The suggestion that Democrats are soft on China is a reoccurring policy theme that the President has returned to throughout his four years in office. Now, as Trump prepares to take on Biden in a bid to secure a second term, his administration is once again amping up the anti-China rhetoric.
The campaign said it plans to bring back 1 million manufacturing jobs from China and hold the country “fully accountable for allowing the virus to spread around the world.”
Though concerns about China have become decidedly more bipartisan in recent years, there remains a view among many in Washington that Chinese leaders would prefer a President Biden come 2021. It’s an idea that was given fresh impetus, after William Evanina, a top US intelligence official, said in a statement last month that Beijing would rather Trump lose the election.
During a key note address at the opening night of the Republican convention, Monday, former ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley said Biden would be “great for Communist China.”
But experts say the reality is far more complex, and China’s leadership remains decidedly split on which candidate would better align with the country’s long-term strategic aims.
Social media mockery
On Chinese social media, Trump has been mockingly named “Chuan Jianguo,” or “Build up the Country Trump,” with online users positing that Trump is bolstering Chinese President Xi Jinping’s regime by wrecking America. Although Trump has unleashed an onslaught of attacks on China in the form of tariffs, sanctions and bans, he has largely acted unilaterally, without the support of key allies.
“They know Biden will be a multilateralist, whether it’s on trade, whether it’s on security, whether it’s even on human rights,” said Stephen Orlins, president of the National Committee on US-China Relations. “He will have a multilateral approach to China and those people are fearful of a Biden presidency.”
According to Minxin Pei, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and author of “China’s Crony Capitalism,” Biden would reinstate America’s support for multilateral organizations, including the WHO, while strengthening trade and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliances — all of which would constrain China.
Susan Shirk, chair…