Some American companies are trying to bypass the limits set by the Trump administration on their dealings with China. Semiconductor companies, for example, have found a legal basis for sidestepping the Commerce Department prohibition on selling components to Huawei.
But the administration itself sometimes pulls punches on China in the name of economic relations — a sign that the traditional foundation of the relationship still stands to a degree.
Since last year, the administration has debated imposing sanctions on Chinese officials for their role in interning one million or more Muslims in the Xinjiang region. Though Mr. Pompeo and other officials have pushed for the sanctions, the Treasury Department, led by Mr. Mnuchin, has opposed them for fear of derailing the trade talks. So the administration has taken no action.
China’s extraordinary human rights abuses in Xinjiang are one major reason many American officials have abandoned any notion of a future turn toward liberalism within the Communist Party.
For their part, Chinese officials have seized on the Trump administration’s actions to argue that the United States is trying to stop China’s rise. On Tuesday, People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, ran a commentary urging citizens to fight for the nation’s dignity.
“The Chinese people deeply understand that the American government’s suppression and containment of China is an external challenge that China must bear in its development and growth,” the paper said, “and it is a hurdle that we must overcome in the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
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