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  • Writer's pictureXiaodong Fang

Topics and issues of China-bashing for 2020 campaigns

As the Chinese government continues manipulating its currency to gain unfair trade advantages, suppressing freedom and pro-democracy activism, interfering elections and petitions in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and ill-treating people of Xinjiang and Tibet, presidential candidates can attack China on a variety of topics and issues.

In the recent election cycle, China-bashing by U.S. presidential candidates was prolific, from economic issues to those of security, human rights, and the environment. During the 2008 and 2012 general election campaign periods, almost all of the China-bashing used by presidential candidates from both major political parties concerned economic issues.

In 2016, Trump became a game-changer who has changed the trajectories of China-bashing. His usage of social media and the relationships with mainstreams media helped to increase the China-bashing in quantity and in the diversity of forms. In the 2016 presidential campaigns, China-bashing focused on a variety of issues, from the economy to security, the environment, human rights, and immigration.

Here are lists of topics and issues presidential or other candidates can explore to bash China in their 2020 campaigns:


  • Trade

  • Current manipulation

  • Export subsidies

  • Job outsourcing

  • Theft of intellectual property

  • Product dumping

Human rights

  • Xinjiang

  • Tibet

  • Hong Kong protests

  • Detaining pro-democracy and pro-human rights activists

  • Harassing dissidents

  • Suppressing NGOs

  • Internet freedom

  • Freedom of religion, expression, and publication


  • South China Sea

  • "One Belt, One Road"

  • Iran

  • North Korea

  • Technology theft

  • Business espionage

  • Cyberattack


  • Cleaning energy

  • Climate change

  • Pollution


  • Interference of elections in Taiwan and other democracies

  • Illegal campaign contributions to Western politicians

  • Violation of international laws (e.g. UN; WTO)

  • Candidates' personal ties with China (e.g. business in China)

  • Candidates' previous political behavior regarding China (e.g. roll call vote on China-related bill)

Check "Tips: how to attract voters using anti-China rhetoric" for more detail strategies in crafting your China-bashing message.


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