China remains an important topic in the 2016 presidential electionprimaries and debates. Both the Democrats and the Republicans havebeen against China’s local and international policies. Some of theChinas undesirable attributes in the eyes of the Americanpresidential candidates include lack of observing human rights andthe negative effects of its trade policies on the American economy(Mughan 4). Bernie Sanders, the Democratic governor of Vermont,exudes a strong stance on china’s policies. Sanders focus on threemain areas that he describes as inappropriate for the relationshipbetween China and the United States.
First, Sanders has always voted against the free trade agreementbetween the United States and China. According to him, the tradeagreement with China only serves to hurt the American middle-classworkers and the environment. Sanders holds that, “One of the majorreasons that the middle class in America is disappearing and povertyis increasing is due to our disastrous unfettered free trade policywith China” (Barker). Sanders observes that more than two millionjobs in the United States have been outsourced to the Chinese, whonow live in the United States (Barker). However, Lincoln Chafeeobserves that limiting a free trade agreement would acceleratepoverty. Limiting free trade with China would lead to seriousreprisals from the affected countries. America should be competitivelike China (Rosier, Aubert and Kelly).
Sanders has also accused China of furthering currency manipulation.He proposes the imposition of tariffs on Chinese imports. Accordingto Sanders, “China’s currency manipulation has forced theAmerican workers to compete against desperate and low wage laboraround the world” (Barker). He concurs with Mitt Romney, who, inhis 2012 presidential campaign, declared that he would declare China,a currency manipulator on his second day in office. However, this hasreceived criticism from George Pataki (Rosier, Aubert, and Kelly).According to him, China is not a member of the TPP, and its influenceon the currency is limited.
From the time he was the mayor of Burlington, Sanders used to sendletters to China and the Soviet Union urging them to combine theirinfluence with the United Nations efforts of disarmament. In 2005, hesupported a bill to restrict the transfer of foreign arms to China(Barker). According to Sanders, to authorize measures to deter armstransfer by foreign countries to the people’s Republic of China, aconfirmation vote would grant the President ability to placesanctions to parties violating the arms agreement (Barker). However,Clinton has been pragmatic, and she observes that Sanders fear onlyreflects the fear that Americans have of having an equal. As asuperpower, America is not under the threat of China’s militarystrength.
Finally, Sanders faults China’s disregard for human rights. Heco-sponsored legislation to condemn the actions of the Chinesegovernment in Tibet. According to him, “China does not allowindividuals to pursue the religion of their choice, and it does notadhere to the international agreements on civil and political rights”(Barker). He believes that the revision of China’s policy in Tibetthrough dialogue would prepare the b framework for its associationwith the United States. However, Hilary Clinton faults the idea ofthe America’s direct involvement in enforcing China to observehuman rights (Council on Foreign Relations). The United States,according to Clinton should encourage the smaller neighbors and otherinvolved parties to face China Unliterary.
Barker,Benjamin. What Is Bernie Sanders’ China Policy? TheDiplomat,2015. Web. 6 May 2016.
Council onForeign Relations. Campaign 2016: The Candidates and the World.Council on Foreign Relations. Web. 6 May 2016.
Mughan, Anthony.Media and the presidentialization of parliamentary elections.New York: Springer, 2016. Print.
Rosier,Sarah, Aubert, Emily, Coyle, Kelly. 2016 Presidential Candidates onForeign Affairs. Ballotpedia,2016. Web. 6 May 2016.