Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer ZTE violated USA sanctions against Iran and North Korea and is suspected of enabling its phones to help Beijing spy on Americans. Consequently, Director of National Security Dan Coats recommended Americans refrain from using the phones and on May 2 the Pentagon, according to Vox, announced "it will ban the sale of ZTE and Huawei phones from military bases because it regards the products as insecure due to the companies’ relationship to the Chinese government."
The Commerce Department announced sanctions. However, when ZTE announced it would shut down its entire smartphone business, President Trump asserted that he was concerned about the loss of Chinese jobs and had ordered the Commerce Department to help ZTE "to get back into business, fast."
That same week "a state-owned Chinese business came through with hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, some of which will go to facilitate the construction of Trump-branded properties in Indonesia." So on Wednesday, former ethics chief Walter Shaub, who knows a not-coincidence when he sees one, asked what appeared to be a good question:
Donald Trump abruptly made a bizarre reversal of policy after China committed a half billion dollars to a project that will benefit him personally, and Raj Shah told reporters it’s a private business matter that the White House won’t discuss. How is this not the top news story?— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 16, 2018
It's an even better question now that on Sunday, Treasury Department secretary Steve Mnuchin stated that
the Trump administration will hold off from imposing tariffs on China as leaders from both nations try to hammer out agreements on trade.
The administration had earlier threatened $50 billion to $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods as a way to deter the theft of U.S. intellectual property and forced transfers of technology.
One year ago the Associated Press reported
Since last spring, Chinese authorities in the heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang have ensnared tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of Muslim Chinese — and even foreign citizens — in mass internment camps. This detention campaign has swept across Xinjiang, a territory half the area of India, leading to what a U.S. commission on China last month said is "the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today"....
The detention program is a hallmark of China's emboldened state security apparatus under the deeply nationalistic, hard-line rule of President Xi Jinping. It is partly rooted in the ancient Chinese belief in transformation through education — taken once before to terrifying extremes during the mass thought reform campaigns of Mao Zedong, the Chinese leader sometimes channeled by Xi.
A few months later, President Trump would recognize Xi's successful power grab and declare "he's now president for life. President for life. And he's great."
Gone, though, are the days when presidential candidate Donald J. Trump would charge China with "ripping us off, folks" and being involved in a "rape of (our) country." Additionally, it was "caught cheating in the Olympics. That's the Chinese M.O. - Lie, Cheat & Steal in all international dealings."
We are to believe that understanding of China is no longer operative. But Donald J.Trump, the expert in rape and cheating, is still here. And it's not too late (without tongue in cheek) to ask him: "are cheating and rape bad things- or good things?"