President Donald Trump is eager to give the appearance of being tough on China heading into his reelection campaign, with the speed and variety of punishments targeting Beijing accelerating in the last two weeks, Politico reported on Wednesday.
The push comes as Trump is trying to boost support amid falling poll numbers, with several prominent national surveys showing presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden ahead of Trump.
Biden has been slamming Trump for his repeated praise of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the past, and the former vice president recently announced plans to invest in American manufacturing and fight against Beijing’s economic practices.
Although Trump did make China’s trade practices a major part of his 2016 campaign and has regularly warned that Beijing is trying to force technology companies to hand over data, others issues concerning China, such as human rights, were downplayed until recently.
Trump has recently halted trade talks with Beijing, sanctioned their officials over their internment of Muslims and a new law to crack down on political dissent in Hong Kong, announced plans to halt visas for some Chinese students in the U.S., and promised retaliation for Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus.
And on Wednesday, the U.S. ordered China to close its consulate in Houston "to protect American intellectual property and Americans' private information."
The messages on these issues have recently become a major focus across the Trump administration, but even some of the president's supporters point out that most of this action is only coming into focus, after more than three years in the White House, just some 100 days before the November election.
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