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‘Made in China’: a Mark of Shame

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The Trump administration’s sanctions have limited Chinese investment in the United States and U.S. citizens from dealing with Chinese companies. As a result, politicians from different sides have had to explain their business relationships with Chinese companies. The most recent examples, on the eve of the all-important Senate elections in Georgia, are that of the Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff and the Republican Party candidate David Perdue.

Donald Trump himself has had to answer for bank accounts and credits obtained from Chinese banks. Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joe Biden, is under investigation by federal authorities because of his business with Chinese companies, according to media reports.

The Georgia Republican Party recently claimed that Democrat hopeful Ossoff received payments from a Chinese state-owned company without reporting them to election authorities. However, the Democrat’s campaign insisted that the candidate had reported these payments.

The fact that he negotiated with companies linked to the Communist Party of China (CCP) has given Ossoff a blow on the eve of the Senate elections, which will take place on January 5th.

For decades, private companies have come under scrutiny for their links forced labor. The constant struggle of the victims of communism in China are finally being recognized, as these allegations have managed have influced the foreign policy of countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States thanks to President Trump’s statements.

Before knowing which party will control the Senate, candidates Perdue and his opponent, Ossoff, have had to answer questions about their connections with China.

El senador republicano David Perdue habla durante un mitin de campaña en el aeropuerto internacional Savannah. El candidato ha apoyado las políticas del presidente Trump frente a China.(Efe)
Republican Senator David Perdue speaks at a campaign rally at Savannah International Airport. The candidate has supported President Trump’s policies toward China. (Efe)

The Washington Post reported that Republican Senator and Georgia candidate David Perdue won his seat six years ago thanks to his robust business career in Asia: “He was proud of his achievements as a brand entrepreneur in the 1990s hiring cheap labor in China.” The newspaper adds that even before President Trump gave prominence to the allegations against the CCP, “Perdue boasted of his ties to the Asian giant.”

Now the senator has withdrawn all mention of his past in Asia and has voted en bloc on sanctions against Chinese companies that threaten national security. He has also supported the victims of the CCP, in line with President Trump.

For his part, the young Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, who, according to his 2017 campaign has experience in national security issues, participated in film projects in the company of companies affiliated with the CCP that threaten the national security of the United States.

In 2015, Ossoff made a documentary highlighting China’s development in Africa. However, some of the companies highlighted in the documentary have been sanctioned by the Trump administration, such as AVIC International.

According to the report in June 2020, the Pentagon announced AVIC as one of 20 Chinese firms “owned, controlled or affiliated with the government, the military or defense industry of China,” which has cast doubt on Ossoff’s reputation and experience as a national security expert.

The documentary made by Ossoff’s company, Insight TWI, mentions other assets of the Chinese soft power, such as the Confucius Institute, which has been sanctioned by several countries for persecuting teachers and violating academic freedoms in schools and universities.

He also brings up the multimillionaire credits to access the China Strip and Route plan. It shows that one of the facilities of the CCP to offer credits to countries like Kenya is that human rights commitments are not involved in the agreements, unlike in the West.

El candidato demócrata Jon Ossoff, habla con sus simpatizantes antes de que realicen un escrutinio en Georgia, Estados Unidos. El candidato no se ha referido a su política frente a China en estas elecciones. (Efe)
El candiDemocratic candidate Jon Ossoff talks to supporters in Georgia, USA. The candidate has not referred to his policy towards China in this election. (Efe)

Senate control is key to the development of U.S. foreign policy. During the Trump administration, the Republican-led Senate has made a bipartisan defense of the CCP’s victims with few opposing voices. This makes these candidates’ relations with Chinese companies all the more important.

American companies involved in forced labor in China

In the bid to protect national security and create a clean and reliable 5G network, the U.S. government has encouraged technology companies to make investments outside of China and governments to contract with suppliers that Washington considers trustworthy.

Compañías americanas como Abercrombie & Fitch, adidas, Amazon y  Apple han sido implicadas en informes de trabajo forzado en China. (Efe)
American companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Amazon and Apple have been implicated in forced labor reports in China. (Efe)

Companies such as Apple, Nike, and Coca Cola have pushed against the sanctions implemented by the Trump administration and the U.S. Congress. An example of this is that Apple has a strong lobby in Congress aimed at making relations with China more flexible.

According to press reports, most business people are optimistic that Joe Biden will be able to negotiate with China. The press and the lobby declare that China is fundamental for the economic growth of American companies.

According to Hannah Beech of the New York Times, for many activists, it is up to the incoming Biden administration and the U.S. Congress to maintain a strong foreign policy in Asia and defense of human rights and national security, as the Trump administration has developed.

Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán

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