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Michael Auslin on Engaging with China


Published September 3, 2020

The world has tried to engage with China by bringing it into the global system, but the Chinese Communist Party has consistently responded with misinformation. The world can no longer ignore China’s lies and poor-faith behavior. We must put an asterisk next to the claims of the Chinese government.

This video’s audio track is excerpted from the Hoover Virtual Policy Briefing “Michael Auslin and Lanhee Chen: COVID-19, China, and the Political Fallout.”

Additional Resources:

  • Listen to “Michael Auslin and Lanhee Chen: COVID-19, China, and the Political Fallout.” Available here.
  • Watch “Michael Auslin on Spying and National Security” on PolicyEd. Available here.
  • Listen to “Pacific Century: The Past, Present, and Future of the China Challenge” with Michael Auslin, Larry Diamond, and John Yoo. Available here.
View Transcript


The overarching strategy of the United States for the past 50 years has been to engage with China and increasingly bring it into the global system. 

But we can’t simply accept whatever China says. 

We can’t do it in a way that we ignore China’s bad faith actions. 

That we ignore its lies. 

I mean 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. 

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%. 

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 what the Government of China says.