By Parker MillarNews Editor
On July 4, 2008, the University of California at Los Angeles’ Asian American Studies Center delivered the “US-China Media Brief,” a resource for the American Media with a companion website (www.uschinamediabrief.com). The United States covers a landmass consisting of 48 contiguous states plus Alaska and Hawaii. There are approximately 303,824,646 people sharing 3,793,079 square miles of earth. Conversely, in the People’s Republic of China there are approximately 1,330,044,605 people sharing 3,704,426 square miles. That means that there are one billion more people in China sharing a landmass that is 90,000 square miles smaller than the United States. People seem to talk a lot about racial diversity in this country, which is surprising because the US only has 7 distinct ethnic groups. Compare that to PRC’s 56 distinct ethnicities. The trade deficit is another aspect of Sino-American relations that needs to be addressed. The US exports $65.2 billion worth of goods to China. In turn, the PRC exports $321.5 billion dollars worth of product to the United States. The reason the “Made in China” logo seems to appear on most of the products that we all buy on a daily basis could have something to do with the PRC’s intentionally undervalued currency. According to the US-China Media Brief, China’s currency (the Yuan) is artificially undervalued and pinned to the USD. US officials have put pressure on the Chinese to revalue their currency because an undervalued currency is quite possibly to blame for the one-sided trade relationship we share with the PRC, not to mention the manufacturing job losses experienced in this country’s recent history. “The U.S. has had a bilateral trade deficit with china since the late 1980s,” according to the Media Brief “But the deficit skyrocketed in 2001 after the PRC joined the World Trade Organization. Right now the United States owes the PRC a deficit of $256.3 billion, our largest trade deficit ever to a single country.” The PRC is notorious for its abysmal human rights records. The United States imposed economic sanctions after the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989 (College Students protesting for free elections were run over by government tanks). American Presidents have often put pressure on the PRC by supporting United Nations resolutions condemning China’s actions regarding situations such as the Tiananmen incident, Tibet, and the Dali Lama. However, since September 11, 2001 the Bush Administration has refused to pressure the Chinese because of the PRC’s help in the “War on Terror.” To his credit, Mr. Bush did encourage the PRC to resume talks with the Dali Lama after Olympic protests broke out in Paris, London and San Francisco earlier this year. In March 2008, the US State Department issued a report that was critical of the PRC’s human rights records, however the State Department also dropped China from its top-ten list of human rights offenders. Sino-American relations are a delicate subject and must be dealt with as such. The PRC is one of the two most populous countries on the globe (the other is India). Does it seem like a good idea to owe an astronomical amount of money to a nation whose population outnumbers ours by well over a billion and whose government is a notorious human rights violator? For more information on the subject, check out www.uschinamediabrief.com.