Sunday, 30 January 2011

1989 Tiananmen Protest and Chinese-American Relations

[after 1989 Tiananmen Massacre] A crucial question in Chinese-American relations was the continuation or suspension of China's unfettered right to export to the United States. The term for this right, "most favored nation" status (MFN), is somewhat misleading in that it does not confer any special privileges, but only distinguishes states with which the United States has good commercial relations. The withdrawal of MFN was favored by human rights activists and a majority in Congress as a means of punishing China for the human rights violations so vividly symbolized by the Tiananmen massacre. Bush disagreed and fought off congressional pressure to restrict trade, twice vetoing punitive measures. He argued that the best way to encourage reform in China was to have a thriving trade, and that cutting off trade would hurt both the American economy and Chinese men and women who were not responsible for human rights violations.

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