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Target China: Trump’s new security strategy document

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The full text of U.S. President Donald Trump’s National Security Strategy document was published today.

Congress mandates that every U.S. administration set out its national security strategy, so the document is not a Trump innovation, and may not even reflect his own views: Reuters reports that one official involved in preparing the document says that “the new Trump strategy is influenced strongly by the thinking of top national security officials rather than that of the president himself.”

The document is less hostile to China but more hostile to Russia than I would have anticipated. Below are the key China references, quoted directly:

  • China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.
  • China and Russia are developing advanced weapons and capabilities that could threaten our critical infrastructure and our command and control architecture.
  • Every year, competitors such as China steal U.S. intellectual property valued at hundreds of billions of dollars.
  • China and Russia target their investments in the developing world to expand influence and gain competitive advantages against the United States. China is investing billions of dollars in infrastructure across the globe.
  • China is using economic inducements and penalties, influence operations, and implied military threats to persuade other states to heed its political and security agenda.
  • Its efforts to build and militarize outposts in the South China Sea endanger the free flow of trade, threaten the sovereignty of other nations, and undermine regional stability.
  • China has mounted a rapid military modernization campaign designed to limit U.S. access to the region and provide China a freer hand there.

You can find a longer summary of the document’s China sections by Graham Webster on Transpacifica.

The state of the surveillance state in Xinjiang

The Associated Press’s Gerry Shih went to Xinjiang to experience for himself the panopticon that China’s troubled far western province has become. In a piece titled “Digital police state shackles Chinese minority,” Shih describes:

  • “Mass disappearances, beginning the past year,” which are “part of a sweeping effort by Chinese authorities to use detentions and data-driven surveillance to impose a digital police state in the region of Xinjiang and over its Uyghurs, a 10-million-strong, Turkic-speaking Muslim minority that China says has been influenced by Islamic extremism.”
  • Indoctrination camps, and deportations back to China of Uyghurs living in Egypt.
  • Facial recognition and genetic testing to monitor suspected militants.
  • Mass mobilization and networks of informers.

See also: “Love and fear among rural Uyghur youth during the “People’s War” on the website Living Otherwise, reportage on young Uyghurs who have been mourning those who have been detained or disappeared.

JOB AD: Schwarzman Scholars seeks academic officer

With a $550 million endowment, Schwarzman Scholars supports up to 200 scholars annually from the U.S., China, and around the world for a one-year master’s degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities and an indispensable base for the country’s science and technology research. Schwarzman Scholars is looking for an academic officer based in New York.

Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.

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