Beijing has objected to an annual report by a congressional commission that examines the challenges to Washington-Beijing relations, which the authors say are rising to the top of the global order at the expense of the United States.
The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission published its annual report from Congress on Tuesday, which for the first time focused on the fact that China is “outperforming” the US in the areas of economics and diplomacy, technology and diplomacy, rather than simply “catching up” with the US.
While both President Robin Cleveland and Vice-Chairwoman Carolyn Bartholomew discussed with Washington Newsday areas of possible cooperation between the two powers on issues such as the economy, healthcare and climate change at a virtual press conference held the day before the report was released, both voiced criticism of China, reflecting the findings of the 575-page document, which allegedly exploited the U.S., other countries and international institutions to advance the interests of the People’s Republic and its ruling Communist Party of China.
In response to the report’s accusations and recommendations that U.S. lawmakers are taking a tougher stance on China, Beijing’s embassy in Washington Newsday referred to comments made by Chinese State Department spokesman Hua Chunying, who railed against the report, others like him and its authors.
“The so-called commission you mentioned has always been ideologically biased against China,” Hua said. “There is no factual basis for the vilification and slander of China in various reports it has fabricated”.
She linked this to a major trend in anti-Chinese rhetoric, not only by U.S. officials, but also by others, who accuse her of sabotaging bilateral relations based on an outdated concept of international relations.
“Some people in the United States cannot escape the Cold War and zero-sum game thinking,” Hua said. “All they encounter are conspiracies, pitfalls and threats. This will not be good for the United States itself, for China-US relations and for the world”.
Instead of responding to the report’s calls for a change in China’s attitude, Hua said it was the United States that should update its world view.
“We hope that the relevant people in the United States will give up the Cold War and zero-sum game thinking and ideological prejudices, stop making unprovoked accusations against China and stop doing or saying anything that harms China’s interests and US-China relations,” Hua said.
U.S.-China relations have deteriorated considerably in recent years, suffering particularly from President Donald Trump’s tough stance on what has branded his administration as Washington’s number one strategic competitor.
On the eve of the open declaration of a new Cold War, the Trump administration has urged the international community to reconsider relations with China, accusing the world’s largest nation in terms of population and second largest economy – first in terms of purchasing power parity – of trade abuses, human rights violations and territorial aggression.
Many similar criticisms appeared in the report of the US-China Commission, which linked it to a more comprehensive plan for world domination.
Beijing is trying to use its growing power to transform the international order, ultimately legitimizing its repressive system of government, expanding its economic, security and political interests, and restoring China to what it sees as its rightful place at the center of the world,” the report said.
It called on lawmakers in Washington to take action to prevent this from happening, and made ten key recommendations, including a rigorous screening of companies of Chinese origin, mandatory reciprocity from Beijing on public-private sector interactions, and greater US support for Taiwan’s self-government and semi-autonomous Hong Kong.
Without such measures, the report predicted a reorganization of the international order.
“Underestimating Beijing’s intention to revise the international order on the basis of its current capabilities risks delaying a response until it is already too late to preserve the liberal international order that has enabled the unprecedented flourishing of human life and freedoms in the last three quarters of a century,” the report added.
U.S. lawmakers have increasingly sounded the alarm, fearing what they see as unfair and exploitative Chinese behavior in international politics and trade.
When the House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that aimed to increase the ability of Chinese companies to raise money on U.S. stock exchanges, Hua criticized what she saw as a further practice that “shows that the United States applies discriminatory policies to Chinese companies and introduces political repression against them.
She urged the US to reconsider this approach in favor of dialogue.
“In today’s world, where the capital market is highly globalized, the right way to solve problems is to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between the relevant parties in an open manner on issues such as strengthening cross-border regulatory cooperation and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of investors,” Hua said. “We strongly oppose the politicization of securities regulation. We hope that the U.S. side can create a fair, equitable and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies to invest and operate in the U.S. rather than trying to erect various barriers”.
While tensions between the U.S. and China remain high, the tensions that led to disease and disruption of life around the world this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak have cooled relatively since the U.S. presidential election, in which Trump’s rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, was declared the winner.
China has acknowledged Biden’s victory, and last week President Xi Jinping delivered a message to the President-Elect.
“The promotion of healthy and stable development of China-US relations not only serves the fundamental interests of the people of both countries, but also meets the common expectations of the international community,” Xi said, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
The Chinese head of state called for a reorientation of relations, one that would be to the mutual benefit of both countries.
Xi was quoted as saying that he “hopes that the two sides will maintain the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, focus on cooperation, manage differences, promote the healthy and stable development of China-US relations, and join with other countries and the international community to promote the noble cause of world peace and development.
Biden has been largely silent on China, where he previously traveled as both a vice president and a senator. In an interview with the New York Times published on Wednesday, he revealed that he did not plan any sudden decisions involving China, including the reversal of the Trump era tariffs that sparked a trade war between the two nations two and a half years ago.
“I will not take immediate action, and the same goes for tariffs,” Biden told the newspaper. “I will not prejudge my options.”
Instead, he said, he would first conduct a comprehensive review of the current US-China strategy and consult with foreign allies, particularly in Asia and Europe, “so that we can develop a coherent strategy.
“In my view, the best China strategy is one that puts all our allies – or at least former allies – on the same page,” Biden told The Times. “In the first few weeks of my presidency, one of my top priorities will be to try to get us back on the same page with our allies,” Biden told The Times.