Where Biden, Trump Stand on the Chinese Communist Party

Chinese soldiers sit atop mobile rocket launchers as they drive in a parade to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, at Tiananmen Square on October 1, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
BY BOWEN XIAO

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and President Donald Trump have different approaches when it comes to dealing with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Political advisers and China experts point to Beijing’s decades-long history with Biden, who as a U.S. senator supported China’s 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), leading to permanent normal trade relations with the United States.

Beijing has long been accused of exploiting its position in the WTO as a “developing nation” by engaging in a barrage of unfair trade practices, which Trump officials and experts have lamented has gone largely unpunished—at least through current WTO rules.

Biden has grown to be more vocal in criticizing the regime over its human rights violations while his campaign has painted him as someone who would confront China economically. Trump, while reaching a trade deal with China, has been a fierce critic of its human rights abuses, meeting with victims of communist persecution in the Oval Office. He has also repeatedly raised the possibility of decoupling from China to end America’s reliance on Chinese manufacturing.

The way the two approach the CCP “differ in fundamental ways especially when it comes to economics,” according to Brian Kennedy, chairman of the “Committee on the Present Danger: China,” and author of “Communist China’s War Inside America.”

“President Trump believes that China presents an economic threat to the American middle class and to our future prosperity as a nation,” he told The Epoch Times. “Vice President Biden is a globalist who believes that you have to put the economic interests of the world, especially developing nations, before those of the United States.”

“Unfortunately, [Biden] also considers China a developing nation,” he added. Biden’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

Trump is holding the CCP accountable for its theft of intellectual property, while with Biden, “you see an ongoing desire to make sure that the PRC [People’s Republic of China] has access to Wall Street,” Kennedy added.

In 2013, the Obama administration allowed Chinese companies to invest in U.S. capital markets without having their books inspected by U.S. regulators, after meetings between Chinese officials and Biden.

Michael Johns, a former White House speechwriter for George H.W. Bush and a Heritage Foundation foreign policy analyst, told The Epoch Times that Trump understands how China has manipulated its role in international bodies and “is using aggressive and sophisticated efforts to expand its global military, intelligence, and economic influence.”

Under Trump, the United States is officially withdrawing from the World Health Organization (WHO) amid concerns that the agency is heavily influenced by the Chinese regime.

When it comes to Biden’s relationship with China, there couldn’t be a more clear difference, said Johns, who said he believes there is no doubt Biden “leveraged” his relations with the CCP “for the direct financial benefit of his son,” referring to Hunter Biden. That stands in contrast to Trump’s warnings going back decades about how China was “consciously seeking to destroy our manufacturing base,” he said.

Biden and his son, who once served on the board of directors of a Chinese-backed private equity firm, have both publicly denied any wrongdoing when it comes to China.

“Throughout his 47-year career in Washington, Biden has been engaged in supporting … one of the biggest foreign policy lies ever told: that China’s economic ascent would lead to more moderation and liberalization in its approach with the U.S. and the free world, and in its human rights conditions at home,” Johns said.

While China’s economy has grown from about “$300 billion in 1980 to $14 trillion last year,” its communist leadership “has become more, not less, aggressive,” Johns said, adding that the CCP now represents one of the world’s “most horrific human rights conditions of any country.”

U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that Beijing wants Trump to lose this year. Chinese state media have openly voiced support for a Biden presidency, saying he would be “smoother” for the regime to deal with than Trump.

Record on CCP

Blair Brandt, a political adviser, said that from the authenticity of position, track records, or future plans, Trump clearly recognizes the threat posed by China, while Biden retains the attitude of previous administrations.

“Trump has shown time and time again that he fundamentally understands and is willing to confront the existential threat of China’s rise, while Joe Biden seems complacent to let the status quo reign,” Brandt told The Epoch Times.

“We can no longer allow American businesses and jobs, which should be within our own shores, to curate China’s economic growth, which quite ironically is then being used to threaten our national security in the military theater and cyberspace,” he added.

Biden initially downplayed the threat posed by China. At a campaign stop in Iowa in May 2019, Biden said, “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man.

“I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks,” Biden said at the time. “But guess what, they’re not competition for us.”

After he received widespread criticism for his comments, his campaign adopted a harsher tone toward China.

Biden’s relationship with Chinese leader Xi Jinping goes deeper. They got to know each other when Biden was vice president. In 2015, Biden noted that he and Xi “have had countless private discussions that go well beyond the typical talking points.

“I told the president [Xi] this after our multiple meetings—that I came away impressed with the president’s candor, determination, and his capacity to handle what he inherited,” he said.

William S. Bike, author of the book “Winning Political Campaigns,” said Trump believed that Obama’s attempt to co-opt China as a strategic partner was a “failure” and that he has “taken both a tougher tone and tougher actions.”

If Trump is reelected, Bike says to expect the tough tone and policies to “ramp up even more.”

“If Biden is elected, the United States will not immediately be able to go back to the policies of the Obama days in partnering with China, as relations are too strained,” Bike told The Epoch Times via email. “Instead, Biden will work on increasing the economic competitiveness of the United States and strengthening its alliances and partnerships in the Far East to put outside economic and diplomatic pressure on China to play ball with the United States.”

At a 2011 roundtable in Beijing, Biden said, “President Obama and I, we welcome, encourage, and see nothing but positive benefits flowing from direct investment in the United States from Chinese businesses and Chinese entities.”

Biden’s past relationship with Xi also gives him a chance of “building a personal working relationship with the Chinese president,” according to Bike.

Countering CCP

During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised to confront China about its unfair economic practices. The president’s approach during his first term is unprecedented in its toughness, experts say. Trump implemented an “all-of-government” national security approach to counter China’s infiltration of the United States, a large-scale effort not seen by previous U.S. administrations.

Trump has sanctioned Chinese officials on multiple occasions, including for supporting China’s new authoritarian national security law in Hong Kong and for human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other minorities.

FBI Director Christopher Wray recently revealed that the bureau currently has more than 2,000 active investigations that trace back to the CCP, marking a roughly 1,300 percent increase in economic espionage probes with links to the Chinese regime.

He said the bureau opens “a new counterintelligence investigation that ties back to China every 10 hours.”

The State Department has also rebuked the CCP’s “decades-long war on faith,” including its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. A number of Chinese-backed companies have been blacklisted by the Trump administration over China’s human rights abuses.

Follow Bowen on Twitter: @BowenXiao_

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