This is a situation that created outrage from Americans and they asked their government to impose trade sanctions that would effectively punish China for this act. During this outrage, American citizens and activists called for the government of United States to revoke trade status of China referred to as most-favored-nation (MFN).

According to the laws set by United States, the MFN status for China is reviewed every year as the eleventh largest trading nation in the whole world. In the same law, United States requires China to offer similar trading tariffs to most other trading partners. By looking at this, if China’s MFN is removed by United States, Chinese traders would lose billions in their trade activities. According to the records of United States, China lies fourth as the largest exporter of goods to United States.

Moreover, the largest part of Chinese economy is entirely dependent on trade relations it has with United States (Enotes. com, 2010). The amount of exports from China to United States today are said to be four times greater compared to its imports. This is evidenced by the fact that in year 1994 alone, China made a surplus of almost $30 billion specifically from trade activities with United States. It thus shows from the views of the Americans and activists, revoking of MFN could send a good message to Chinese leaders that violation of human rights and other brutal acts should never be tolerated.

This is a move that may hurt China economically but as such laws are set, it should not be forgotten that as much as China benefits from U. S. trade, this is not one way. U. S. also benefits from the trade relations and thus should be cautious in trying to deal with a fast growing country like China. In fact, today, despite U. S. being the superpower in the entire globe, China has been a stiff competitor in many respects. We should not fail to mention the manner in which China has established itself especially in Africa. Laws that should be set by U.

S. towards China should make sure that they aren’t hurting the country to the point that its economy is adversely affected (Redd, 2005). This is because even the economy of United States to an extent is also dependent on the relations it has with a country like China. I would thus propose that despite the brutal incidents like the Tiananmen Square massacre, MFN must always continue to be reviewed annually as before. Both countries are dependent on each other. Aforementioned charges and several others once made companies from U. S.

to revisit their decision to carry out business operations in China. For example, Timberland and Levi-Strauss are two companies which take China human rights to be more important compared to profit realizing enterprises. These are companies that decided to call off their operations due to violation of human rights. But whatever the law is set, United States must keep trade and business in mind. United States ties with China must even be strengthened and maintained effortlessly so that the growing market economy of China may at the end give an improvement in the human rights.

I am of the opinion that via different business arrangements like joint ventures, trade, the Western values of freedom and democracy and capitalism (American-style) will be experienced and this will permeate the Chinese community. I contend with what Bill Clinton said in 1994 when he renewed china’s MFN. According to Clinton, trade gives the best opportunity by which basis may be laid to create a sustainable human rights progress. Since the major issue seems to be violation of human rights, this should not be allowed to jeopardize the business ties between the two.

America must continue with the efforts to socialize China to make sure it’s a responsible stakeholder via international organizations membership like WTO and also become a part and parcel of the international community (Mann, 2007). It’s true that Chinese authorities imprison and persecute those who criticize Chinese Communist Party (CPP) openly. It is also estimated that almost 260,000 people are being held for being pro-democracy activists while others are active members of Falun Gong spiritual member movement.

There are criticisms coming from different nations that china discriminates HIV/AIDS positive people, denies formation of independent union for collective bargaining, increased evictions, tightening media control and increased restriction on free expression. But despite all these, America must effortlessly involve China in dialogue. The interests of America must not only rest on economic concerns and must reflect broadly democratic values of right to organization, religion freedom and free speech.

Laws set by United States toward china must seek to enhance the growth of trade between the two countries (Tammybaldwin. house. gov, 2009).


Tammybaldwin. house. gov (2009). Foreign policy, trade and defense. Retrieved from http://tammybaldwin. house. gov/issues_ForeignPolicy. html Mann, J. (2007). The China Fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain Away Chinese Repression. Retrieved from http://www. thefreelibrary. com/The+China+Fantasy:+How+Our+Leaders+Explain+Away+Chinese+Repression. -a0171212951 Redd, B. S. (2005). Explaining U. S. Policy Towards China and Taiwan.

Retrieved from http://www. allacademic. com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/0/7/2/0/8/pages72088/p72088-1. php Nakayama, T. (2006). Politics of U. S. policy toward china: Analysis of domestic factors. Retrieved from http://www. brookings. edu/~/media/Files/rc/papers/2006/09china_nakayama/nakayama2006. pdf Uspolicy. be (2009). The United States Policy towards China: A Dossier. Retrieved from http://www. uspolicy. be/issues/china/china. asp Enotes. com (2010). U. S. Policy Toward China | Introduction. Retrieved from http://www. enotes. com/us-policy-article