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  • Matthew Diemer

Why I Left China

A number of years ago I lived in China. I studied at Beijing University on a scholarship and graduated top of my class. I learned the language and I met the people. But while I was there, I witnessed the transformation of China.


It went from being an open and global-oriented country looking to a China-oriented country. As its political party shut off more and more access to the internet, the Chinese people were unable to get a clear view of what it’s actually like to live in other countries. They have no source for information about the world outside China except media the Chinese government controls.


Politicians need to understand what they’re up against when it comes to taking on China. Will you help me get to Congress so I can share my wealth of experience to come up with better solutions than being “tough”?


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China is responsible for over 25% of the world’s manufacturing output. If it cut off its trade to outside nations, it would seriously damage the world’s economy. Luckily they rely on other countries for a lot of their nutrition, and as their population rises from poverty it has acquired a taste for the food we take for granted in western nations.


I’m not worried about an imminent crisis of supply chain blockades though. What worries me is our reliance on China for a large number of our consumer goods, and if they increase their production capacity further, it’ll be nearly impossible to get out from under their thumb.

Image source: https://unsplash.com/@linglivestolaugh


Another issue we face is China’s stance towards other countries which it is laid claim to. Not sovereign entities at all, but extensions of China itself. It’s called the “One-China” policy, and alleges that Tibet, Taiwan, and a host of other territories (some man-made) are all part of China proper, even though Taiwan has been its own country since the 50s.


If we are to establish mutually beneficial ties with countries like Taiwan and trade hubs like Hong Kong then our representatives must understand the histories of independence in these places and China’s policy regarding their autonomy.


Taiwan is a superpower in the production of integrated circuits. Components that go into almost everything we make these days because of the rapid increase of connectivity. We need to carefully balance our relationship with China so that we don’t disrupt the trade all 3 nations are currently relying on.


Policymakers must be aware of the threats China poses, as well as the threats the United States pose to China. I am aware of where they’re weak and they’re strong, and can contribute that knowledge to draft policy which deals with China intelligently.


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A lot of people who lived in China are regularly asked to consult for American companies looking to set up operations in China. The companies ask for opinions, disregard them, and then their operations in China proceed to fail. They’re left reeling and surprised and wonder what they did wrong.


What they did wrong is taking an American-oriented business attitude to China and being surprised when it doesn’t mesh with the way the Chinese do business. There is no sense of common decency in China, where personal connections are king. Debt is not counted in dollars, but in favors.


A few companies losing money in China is hardly a threat to national security, but if policymakers try to legislate against China without having the full picture, when the stakes are so much higher, then we’ll all suffer the consequences.


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