How The Sino-American Relationship Improved In 70S Essay, Research Paper
The American President Nixon’s historic trip to China in February 1972 marked the beginning of a new era in Sino-American relations. For the first time since 1949, the two countries established high-level official contacts and transformed their relationship from confrontation to collaboration. Over the following twenty years, however, U.S.-China relations have experienced repeated cycles of progress, stalemate, and crisis, with the events in Tiananmen Square in June 1989 the most recent and disruptive example.
Indeed, although relations between the two countries are greatly more extensive today than they were twenty years ago, they remain highly problematic. Yet the obstacles are mainly base on ideology, state interest and international climate. This can especially shown in disputes on Human Rights, Taiwan and trade relationship. This paper will first give some historical background. Afterward, due to the limit and the intensity of this paper, only matters on human rights as major example will be given a more detailed description and analysis. To conclude, I’ll try to trace out the view how American government treat the Sino-American relationship in a form of historical progression and give further possible questions in different aspects with the prediction and suggestion to them.
Historical progression is used because Sino-American relationship is unlike mostly of other China’s foreign partner, but progressive no matter forward or backward all the time. And now we are going to trace how the America deal with the problems raised and history can help find the trend how they change the way used to deal with relationship in between.
Since 1949 to now, from the international climate and decision-maker dimension, there can be divided into 3 progressive states.
From 1949 to 1969, it is the period of ideological conflict. The international environment, especially the occurrence of Korean War and the movement of the American Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait caused the conflicts between the 2 different ideologies become more serious. In the battlefield in Korea, the two nations even act as enemies. Although in the early 60s President John Kennedy considered open a dialogue with China but China and her leader’s increasingly anti-imperialist rhetoric caused US’s initiative to failure. To make a summary of this period, movement towards better relationship made little progression and there had no way to negotiate, although there was chance, for there was too many ‘concrete’ actions like the later Vietnam War to prohibit.
The second period was from 1968 to 1989 and is so-called the normalization of the two nation. Since the Soviet Union invade the Czechislovakia, China’s leader Mao realized the end of isolation and gave a signal of reopen of dialogue with Washington. The American President Nixon read the signals right and soon the two nations become strategic partners, after the casting of the Nixon’s historical visit to China. This time, from the active role and quick action played by the America in the rebuild of friendship we may see the American values this relationship high and should be beneficial for them at least.
The content of rebuild of formal relationship was in 1979 and mainly described as a form that the United States and the People’s Republic of China had agreed to recognize each other1 and to establish diplomatic relations as of January 1, 1979. The America recognized the Government of the Communist China as the sole legal Government of China. Within this context, the people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan. Further later, the two nation reaffirm2 the principle agreed on by the two side once again that (1) Both of them wish to reduce the danger of international military conflict. (2) Neither should seek hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region or in any other region of the world and each is opposed to efforts by any other country or group of countries to establish such hegemony (3) Neither is prepared to negotiate on behalf of any third party or to enter into agreements or understandings with the other directed at other states. (4) The Government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China. (5) Both believe that normalization of Sino-American relations is not only in the interest of the Chinese and American peoples but also contributes to the cause of peace in Asia and the world.
These agreements, on the other hand, had clearly shown that the effort the American made. But it also quoted out a long discussing problem: Taiwan.
The question of United States arms sales to Taiwan was not settled in the course of negotiations between the two countries on establishing diplomatic relation. The two sides held different positions, and the Chinese side stated that it would raise the issue again following normalization. Recognizing that this issue would seriously harm the development of United States-China relations, they have held further discussions on it, during and since the meetings between President Ronald Reagan and Premier Zhao Ziyang and between Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr., and Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Huang Hua in October 1981.
In fact, United States Government attaches great importance to its relations with China, and reiterates that it has no intention of interfering in Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity, or China’s internal affairs, or pursuing a policy of “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan.” The United States Government understood and appreciated the Chinese policy of striving for a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan question as indicated in China’s Message to Compatriots in Taiwan issued on January 1, 1979 and the Nine-Point Proposal put forward by China on September 30, 1981. The new situation which had emerged with regard to the Taiwan question also provided favorable conditions for the settlement of United States-China differences over the question of United States arms sales to Taiwan.
But for the China side, this attitude taken mainly was owing to unwillingness to harm the rebuilding relationship and losing of this important partner. For this 2 nations with totally difference ideology, it is understandable for China to take this stance but it had been the origin of continue disputes between the 3 countries.
Anyway, apart from the Taiwan problem, China actually tried to keep a distance in the strategic dimension. But on the other hand, China’s leader Deng had launched its ‘Open Door Policy’ and changed his view toward the American, even accept partly of the capitalism that he had keen on economic reform. His economic reform had pushed the academic transaction, economic growth and trading turnover increment to a historical high level.
Continuously, it comes to the third period from 1989 to now. A decade of rapid economic growth, spurred by market incentives and foreign investment, has reduced party and government control over the economy and the information that citizens can access. The June 4 incident was the turning point of Sino-American relationship and it broadened the problem in between to a new level. It all came the human right first. For the people in American and places all over the world, human right may be something more serious and important than any other especially it is in a highly suppressed state.
It is widely accepted that human rights is ensuring that civil and political rights – and human rights institutions that are critical to the development of any modern society – are no less a priority than the remarkable economic progress that many states have enjoyed.
In fact, it is true that the major area of disagreement between the United States and China had been human rights. The Americans recognize that the Chinese people today possess many more options in their daily lives than did their parents. And the progress has also been made in revising civil and criminal law and permitting a degree of choice in village elections. China is changing; but the government’s repression of political dissent has not changed.
Criticism all the world, certainly of the student leaders and maybe as well as of some Chinese people, agree that the evolution toward democracy is a complex process involving many factors, with no particular order or sequence of events that must be followed. It is known that International efforts to promote democratization and basic freedoms are best addressed to as many institutions of civil society as possible, including legislatures, judiciaries, executive agencies, local governments, trade unions, press and media. Of course, democracy cannot be imposed from the outside. It must find its own roots within any given society.
In China, however, the massacre had meanwhile shown its suppressing human right. What the American wants to insist is that China should have no way but to have some human evolution, otherwise not only suffer international isolation again but also economic isolation as well.
Over the recent years, China has engaged in a dialogue with the United States and others on this issue. Dialogue is an important first step, but the signal from the American and international society is nothing clearer – there is no substitute for action. In particular, the Americans have begun constructive discussions with Chinese officials about the rule of law, and they note Chinese efforts to implement legal reforms.
Starting from the key points of human rights to discuss, China in a compared view has a repressive government. It is common that the Strong authoritarian governments in many parts of the world kept themselves in power through the systematic abuse of the human rights of their citizens. China seemed be and it was.
In fact, in China there were positive steps on human rights, although serious problems remained. Chinese authorities continued to commit widespread and well-documented human rights abuses, in violation of internationally accepted norms. Abuses included torture and mistreatment of prisoners, forced confessions, arbitrary arrest, and lengthy inhumane detention. The Government continued to use intimidation, administrative detention, imposition of prison terms, house arrest or exile to control dissent. Thousands remained in prison for the peaceful expression of their political, social, or religious views, or “counterrevolutionary” crimes.
However, the Government’s response to dissent was somewhat more tolerant than in recent years. A number of dissidents, academics, and former officials issued public statements, letters or petitions challenging the Government’s policies or advocating political reform. The authorities released a few political prisoners, including Wei Jingsheng (?Q???). China also made progress in legal reform efforts in 1997. As a result of economic and social changes, generally Chinese citizens now go about their lives with more personal freedom than ever before. However, those Chinese who openly express dissenting political and religious views still live in an environment filled with repression.
Indeed, religion evolutions in China are not optimistic. Nonapproved religious groups, including Protestant and Catholic groups, experienced varying degrees of official interference and repression as the Government continued to enforce its 1994 regulations requiring all religious organizations to register with the Government and come under the supervision of official “patriotic” religious organizations3. There was evidence that the authorities, guided by national policy, in some areas made strong efforts to control the activities of unapproved Catholic and Protestant churches. In some cases, authorities have used detention, arrest, and reform-through-education sentences to enforce regulations. Despite this pressure, the number of religious adherents in many churches, both registered and unregistered, continued to grow at a rapid pace. Citizens worshipping in officially sanctioned churches mosques, and temples reported little or no day-to-day interference by the government. In Xinjiang (?s??) and Tibet (????), tight controls on religion continued and, in some cases, intensified.
The above are the main content of the human right dispute. Apart from it, there are also trade dispute. China is the United States’ fourth largest trading partner. Although U.S. exports have quadrupled in the last decade, China’s wide array of trade barriers, shifts in imports from other Asian trading nations have resulted in a trade deficit with China in 1997 of $50 billion. When services trade is included, US’s deficit with China now exceeds their deficit with Japan. This origin of dispute can say to be revealed with the human right problem as well. Further main points are lacked but it seems China had no intention to deal with it and the US has no other method but through executive means or by means of quota to alleviate it.
To the very end, facing so many serious problems, the US and China can keep their relationship is because of the interests involved. As there are no trend to decrease but to rise only, so, in order to deal with everything generally, the America can make use of dialogues, human right reports, continuous economic development, and academic transaction.
It can be said that the progression of the relationship of the two countries is the Sino-American strategic alignment of the 1970s, the economic partnership of the 1980s, and then the continued tension or even confrontation over such issues as trade, human rights, and the proliferation of advanced weapons in the 1990s.4
In the future 21st centuries, the direction to go is clear. There will have greater interaction based on China’s acceptance of and adherence to international norms. Constructive works are to work together to halt the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, to cooperate on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, to develop cooperative programs on the rule of law, to advance new energy and environmental projects.
With a wider view, the development of United States-China relations is not only in the interest of the two peoples but also contribute to peace and stability in the world. The two sides are determined, on the principle of equality and mutual benefit, to strengthen their ties to the economic, cultural, educational, scientific, technological and other fields and make strong, joint efforts for the continued development of relations between the governments and peoples of the United States and China.
Harry Harding. “Conclusion” A Fragile Relationship: The United States and China since 1972. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.1992.
“INTRODUCTION — 1997 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT”. 30 January 1998.
“THE JOINT U.S.-CHINA COMMUNIQUE, SHANGHAI”. February 27, 1972.
“U.S.-PRC JOINT COMMUNIQUE”. August 17, 1982.
1 “U.S.-PRC JOINT COMMUNIQUE”, (August 17, 1982).
2 “THE JOINT U.S.-CHINA COMMUNIQUE, SHANGHAI”, (February 27, 1972).
3 “INTRODUCTION — 1997 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT”,(30 January 1998).
4 Harry Harding, “Conclusion” A Fragile Relationship: The United States and China since 1972, Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press,(1992)