Sanctions, Consulate Closure Escalate US-China Tensions

Headline Roundup July 22nd, 2020

Friction between the U.S. and China is ratcheted up this week. As China expands naval operations, U.S. defense officials have moved to implement countermeasures; the U.S. ordered China to close its Houston consulate over national security fears after two Chinese hackers were charged with allegedly trying to steal COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine data; and 11 Chinese companies have been sanctioned over purported human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in China's Xinjiang region.

The tension has been a focus of media coverage on all sides of the political spectrum, with voices from both left and right criticizing China for various reasons. Right-rated outlets and voices focused more on the alleged genocide taking place in Xinjiang, where Uighurs are reportedly in "political re-education" programs that have been likened to WWII-era labor and concentration camps.

Sanctions, Consulate Closure Escalate US-China Tensions

From the Center

China launched its military build-up in the mid-1990s with a top priority: keep the United States at bay in any conflict by making the waters off the Chinese coast a death trap. Now, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is preparing to challenge American power further afield.

China’s shipyards have launched the PLA Navy’s first two Type 075 amphibious assault ships, which will form the spearhead of an expeditionary force to play a role similar to that of the U.S. Marine Corps. And like the Marines, the new force will be...

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From the Right

The U.S. said Wednesday that it has ordered China to close its consulate in Houston "to protect American intellectual property and American's private information." As a result, China is reportedly considering ordering the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan shuttered.

China condemned the move, which comes at a time of rising tensions between the world's two largest economies. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin called it "an outrageous and unjustified move that will sabotage relations between the two countries."

He warned of firm countermeasures if the U.S. does not reverse its decision, which...

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From the Left

United States Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday that Washington is counting on Asian partners to help rein in an increasingly aggressive China, as two of the US Navy's most powerful warships conducted drills with allies in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Esper accused Beijing of bullying nations around the Pacific, depriving countries with claims in the South China Sea of fishing rights and trillions of dollars of oil and gas revenue. He also accused China of "brazen disregard of international commitments."

"Make no mistake, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party)...

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