Democrats’ Failed Attempt to Stand Up to China
New York Rep. Gregory Meeks (D) this week introduced a proposal that aims to counter the policy challenges posed by China and to pressure Beijing on human rights.
The so-called EAGLE Act addresses a wide range of concerns including increased investment to promote American manufacturing, trade, and reengagement in international organizations.
The bill describes China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang as “genocide.”
It also demands audits of all Chinese companies listing on US financial markets to determine whether they have committed or contributed to human rights violations.
The 470-page document aims to spur American strategic and economic competitiveness through climate action, development finance, vaccine diplomacy, and digital partnerships.
“[As China] has grown in economic heft, its government has unfortunately used its newfound influence and power in ways that run contrary to the interests of others in the region and clashed with the very international order which facilitated its rise,” says Meeks. “China increasingly seeks to undermine that rules-based order and challenge America’s place in it.”
- Aggressive action on its borders
- Maritime and territorial claims
- Economic coercion of US allies
- Theft of intellectual property and technology
- Anti-competitive industrial and trade policies
- Likely release of COVID-19
Meeks’ proposal is a great start. However, it fails to make mention of unfair trade practices, intellectual property theft, or China’s culpability in the pandemic. The provisions designed to increase American support for Taiwan and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong are so weak as to be non-existent and the rules designed to hold China accountable for its greenhouse gas emissions will never hold.
Like President Biden, Meeks seems to believe that all we need to do to get along with China is talk. This could be a disastrous bill. Not because the measures it contains are bad, but because the things it ignores will continued to be ignored for the rest of Biden’s presidency.
You can hear Meeks talk at length about his proposal here:
Editor’s Note: This is very much an appeasement bill and is exactly what I would expect from the Biden Administration. China has always been able to manipulate treaties to its advantage. And Trump was the only one that would not allow this to happen.