After four years of Donald Trump and his tough-on-China policies, today Joe Biden takes office with a big question mark as to how he will approach the Communist regime. Early on in his campaign, Biden seemed to dismiss any perceived threat from China, famously telling an audience, "China is going to eat our lunch? Come on man!" But later on, Biden talked a little tougher on the Chinese, in particular promising to crack down on their human rights violations. Further complicating matters is Biden's possible compromise due to his son Hunter's shady business dealings in China.
Gordon Chang, China expert and author of The Coming Collapse of China, predicts a softer hand from Biden, especially at first. "Most new occupants of the White House give China a grace period, and I expect Biden will do the same," he tells KTRH. "The issue is whether China will respond, and I think that is unlikely considering the Chinese elite right now are very arrogant."
When it comes to economic issues, Biden is likely to continue to face the same threat as Trump. "China steals somewhere between $500 billion and $600 billion in U.S. intellectual property each year," says Chang. "We can't develop our technology if China keeps on stealing it, so I expect that eventually the Biden administration will come around to policies that resemble those of the Trump administration."
On human rights issues, Team Biden may have gotten a boost from Team Trump. In one of its last official acts, the Trump administration formally accused China of genocide against the Uighers and other minority Muslim groups. "This is significant, because it will restrict the ability of the United States to cooperate with China," says Chang.
While Biden may have an initial learning curve with China, he needs to get up to speed quickly. "I don't think Joe Biden as an individual understands the fundamental nature of the Chinese threat, how malicious China can be...but he's gonna soon find out," says Chang. "Ultimately, I believe history will judge him on how he deals with China, because probably nothing much else will matter."