China on brink as Joe Biden has tools to clamp down on Xi’s power grab

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Mr Biden last week successfully won the US election after what was one of the most hotly anticipated ballots in recent history. The vote took four days to be announced – second in duration to only the 2000 election which took 35 days, several recounts and a Supreme Court decision before it came to an end. President Donald Trump has already launched several lawsuits in a bid to claim a much sought after second term.

Yet, some judges have already dismissed calls for a recount, most notably in Michigan; while other states await decisions on whether they will go ahead with Mr Trump’s requests.

The incumbent’s time in office has been characterised by the worsening of diplomatic relations and political pacts with countries around the world – although it is worth noting that Mr Trump did enjoy good links with Australia, Russia as well as Brazil.

Under former President Barack Obama, the US had strengthened ties with the likes of the EU, the Middle East, Asia, as well as Central and South America, all of which diminished under the 45th President.

This, Yaqiu Wang, China researcher at the organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW), told, had allowed China and President Xi Jinping to pounce on the discord in the West.

In this time, President Xi pushed through controversial legislation and effectively stormed Hong Kong years before the One Country Two Systems framework was set to expire, appeared to increase his campaign against the country’s ethnic minorities, as well as curbing free speech on the mainland even further.

Yet, with a new President and a fresh start, Ms Wang said the US must now align itself with countries who share the same values in order to flatten China’s rising prominence as a world power – one that the West has slowly become reliant on for business, commerce, and manufacturing.

She explained: “The US hasn’t done a good job in forming alliances with other liberal democracies to put pressure on China.

“This is such an important point because China is huge: you need strong alliances and friendships to get together and put pressure on China – but Trump did no good in terms of making sure, for example, that the EU is with the US on China.

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“It has always been important for the US to take a stand and speak critically of China’s human rights abuses, and to have actual policies that have direct consequences for the Chinese government.

“As things are, the most radical people attacking Chinese human rights abuses are doing so with language, and that is getting us nowhere.”

Ms Wang noted the so-called reeducation camps in the northwestern province of Xinjiang, where over a million Uighur Muslims are thought to be held.

While the Chinese government has cited religious extremism for the imprisonments and deny any wrongdoing, human rights groups say the Uighurs are being culturally assimilated into China’s dominant Han Chinese ethnicity, having their cultural roots erased from history.


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Similar reports have been described in Tibet where ethnic minorities face religious persecution and repercussions should they decide to practise ancestral traditions and speak their native tongue.

Despite what Ms Wang perceives as a poor four years of foreign diplomacy, she conceded that Mr Trump had succeeded in certain areas against China.

For example, the President’s economic sanctions against companies complicit in surveillance in Xinjiang.

The US has also in recent months blacklisted certain members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for alleged direct involvement in human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims.

“Those are things other Western governments have not done or have done to a less extent,” Ms Wang said.

When President Xi pushed the mainland’s control onto Hong Kong in June, passing the controversial security law, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was quick to defend Hong Kongers.

A former colony, many Hong Kongers hold British National Overseas (BNO) passports, with Mr Johnson offering those in possession of one the chance to settle in the UK and apply for citizenship.

The CCP reacted furiously to the news, threatening the UK with retaliation.

This was a small act of resistance in an ocean of Chinese aggression that has been focused on what Sean King, senior vice-president of Park Strategies in New York and an affiliated scholar at University of Notre Dame’s Liu Institute, described to as the country’s “near abroad”.

He said that President Xi is currently “very focused on controlling and shaping how people view the party” abroad and how there is “economic coercion going on where if you want to trade with China, then you have to tow the line on issues important to the country like Taiwan, like Tibet, like the South China Sea and Hong Kong”.

Meanwhile, China has been silent on Mr Biden’s election victory.

The country reportedly expects less volatility from the next President but tougher relations in the next four years, according to the Financial Times.

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