With the unrelenting news of soaring coronavirus cases in the United States, and the historic push to address long-ignored questions of racial and social justice, one of this era’s most consequential issues has received less attention, but it will soon stand out again. How should the United States and the West more broadly respond to the continuing rise of China?
Consider some major developments in recent weeks, starting with the imposition by Beijing of a new security law on Hong Kong. The law sharply curtails what was left of Hong Kong’s semiautonomous status, which was promised to last for 50 years after the city’s handover to China from Britain in 1997.
New details have also emerged about the forced confinement and “reeducation” of China’s mostly Muslim Uighur minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang. According to recent reporting by the Associated Press, China “regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks, and forces intrauterine devices, sterilization and even abortion on hundreds of thousands” in Xinjiang. Adrian Zenz, a China scholar at the Jamestown Foundation, found that “in 2018, 80 percent of all new IUD placements in China were performed in Xinjiang—despite the fact that the region makes up only 1.8 percent of the nation’s population.” Some human rights advocates describe China’s state-imposed birth control and sterilization policies in Xinjiang as “genocide.”