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Key Facts

Michael Auslin on Engaging with China

“The overarching strategy of the United States for the past 40 years, 50 years has been to engage with China and increasingly bring it into the global system. You know, it wasn’t so long ago that it wasn’t all that involved with many of these international organizations, just a few decades ago. Now it is. But we can’t do it anymore in the way that we’ve been doing it, which has been simply to accept whatever China says. When we say China, we’re talking about the government of China. We can’t do it in a way that we ignore China’s bad-faith actions— that we ignore its lies.

“I think it’s time where we have to put an asterisk next to China, globally. Which means there’s more to the truth than what you’re seeing here. Right? That’s where we put an asterisk on something to say, ‘Keep looking because there’s something else going on.’

“Whether it’s lying about the amount of cyber hacking that it’s done as well as its promises to stop it. Lying about not militarizing the islands it built in the South China Sea, and then going ahead and militarizing them. Lying about the size of its economy, overstating its economic growth by at least 15 percent. Lying about the incarceration of Uyghur Muslims. Over and over and over, the world has accepted at face value what China’s said, and the time for that is over. You need to put an asterisk next to China— next to what the government of China says.”

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