China-US Relations

by Michael Cleverly

The deterioration of the relationship between China and the United States has been going on since the CCP formed the People’s Republic of China in October of 1949. 

Even before the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the United States supported Chiang Kai-shek and the nationalist forces fighting against the People’s Liberation army. However, this year the breakdown in China-U.S. relations accelerated and impacted the lives of people in both countries.

In America the threat of TikTok and WeChat being banned caused concern for many people. TikTok faces a ban that will start on Nov. 12. This ban will go into effect if Tik Tok’s parent company, ByteDance, does not sell the app, its source code and all their shares of the app.  More than 100 million people in the U.S. use the app and would be affected by the ban.

However, TikTok plans to appeal to a federal judge to have the ban stopped. Legal action appears as a possible solution after American users of WeChat claimed that banning the app would damage the right to free speech for Americans who speak Chinese. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler ruled against the national ban, allowing WeChat to continue to operate in the U.S. A ban on WeChat mostly would have affected Chinese people living in the U.S. who use it to communicate with family back in China and other Chinese speakers.

Earlier this year, in light of recent actions taken by the Chinese government, the U.S. government considered a travel ban on CCP members from China. According to an article from the “Washington Post”, “The U.S. is using harsh language about the Chinese Communist Party. Who joins the CCP- and why?”, the CCP has 92 million members. Not all CCP members are government officials who help create policies. 

“I would say a lot of CCP members are just communist by name.” said an anonymous Chinese student, “They just want their job, get good pay and welfare.” 

The decline in U.S.-China relations recently also complicates the visa application process. The forced closure of the Chinese Houston Consulate and China’s response of closing the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu have made it difficult for Chinese Americans to get a visa to return to China to take care of sick parents. Similarly, Chinese people looking to get a visa to come to the U.S. are unable to do so.

The United States’ visa system shut down on Mar. 20 and remains closed. Each year around 300,000 Chinese students come to study in the U.S. This year, however, they couldn’t get visas to come to the U.S. Chinese students already in the U.S. face uncertainty from policies that the U.S. government has been proposing concerning visas for international students.

A policy proposed recently would limit the amount of years an international student could study in the U.S. to get a degree. This policy would also change the amount of time some visas for international students were good for before they would have to ask for a renewal. One policy proposed earlier this year, that was later dropped, would have forced international students to leave the country if their college did not have in person classes.

These policies cause a lot of stress for international students from all over the world including those from China. Because of COVID-19, China instituted a policy called the “Five One” policy forcing both Chinese and foreign airlines to have only one flight a week. This means that if any Chinese students want to return to China, they are limited in the airline tickets they can obtain. China also recommended that students studying in the United States should stay there to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.

Some Chinese students plan to go home during breaks to spend time with their families. However, this year because of the visa system being closed and the policies being proposed, many have stayed because of uncertainty. 

International Chinese young students experienced uncertainty, fear and anxiety.” said Dr. Zhang Assistant Professor of Education at Cedarville University, “They cannot go back and cannot come in.”

Michael Cleverley is a sophomore Journalism major with an Asian Studies minor and writer for Cedars. When not studying or working on a story for Cedars he likes to write, knit and hang out with friends.


1 Reply to "China-US Relations"

  • comment-avatar
    Myron October 8, 2020 (10:08 am)

    As someone who has worked in China for nearly 4 decades, I’d respectfully suggest this article lacks necessary context. It has been true since the early 1980’s the CCP is Communist in name only. However, it remains a dictatorship which in recent years has taken a turn and become a bad actor domestically as well as internationally.

    The presentation of the tension over Huawei, WeChat, and TikTok leaves out key context for the reader. While the US has been more vigilant in recent years of threats these companies/apps may or may not pose, from the inception of apps like Whatsapp and Facebook, China has banned their use and blocked Google searches. This has been done not so much because of the perceived threats of the technology itself as in the case of WeChat and TikTok, but because of the government attempting to limit the flow of information to her people.

    On the visa front, while I am understanding of the difficulties and stresses of navigating the visa situation for China students, it runs both ways. While holding a valid China visas and residency permits, American students as well as business owners with very significant investment in China have been refused entry to manage their businesses by China’s Foreign Affairs Office, …even when coming on an American Chamber of Commerce chartered flight.