US Commerce Secretary Arrives in Beijing as CCP Struggles to Save Its Economy

Dorothy Li
By Dorothy Li
August 27, 2023China News
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US Commerce Secretary Arrives in Beijing as CCP Struggles to Save Its Economy
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo (C) talks to U.S. Ambassador to China Nick Burns (R) as she arrives at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing on Aug. 27, 2023. (Andy Wong/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo arrived in Beijing on Sunday night, kicking off three days of talks with senior Chinese officials who are grappling with a faltering economy.

According to China’s state media, Ms. Raimondo was greeted by Li Feng, director general of China’s Commerce Ministry, as well as U.S. ambassador Nick Burns, at the Beijing Capital International Airport.

Ms. Raimondo is the fourth Biden cabinet official to visit Beijing in the past three months after Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and climate envoy John Kerry.

Outside observers expected the communist regime to be more friendly with Ms. Raimondo than its previous American guests, especially Mr. Blinken, who received a muted welcome in Beijing and his biggest request, to resume the military hotline, was rejected.

China is reaching out with warm messages for Ms. Raimondo as the regime wrestles with its faltering economy, Su Tzu-yun, a senior analyst at Taiwan’s government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research, told The Epoch Times, on Saturday when the commerce chief was en route to Beijing.

“The stock market will continue to slump, the ticking time bomb in the property sector could explode at any time, the [youth] unemployment is at a record high, and the foreign investors are leaving China,” he said. “The internal economic situation is very unfavorable.”

But the ailing economy was “created by the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] itself,” he noted.

Under CCP leader Xi Jinping, China updated its anti-espionage law, which broadens the definition of espionage to “all documents, data, materials, or items related to national security and interests.” The vaguely worded legislation, which did not specify what falls under national security, brings more challenges to global businesses after several raids and arrests rattled investors.

The authorities have slapped Mintz, a U.S. due diligence firm, with a $1.5 million fine in a security crackdown after police raided its Beijing office and detained five of its local employees in March.

The latest counterespionage push, which creates a more hostile social environment by encouraging citizens in China to spy on each other, combined with a top economic leadership team picked by Mr. Xi based on political loyalty instead of experience, “has a fatal impact on China’s economic development,” Mr. Su said.

Facing the ailing economy, “China now wants the United States, as well as the European Union, to give a hand,” he added.

NTD Photo
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo steps out from a plane as she arrives at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing on Aug. 27, 2023. (Andy Wong/Pool via Getty Images)

Skepticism

Ahead of the trip, Ms. Raimondo’s department removed 27 Chinese entities from the “unverified list,” which restricts companies from receiving sensitive U.S. technology exports.

That move was welcomed by the Chinese regime. “It shows that the two sides can address specific concerns through communication based on mutual respect,” Wang Wenbin, Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesperson, said at a daily briefing on Aug. 22.

Li Qiang, China’s new premier who oversees the economy, also offered an olive branch at a meeting with a visiting delegation of the U.S.-China Business Council in Beijing.

“China is willing to work with the U.S. in undertaking their responsibilities as major countries, jointly upholding international trade rules, and ensuring the stability of global industrial and supply chains,” Mr. Li said at the meeting on Aug. 21, according to the summary from CCP state media Xinhua.

Still, analysts doubted whether the Chinese regime would back up its expression of goodwill with any policy changes.

“I don’t think the Chinese Communist Party could make an effective response to the request of the United States,” Song Guo-cheng, a researcher at National Chengchi University’s Institute of International Relations in Taiwan, told The Epoch Times.

That skepticism, he said, springs from the Chinese regime’s failure to follow through on its promise of expanding the purchase of American goods and services under the phase-one trade agreement signed in January 2020, making it impossible to set a timeline for the phase-two deal.

“The CCP hasn’t responded in any kind of good faith,” Mr. Song said. “That’s why the U.S-China trade war is not ending.”

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A shipping container is offloaded from East China Sea container ship at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, Calif., on June 20, 2018. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

While Ms. Raimondo is looking forward to “constructive discussions” with senior Chinese officials on issues related to bilateral commercial ties, challenges faced by U.S. businesses, and areas for potential cooperation,” the Commerce Department said, analysts see little hope for an end to spiraling U.S.–China tensions.

“I am very negative and pessimistic regarding the CCP,” Mr. Song said. “I don’t see any specific actions the CCP would like to take to ease the tension in the U.S.–China trade relations.”

US Feds the CCP

U.S. former and current officials, meanwhile, warned that the Chinese regime has no intention to change policies such as forced technology transfers and state subsidies that led to the current U.S. export controls.

House China Committee Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), along with a group of Republicans, urged Ms. Raimondo to tighten export controls on the CCP before she headed to Beijing.

“The fact is that the Chinese Communist Party shouldn’t get any say in our decisions over export controls,” he told The Epoch Times. “We have legitimate national security concerns about American technology going to China to fuel its ongoing genocide” in Xinjiang and help perfect an “Orwellian totalitarian surveillance state.”

Nazak Nikakhtar, a former senior U.S. Commerce Department official, noted the CCP has enacted a series of laws and mandates, such as national security laws and anti-foreign sanctions laws, to force companies to comply with its demands to hand over their sensitive technologies.

“China’s a non-market economy. Its economy is not based on market fundamentals,” she said at a webinar held by the Committee on the Present Danger: China on Aug. 22. “The CCP also decides how American businesses operating there are to operate. There are CCP members in every important business in China. They decide how the company runs.

“So, when we talk about export controls, tech transfer, let me be clear that China has no interest in following our rules or prohibitions.”

Decades of engagement with the CCP has allowed U.S. capital and technology to strengthen the communist regime.

With the help of technological theft and transfer from America, China now leads the world in 37 out of 44 technologies, including critical areas such as space, artificial intelligence (AI), and quantum technology, Ms. Nikakhtar said, citing a March report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). “This is very dangerous,” she added.

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A television shows a news broadcast about China Conducting a live file drill around Taiwan at a local electrical repair store after the then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) in Taipei, Taiwan, on August 04, 2022. (Annabelle Chih/Getty Images)

The advanced technology and money did little help to Chinese people. Instead, they facilitate the CCP to intensify the crackdown on its own people and advance its military, according to Ms. Nikakhtar.

“China’s GDP is the second highest in the world; the gross national income of an average worker is one of the lowest in the world. What does that mean?” she said.

“That means that everything we purchase from China, every time we allow China to grow and build bigger, our capital flows aren’t going to the workers, aren’t going to the companies, but [are] going directly into the pocket of the CCP that’s using our dollars to fund genocide and to fund [its military],” she said.

Echoing her viewpoints, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said it was the United States that allowed the CCP to seize power in 1949 and maintain control in 1989 after the regime sent tanks and troops to crush thousands of pro-democracy student protesters at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

“Now, the only way they can survive is the American elite of Wall Street, [the] technology industry, in our political class, to bail him out a third time,” said Mr. Bannon.

“If we stand our ground now, they will collapse,” he said, because the Chinese people “will bring them down, and we’ll actually have a free China.”

Luo Ya and Eva Fu contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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