United States assists Chinese citizens in fight for democracy

Government to use encouragement rather than trade wars

Tamar Gewirtz

Minnesota soybean farms are going into bankruptcy at increasing rates. This is all because China, the largest purchaser of soybeans in the world, is imposing tariffs on United States soybeans. These tariffs are a response to tariffs imposed on China by the United States government to pressure China into changing its trading practices. This battle is not worth the damage that is being inflicted on our farmers.

With the focus on these economic issues, the United States is overlooking a much more significant issue: human rights abuses occurring in China. Recently, thousands of residents of Hong Kong took to the streets to protest their government’s restrictions on democratic freedoms. 

Similarly, news has trickled out from China recently of its harsh treatment of the Uiger Muslim minority. Tens of thousands of Uigers are imprisoned in labor camps where they are undergoing what the Chinese call “re-education.” This is part of a long term campaign to eradicate the Uiger ethnic identity and to overwhelm Uiger areas with the majority Han Chinese. 

China’s violation of human rights extends well beyond its borders. In Tibet, a neighboring country occupied by China, the Chinese government tries to control the population and eradicate Buddhism. 

There are other cases in which China’s flouting of human rights can be seen. China practically provides a lifeline to North Korea, probably one of the most repressive regimes in the world. Without Chinese economic and political support, this brutal regime would most likely collapse. 

A lot more could be accomplished if the United States, instead of focusing entirely on trade, organized support to pressure China to conform to international standards of human rights. There wouldn’t have to be marches in China for such human rights issues had they gotten the attention they deserved.

If the United States government invested its efforts in organizing international opposition to these human rights abuses, rather than engaging in an unwinnable trade war, not only might it help the lives of citizens in China, but it would also bring much needed relief to local soybean farmers in Minnesota.