What the Trump administration has done here goes beyond the U.S. market. As the European Union faces a tense struggle within its Parliament over whether to ratify a trade deal with China, actions such as this one will offer impetus to those who are concerned about China’s human rights record. The U.S. is both taking a stand against injustice and offering a credible example as to how that injustice might be better countered.
Unfortunately, what China is doing to the Uighurs is just one example of how it approaches international trade. If Beijing is willing to turn its own people into slaves, we should have no delusions as to why it treats the rest of us so poorly. The evidence is clear. What China can make with slaves, it makes. What intellectual property China cannot access with legitimate contracts, it steals. What China cannot outcompete, it overwhelms with political pressure. When China is challenged on such actions, it feigns outrage.
To listen to Zhao and company, we would believe that Beijing alone should be the moral compass by which the rest of the world operates.