It would be one thing if China’s domination of American businesses took place in the dark. But the events of this week have shined a light on the reality of the issue, prompting shock and consternation in the American press and on social media. Of course, that will not be enough to change the current dynamic between corporate America and China. Consumers in the United States are not going to pass up cheap goods and services simply because Apple deleted the Taiwanese flag from iOS in Hong Kong.
But the populists are taking notes. China is not using American businesses to oppress just Taiwan, Tibet, and others. It is also using American businesses to punish obscure employees in places like Omaha, Nebraska, for expressing political opinions contrary to the interests of the Communist Party of China.
If American populists are smart, they will continue to draw attention to China’s control over U.S. businesses and employees, educating the electorate to the truth of the matter. This could allow the populists to gain a greater foothold in U.S. government.