Profile image
By Cato Institute-Recent Op-Eds
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

China Risks Losing Her Western Friends

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

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 enemy.

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 approach.

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 foul.

As a result, many U.S. firms, once strong advocates of the bilateral economic relationship, 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 over the PRC’s treatment of Hong Kong and Taiwan may be inevitable but need not pose insurmountable differences. The PRC’s treatment of the two lands acts as a measure of Beijing’s willingness to respect their unique characteristics.

Abandoning Peace
Particularly important is China’s commitment to peace. However, Beijing’s recent policies suggest a dangerous impatience. Coercion and violence would undermine the relationship and, especially if used against Taiwan, risk broader conflict.

Western governments recognize the challenge of dealing with Muslim extremists. However, Beijing’s extraordinarily harsh policies imposed in Xinjiang against the Uyghur population are seen as not just overbroad, but neo-totalitarian. That suggests a return to an earlier era when the Chinese government sacrificed the Chinese population to satisfy ideological imperatives.

China also appears to be reversing what had until recently been a more tolerant policy toward people of faith, protected by China’s constitutional guarantee of the “freedom of religious belief.” For many in the West, the willingness to respect people who exercise their faiths in ways that do not harm others is an important standard for assessing other governments.

Another reminder of an unpleasant past comes from recent criticism of the role of the constitution and rule of law. These concepts were helping to create accountability and predictability in governance. The seeming abandonment of these objectives brings to mind the PRC’s previous experiences with excessive political power.

China: Return To The Past?
Overall, China appears to be racing backwards toward future hardship.

Most Chinese citizens understandably are sensitive about foreign criticism. But many of China’s best friends in other nations fear that ongoing changes will badly undermine international relations.

Indeed, the PRC’s policies have encouraged its neighbors to increasingly cooperate with other, more distant powers, such as America and India, against China. Even further abroad, some of Beijing’s good friends have turned into critics.

The PRC has changed much in recent decades. It would be a tragedy if China retreated from the freer, more open society which it appeared ready to become. Beijing should listen to its friends as it moves into the future.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.


Support BeforeitsNews by trying our natural health products! Join our affiliate program
Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at

Get our Free Ebook, "Suppressed Health Secrets"  with  Natural Cures THEY don't want you to know!

APeX - Far superior to colloidal silver!  Destroys Viruses, Bacteria, Pathogens with Oxygen plus Silver!Supreme Fulvic - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!
Ultimate Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.
MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen!  
Organic Hemp Extract (CBD) - Full Spectrum high CBD (3300mg) hemp extract eases stiff joints, relieves stress and more!
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.

Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

FINAL WARNING!   Diseases are EXPLODING!  Watch this Video about APeX and You'll THROW AWAY Your Colloidal Silver!   APeX destroys Viruses, Bacteria and other Pathogens with the power of Oxygen PLUS Silver!  Nobody else has a product like THIS!   See why the inventor hasn't been sick in 16 years and why you'll never hear about it on the FAKE NEWS!  Get some now and tell your friends about it too so we can reach more people!  

APeX Interview - Superior to Colloidal Silver from Lee Canady on Vimeo.

Learn about APeX Here and Get the 50 Page Report in PDF format.   Call us at 888-809-8385 to order by phone.

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.