October 20, 2020

What to Do About Xinjiang

By Jordan Schneider

Last month, the Trump administration announced a limited set of new restrictions on imports from Xinjiang. The move came in response to a rising chorus of congressional voices calling for the U.S. to act against the forced reeducation and labor regime in the Muslim-majority region in China. Yet the new restrictions have limited reach. Even in an election year when President Trump sees clear political gain in bashing China, he has left untouched his most potent weapons to punish human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

A more aggressive U.S. approach is needed in order to generate the sort of economic reaction required to have any hope of influencing Chinese policymaking.

While the Trump administration has slowly but steadily increased pressure, it failed to accelerate coercive policy to a level that would really cause Chinese President Xi Jinping to second guess his policy. In fact, Xi recently doubled down, again publicly endorsing the current Xinjiang strategy, and policy targeting non-Han Chinese is growing stricter in Tibet and Mongolia. A more aggressive U.S. approach is needed in order to generate the sort of economic reaction required to have any hope of influencing Chinese policymaking.

Read the full article in Lawfare.

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