The relationship between the United States and China has been characterized by Vice President Biden as the "most important" in the world. In many respects, that's true. However, it seems to me that the relationship between the U.S. and China can best be characterized as increasingly complex, and at times even conflicted, since the establishment of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949.
Initially, the relationship between the United States and China was hostile. In fact, our two countries faced off in Korea from 1950 to 1954. Throughout much of the Cold War, our relationship with China was tense. Slowly our relations have improved since then, especially in terms our economic ties.
Although our relationship has improved, important differences remain. Currently, and in the foreseeable future, China will represent a key focus of U.S. foreign and international economic policy. Some say that economic development in China will inevitably lead to democracy. However, the reality is that while economic growth in China continues, the United States justifiably remains critical of the slow pace of democratic reforms in China.
As a result, it has been U.S. policy, under both Republican and Democratic Administrations, to encourage political change and human rights improvements in China.
Those in the Chinese government who commit or sanction abuses should be forewarned that their actions will not be tolerated by the United States. HR 2121, introduced by our colleague Chris Smith, does just that. It informs human rights abusers in China that the United States does not stand by as atrocities are committed. It lets them know they are not welcome in the United States. Hence, I urge my colleagues to support this bill.