Should the U.S continue to trade with china or should they stop trading until china fixes their human rights? why?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that it is a powerfully essential question.  The reality might be that the way the United States is indebted from an economic standpoint to China, the ability to be able to even choose which path to take might be moot at this point.  I do believe that while there is an economic consideration to be taken into account, America loses some credibility around the world and in its own backyard when it does not speak out against the Chinese government and their approach to human rights.  It seems that a tremendous loss of moral and political prestige happens when America criticizes other nations for its lax position of human rights, but says nothing to China, instead showing cup in hand.  I am not sure an immediate repudiation of China is the answer, either, as that would spell disaster for where we are.  Yet, I do believe that there needs to be something said in the face of material reality because so much of American foreign policy is contingent on holding some type of moral or political stature that clearly argues that violation of human rights is not something that we, as a nation, tolerate or accept in the international community.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I say we need to keep trading with China.  I will give a few reasons:

  1. We need China in order to give us the cheapest possible goods.  Otherwise, all of us would be paying more money for the same things.
  2. We already trade with lots of other countries that have bad human rights records.  Saudi Arabia is a huge source of oil.  They don't let women drive.
  3. It does not seem right for us to tell them how to run their country.  If we boycott them because of Tibet, should people boycott us because we have the death penalty?  Or because of the Arizona immigration law?
krishna-agrawala | Student

It would be wonderful to have a country in the world that knows what is best for the world, wants to ensure that the world does what is best for it, and is in a position to force the world to do this. If USA meets all the three of the above criteria, it should definitely meddle in the way China or any other countries governs itself and enforce its views and will on all of them.

However, as things stand now, USA falls short of all the three requirements. Most certainly is not right all its views of how to manage the world. Many a times it is proven to be wrong in managing its own internal affairs also. There are enough human right violation and practice of racial discrimination in USA also. Also I am not sure to what extent USA is more interested in good of the entire world rather than its own. Finally, USA has been quite unable to control other countries the way it wants. One example that comes to my mind is its inability to to ensure that some of the arms and other aids it gives to some of the countries are no used for conducting terrorist attacks.

There is no harm if selectively USA refuses to to trade in some of commodities with some of the countries in the name of human right violation. However it is not going to be in the interest of the USA to apply this rule too strictly.

carrieberry31 | Student

If we stop trading with China, many things would back fire. We need to continue trade, no matter what their human rights polocies are.

harryphelps | Student

Well, that is a question of debate. It all depends on your point of view. I personally would recomend to continue to trade with China, yet issue a 10 year warning. 'China has 10 years to improve its human rights. If it has not completed this by the set time, the United States of America will withdraw all trade.' However at the moment, with China rapidly growing into a superpower and creating most of the worlds basic products, it would be inconceivably wasteful to destroy relations with China.