Within weeks of the Biden administration gaining control of the State Department, American diplomats were publicly humiliated at a meeting with their Chinese counterparts.
During the conference in Alaska, Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered a measured speech about encouraging a “rule-based international order.” In a lengthy retort, Chinese officials bluntly informed America’s top diplomat that the United States “does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength” and that “the Western world does not represent the global public opinion.”
As Blinken predecessor Mike Pompeo remarked after the incident, “Strength deters bad guys. Weakness begets war.”
For Sino-American relations, the principle extends far beyond diplomacy.
Here are four ways America routinely surrenders to China.
Actor and WWE star John Cena made waves after he issued an apology — delivered in Chinese — for the crime of suggesting that Taiwan is an independent country.
“Hi China, I’m John Cena,” the wrestler turned actor said in a video posted to a Chinese social media platform. “I’m in the middle of Fast and Furious 9 promotions… I made one mistake… I love and respect China and Chinese people. I’m very, very sorry about my mistake. I apologize, I apologize, I’m very sorry. You must understand that I really love, really respect China and the Chinese people.”
Cena was undoubtedly motivated by promoting “Fast and Furious 9” to countless millions of enthusiastic Chinese moviegoers. His grifting is by no means unique: American companies must comply with Chinese regulations — and dogma — to conduct business in the communist nation, which boasts one of the world’s fastest-growing consumer economies.
For instance, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver notes that his organization must “build relationships” in order to continue the growth of basketball as “the most popular team sport” in China. In 2019, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey faced condemnation from the league for supporting pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.
Companies in other industries must also avoid displeasing the Chinese regime. Media outlets like Bloomberg have nixed stories critical of powerful officials in Beijing out of the fear that they could be shut out of the Chinese market. Technology firms like Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo have capitulated to Chinese demands that they provide back doors to their products. Former Attorney General William Barr accordingly slammed the companies for “being too willing to take steps to ensure access to the large Chinese market.”
The economic interdependence that exists between the United States and China has enabled Chinese entities to steal between $300 billion and $600 billion in American intellectual property every year.
A large portion of the theft arises from American universities and their research institutes. Last year, one Chinese national was caught attempting to smuggle Harvard cancer research out of the country in a sock. Others were likewise caught in possession of software and other assets.
As the Department of Justice explains, China maintains its “Thousand Talents” program to “lure overseas talent and foreign experts to bring their knowledge and experience to China and reward individuals for stealing proprietary information.”
Beyond the theft of intellectual property, American academia buckles under China’s ideological offensives.
Despite rising pressure from lawmakers, several dozen American universities host chapters of the Confucius Institute — an entity affiliated with China’s education ministry and labeled by the State Department as “part of the Chinese Communist Party’s global influence and propaganda apparatus.”
As a Campus Reform investigation uncovered, several prominent American universities — including Georgia State University, the University of Toledo, and Southern Utah University — signed contracts effectively surrendering their academic freedom to the Confucius Institute Headquarters in China. One clause states that the American host institution “must accept” the “project assessments conducted by the Headquarters.”
“Think of the equivalent. Suppose somebody in the U.K. decides that they want to sponsor a chair at Harvard in 1779? That would be crazy,” Hudson Institute fellow Seth Cropsey told Campus Reform. “And nobody at Harvard in their right mind would have entertained such an idea.”
Indeed, the American professoriate is by no means vigilant in countering China’s encroachments upon their campuses. Recently, the Washington Free Beacon discovered that a Huawei employee ghostwrote an op-ed arguing that the United States “should collaborate with leading technology companies and their research labs, rather than banning them” on behalf of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor. Huawei — a Chinese telecommunications firm — is under investigation by the Department of Justice for thirteen counts related to compromising the national security of the United States.
As demonstrated by the Alaska meeting, the United States often fails to interact with China from a position of strength.
With respect to the investigation into the origins of COVID-19, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki why the Biden administration is not “pushing for more access and information to get to the bottom of exactly what happened” with the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan.
Psaki explained that the United States would trust the judgment of the WHO — an entity that the Chinese Communist Party has effectively shepherded since the earliest days of the pandemic.
“We are. We have repeatedly called for the WHO to support an expert-driven evaluation of the pandemic’s origins that is free from interference or politicization,” Psaki told Doocy. “There were Phase I results that came through. During the first phase of the investigation, there was not access to data or information provided. Now, we are hopeful that WHO can move into a transparent, independent Phase II investigation.”
Likewise, the Chinese government is seeking to grow its international influence through the “Belt and Road Initiative” — an expansive array of foreign infrastructure investments that would essentially establish China as the epicenter of the global economy.
Although Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled the plan as early as 2013, American officials only joined India in condemning the program four years later. In October 2017, then-Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis became the first American official to publicly express concern about the initiative.
While the Chinese government largely emphasizes cultural values aimed at fostering strength, the United States government largely promulgates cultural values which produce weakness.
In particular, one Department of Defense advertisement centering upon the emotional and psychological experience of an Army recruit experienced widespread backlash.
“This is the story of a soldier who operates your nation’s Patriot missile Defense Systems,” says the video. “It begins in California with a little girl raised by two moms.”
The advertisement describes how a Corporal named Emma pursues “her own adventure,” finds “her inner strength,” and shatters “stereotypes” through her career in the Army.
The CIA faced similar criticism after publishing an advertisement that fixates upon an agent’s experience grappling with his homosexual identity.
“Growing up gay in a small Southern town, I was lucky to have a wonderful and accepting family. I always struggled with the idea that I may not be able to discuss my personal life at work,” states the man in the advertisement. “Imagine my surprise when I was taking my oath at the CIA and I noticed a rainbow on then-Director Brennan’s lanyard.”
As American officials released these advertisements, the Chinese government began devising “The Proposal to Prevent the Feminization of Male Adolescents.”
Through its education ministry, the Chinese Communist Party is seeking to promote manhood by hiring more physical education teachers and intensifying health education. A government memo asks schools to “pay more attention to the cultivation of students’ masculinity, and continue to add new physical education teachers through multiple channels.”
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.