US China Relations Essay

After rather lengthy negotiations between the United States and China, there has
been a trade agreement reached between the two countries. China has agreed to
enter into the World Trade Organization (WTO). This along with U.S. Deputy
Assistant Defense Secretary Kurt Campbell’s visit to China in an attempt to
mend relations damaged by the U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade,
marked a good series of events for U.S. and Chinese relations. The article also
shows that the relationship between these two countries still needs work which
cannot be done with ease. A century ago, the U.S. fought off rival countries in
a battle for economic influence in China. The 20th century began with U.S.


Secretary of State Jon Hay arguing that whoever understood China “has the key
to world politics for the next five centuries.” Yet, according to the article,
foreign policy experts agree that most Americans see what they want to see.

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Harvey Sicherman, President of the Foreign Policy Research Institute put it
nicely in the article, “The pattern of our policy toward China is a series of
illusions punctuated by unpleasantries.” Professor Michael Hunt, an historian
of U.S.-China relations points out, “We really invest a lot of hopes in China,
we do this repeatedly, and they’ve really been crushed. They are so much an
expression of our own needs and our own expectations.” Take the idea of the
China market. One Far-Eastern expert proclaimed at the end of the last century,
“No other market in the world offers such vast and varied opportunities for
the further increase of American exports.” Take that comment with this one by
the U.S. chamber of Commerce about the recent progress made, “This is really a
landmark opportunity to open up China’s vast market to American companies.”
These expectations could be dangerous, points out the author. The market might
not even materialize into what many are predicting it to be. To achieve the”dream” of a billion-plus consumers of American products, China will have to
raise the average income of its citizens which is no easy or short-term task.


Such changes cannot happen overnight, China’s move toward a market economy
will require “systematic improvement” at all levels of society according to
the author. One of the grandest illusions of Western Policy has been the
reasoning that it can single-handedly change China. For more than a century
Western missionaries, businessmen, and advisers have come to China believing in
their “superiority” over the nation. This arrogance was present because they
possessed advanced technical skills and a sense of moral rightness. These
Westerners thought they should be welcomed and listened to immediately. When the
Chinese went their own way, these same Westerners felt betrayed by the entire
nation of China. The author points out a specific example of this occurring in
1949. When the Chinese Communist forces finally took over the mainland and
established the People’s Republic, many Americans engaged in a witch-hunt over
who had “lost China”, as if China was a thing that could be lost and also as
if the United States had any control over the destiny of such an ancient and
populous nation. A key to this historical arrogance is the American idea that
market forces can rapidly transform an authoritarian government into a model
democracy. U.S. trade negotiators still argue the current trade pact between
China and the United States will help the Chinese achieve, in their words,
“greater freedom and greater global prosperity.” Robert Dallek, a foreign
policy expert and presidential historian, says “Americans often think the end
of such development is something that looks like the United States.” This is
an idea that goes way back to the 19th Century. According to Dallek, “Chinese
movement toward democracy may never come about or even come near to what we
think it should be.” And if it does, “It will be their kind of capitalism,
their kind of democracy.” The author’s points seem clear in that although
much progress has been made in recent weeks, there is still a lot of work to be
done. Yadong Liu, a former official in the Chinese Foreign Ministry, agrees with
the author and does not see China’s recent development as leading to the end
of conflict with the United States. He emphasizes China’s nationalism by
claiming that , “Both the leadership and population in general are still
driven by desire to restore China to what it was hundreds of years ago,”
before it was dominated by a series of foreign powers, including the United
States. The author thinks of this nationalism as more of a “self defensive”
form of nationalism. It seems as if anything happens, whether it is large or
small, it can easily irritate the Chinese if they believe it is insulting or
humiliating towards them. This helps to explain why the U.S. bombing of the
Belgrade embassy touched off a number of protests against the United States. For
Americans, says the author, “The danger is that we become too mesmerized by
our own success.” And by doing so, “We miss the realities that actually
shape the future.” He makes it clear that if we expect too much out of this
current trade agreement, it will only put off implementing it fully. The
author’s points can be used when looking at trade dealing with China in a
business and market situation. Although much progress has been made, it is still
up in the air as to who got the better deal. If eventually U.S. firms are able
to export or sell their products to the entire Chinese population, there are
unlimited possibilities. With a massive population, and a better economy on the
way, China would be and ideal location to sell your product. This still remains
to be in the future according to the article. It will take some mending of
issues for the Chinese to even consider the U.S. for major importing and
exporting. Time will also determine if China will ever reach their goal to have
an equal trading relationship that the U.S. has with other countries around the
world through the World Trade Organization. Article #2 The article starts out
with an image of Chan Yinmiao, a carpenter sitting by the side of the road on a
Beijing overpass, waiting in the wind for work. When the author mentioned the
breakthrough trade deal his government struck with the United States recently,
Chan brightens up. Chan’s family lives hundreds of miles away in eastern China
where they cultivate rice. He hopes the trade deal will open up lucrative export
markets especially for their crop. “The more the market opens, the more
opportunities we’ll have to make money.” Chan claimed. Obviously this
excitement regarding the new trade deal extends beyond those who hope to measure
its benefits in dollars, cents, and improved trade figures. The deal did mark a
major milestone in China’s campaign to join the World Trade Organization(WTO).


Some have hoped that entry in the trade group that makes the rules for world
trade will also spur improvements in human rights, legal reforms, and
eventually, progress towards a democratic government. The author reasons that an
economic opening will hopefully bring about a political opening in a country
desperately in need of both. Also, a free and private economy forms the base for
a democratic system, so it will make China’s government and legal system
evolve toward democracy. President Clinton and his supporters have argued that
growing trade, foreign contacts, and the World Trade Organization’s rules on
fair competition will open markets and legal processes will help bring China
closer to other international countries. A major part in the deal between China
and the U.S. involved the investment of China’s telephones and Internet
networks, not allowed under the initial deal, but will make both networks
cheaper and available to more Chinese, thus increasing the amount and flow of
information throughout the world. Other, more social changes could occur because
of the new deal are, more Western movies will bring more new ideas, more foreign
lawyers and businessmen who will expect Chinese courts to enforce contracts
could advance rule by law, rather than by bureaucrats. Also, foreign investments
will create more new jobs, offering a wider range of employment opportunities.


Wang Shan, a political commentator and author believes that the Chinese leaders
have not clearly considered the social changes that entrance into the WTO could
bring, “They are not sufficiently prepared for the pressures on Chinese
society,” he said. “Chinese leaders feel that entering the WTO will promote
Chinese exports, open up world markets, and attract investments. But Americans
feel that once China enters this system great changes will occur in Chinese
society, including political and social changes.” The author goes on to
express other concerns that the Chinese have about this new entrance into the
WTO. Specifically that trickle-down civil rights improvements through increased
trade will come too slowly and that foreign governments will have to pressure
China over its human rights record to bring about deeper change. Lin Mu, a
one-time aide to former Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang, elaborates on the
subject of social change, “It’s an idle dream for the American government to
think it can improve the human rights situation with economic cooperation.”
The article again shifts to other possible drawbacks that China’s new
membership to the WTO could hold within it. Initially jobs could become scarcer
as ailing state firms and inefficient family farms give in to the new foreign
competition. China’s state-run media has been selling the WTO deal to the
public all along, but does officially admit that millions of people could be
thrown out of work, including more than nine million people associated with
agriculture. And even though China has negotiated for WTO entry for 13 years,
its social security system remains very unsophisticated. With these factors
combined, surely there will be a rise in the already common worker’s protests
that have prompted a police crack down on such incidents. A major point the
author displays in the article is the issue regarding the exploitation of
workers in China. Long-term labor activists fear that because the communist
government bans independent trade unions, jobs generated by increased foreign
investment could lead to this greater exploitation of the workers. Already tough
and unsafe factories prevail in provinces all over China. In the province of
Guangdong which is the southern economic powerhouse that handles forty percent
of China’s foreign trade, the rights of the worker has extra significance
because the province stands to benefit quite nicely through the WTO entry. Han
Dongfang a veteran Chinese labor campaigner who lives in forced exile in Hong
Kong because China won’t let him return to the mainland sums up the issue on
worker exploitation, “You can say they provide job opportunities. But the
people who work there are not ?people’, they’re ?labor.’ They have no
rights to speak out about their conditions, wages, or benefits.” It’s clear
that the author wants to emphasize that working conditions in China will not get
better, but possibly even get worse. He clarifies that without the right for
workers to set up unions, job opportunities brought by the WTO could turn
workers into slaves. Under those conditions, there is no way that anyone can
claim that the WTO will in any way benefit human rights in China. In terms of a
business standpoint, this article shows how the deal between the United States
and China could end up producing more bad press for human rights in China.


According to this article, the cons certainly outweigh the pros regarding
China’s new membership into the WTO. American companies thinking about trading
with China should definitely give notice to the production facility as well as
the establishment of employees in order to make sure they are not being
exploited. The exploitation of workers does not sit well with anyone in the
United States, and any correlation between your company and a company that
offers no rights to its workers could mean withdrawal of investors, workers, and
most importantly consumers. Article #3 This article focuses on China’s current
president, Jiang Zemin, and the role he played in China’s recent agreement
with the United States to join the World Trade Organization. The agreement made
with the U.S. will open China to free international trade for the first time in
history. Along the way, the 73 year-old Jiang had to practically “move
mountains” of conservative opposition in China where he is trying to change
the relationship between Beijing and Washington DC. The deal was unprecedented
for China, but had equal importance to Jiang himself. Jiang dealt with the
United States in a profound way, waiting for United States President Bill
Clinton to call him twice before backing the deal himself. When American
negotiators arrived in Beijing, Jiang kept his distance from the discussions,
instead he sent Premier Zhu Rongji to work out the details. Once the deal was
signed however, Jiang kept with his emperor mentality and assumed direct contact
with the negotiators. An advocate of technology, Jiang seems to be the right man
for China going into the 21st century. Yet he doesn’t quite have the imperial
status in the eyes of the Chinese. In Beijing, the WTO celebration was poorly
choreographed and lacked a certain greatness to it, and Jiang’s speech
didn’t hold the people’s attention for long at all. Despite these flaws,
Jiang clearly strives to be as imperial as he can possibly be, perhaps join the
ranks of suck emperors as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. But in China’s long
history, an Emperor needs to inspire awe, with a little bit of fear mixed into
his subjects. Jiang isn’t quite there but tackling such a large subject as
world trade is a good place to start. Jiang is not one to start breaking up the
entire system however which he leaves to Premier Zhu. It was Zhu who traveled to
the United States in April in an attempt to strike up talks concerning WTO. He
failed only because the White House at the time thought it would be”politically unwise” to sign such an agreement at that point in time. Jiang
simply sat back, gained concessus back in China, and then awaited for President
Clinton to approach him. It was through this consensus that Jiang had
established that the negotiations were a success. The author’s main points
concern Jiang and his dilemma. The dilemma that he is a prisoner of the Chinese
Communist Party that he is leading fifty years after its revolution. The
communist party is one that is empty of vision, worried about unrest, out of
touch with the younger generation that concerns itself more with money than
ideology. It seems that the harder Jiang tries to impress the citizens of China,
the less interested they become. He certainly acknowledges the fact that
economic development is need in China, but being open politically is just simply
not an option he has. Even immediately after the WTO deal was signed, members of
Falun Gong, a banned meditation cult were being arrested. It is clear that Jiang
wants to help China prosper, it might just take a little longer than he had
hoped. The World Trade Organization or WTO has its headquarters in Geneva,
Switzerland. It currently has 135 countries with membership. The WTO is the
successor of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade formed in 1947. Once
limited to goods, the WTO’s aim has been extended to include intellectual
property and trade in services. The organization’s task is to administer and
enforce the trade agreements made by member nations, ensuring the flow of goods
and services. Its rulings are law among all of its members. In terms of a
business/market situation, here is a breakdown on who got the better deal
between China and the United States. In Telecommunications, China will let
telecom firms, including U.S. giants such as AT&T, have new, though still
limited access to its domestic market. The winner in this case are the U.S.

telecom firms by a long shot. They will be able to sell their voice and data
services to the Chinese which is a huge market. In farming, China said it would
cut tariffs on farming goods to less than 15% by the year 2005. That should give
many Chinese access to new foods from all over the world. Farmers in the U.S.

will be the winners in this respect because they can expect to sell much more to
China. In the steel industry, China agrees its state-owned and subsidized steel
industry will not dump tons of cheap products onto crucial U.S. markets. There
really in no clear winner in this agreement, China will sell more cheap steel
overseas while U.S. firms will still have to compete world wide. Finally, in the
textile industry the Chinese textile plants will be able to sell their products
anywhere around the world. China is clearly the winner here, in this respect the
WTO is like a dream come true. For the U.S. plants, the cheap Chinese exports
will be a nightmare. Conclusion The World Trade Organization is going to produce
many opportunities for the entire nation of China. For the first time in its
history, China will be able to share its resources and receive resources from
all around the world. The only mistake we can make regarding this situation is
to push our (the U.S.) democratic views upon them while we trade with them. The
politics in China will not change overnight and they probably will not change in
the next ten years. It is extremely important that we respect that China will do
what is best for itself throughout the course of trading, which I believe it
will do. Another major concern involving China and the WTO is the issue of
worker’s rights. Attention has to be kept in regards to this touchy subject,
but again, the world must realize that it can’t impose moral laws as well as
trade laws in a different country. I hope that China does focus on the bettering
of working conditions and I also hope that the majority of jobs, especially
agricultural, can be saved in some fashion. I believe that China will succeed in
this new trade agreement, and hopefully the rest of the world can benefit as
well. It might be rough going at first, but only because it will be new to such
a historic and old nation as China. I realize that old habits are particularly
hard to break, but I am confident that under President Jiang Zemin, that China
will prosper economically and socially under this new agreement.


Bibliography
Shapinsky, David. Unchanging China. ABCNews.com. November 20, 1999.


Leicester, John. WTO Entry Mixed Blessing for China. Associated Press. November
21, 1999. McCarthy, Terry. The Imperial Dragon. Time Magazine. November 29,
1999.

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