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President Trump has been successful in curbing China’s influence and condemning its domestic malpractices, a human rights researcher told Express.co.uk, in a landmark achievement during his administration. It comes as previous comments from Mr Biden resurfaced, appearing to show his lack of concern regarding China’s growing authority over the US. In his four years, Mr Trump moved to quickly implement several policies in reaction to both China’s growth as a global superpower and its notorious record of human rights abuses.
Perhaps his most notable action was in working towards banning the social media giant TikTok after reports suggested the app’s owner, ByteDance, was harvesting data of users.
It is also believed that Mr Trump is planning a slew of sanctions and other measures against China before he leaves the White House early next year, in response to the continuation of human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Yaqiu Wang, China researcher at the organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW), told Express.co.uk that this appeared to be a sticking point of the Trump administration, and that several of his moves had proved a “success” in curbing China’s profiting from human rights abuses.
One example of this came earlier this year as Mr Trump imposed sanctions on Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a company who he said was complicit in the surveillance of China’s Uighur Muslims.
At the same time, two Chinese officials were blacklisted for alleged participation in the abuses.
Ms Wang said: “There are two aspects of Trump’s human rights policies in China.
“One is that the Trump administration, we should give credit, has issued sanctions against companies that are complicit in President Xi Jinping’s surveillance.
“It has also sanctioned individuals that are complicit in human rights abuses in Hong Kong.
“These are all things that the US government has done that other Western governments have done to lesser extents – or not at all – so, there are good things there.”
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It is true that Mr Biden has called President Xi a “thug” in light of the human rights abuses allegations.
Yet, previous comments from the President-elect suggest that he initially did not consider the global power a threat to the US as Mr Trump has claimed.
During a 2019 campaign trail speech in Iowa in 2019 Mr Biden played down concerns that China was on the verge of surpassing the US as a global economic and national security superpower.
He said: “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man — they can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the West.
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“They can’t figure out how they’re going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. They’re not bad folks. They’re not competition for us.”
Mr Trump’s sanctions have been intended to curb China’s economic influence considerably as the country has surged as an economic power.
In 1995, the value of China’s imports and exports of goods totalled $280.9billion (£212.9bn) – three per cent of global trade.
By 2018, its total trade in goods had leaped to $4.6trillion (£3.4tn) – 12.4 percent of global trade.
Mr Biden has since doubled down on his claim that China is not “competition”.
Just weeks after making the comment, he said: “You bet I’m worried about China — if we keep following Trump’s path.”
Many now note that Mr Biden is unlikely to reverse Mr Trump’s trade war with China.
This is despite him once championing China, even voting for the country to become a part of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which helped its rise.
Although she commended Mr Trump for his proactive approach to China, Ms Wang explained that the President’s avoidance of building relationships with other countries to fight China’s influence has been particularly poor.
She said: “On the other hand I feel the US is not doing a good job to form an alliance with other liberal democracies to put pressure on China.
“That is very important because China is huge: you need alliances and friendships to get together to put pressure on China.
“But Trump is not doing good in terms of making sure the EU is with the US on China, for example.”
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