Donald Trump has been busy with a flurry of foreign policy executive orders since the election. Most recently, Trump signed an order prohibiting U.S. investments in Chinese businesses that are owned or controlled by the country’s military.
According to the executive order signed on Thursday, China is “increasingly exploiting” U.S. capital for “the development and modernization of its military, intelligence, and other security apparatuses,” which pose a threat to the United States.
The order will affect numerous Chinese firms, including China Mobile Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd. There are currently 31 Chinese companies designated by the Pentagon as having military ties, and that number is expected to steadily increase.
Trump signs executive order barring Americans from investing in companies that help China’s military https://t.co/Ty6G6ADcBe
— MarketWatch (@MarketWatch) November 12, 2020
The order gives US investment firms connected with China a year to pull their money from Chinese companies.
U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said that investors often give money to companies with connections to the Chinese military without even realizing it.
The order “serves to protect American investors from unintentionally providing capital that goes to enhancing the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army and People’s Republic of China intelligence services,” O’Brien said, according to Bloomberg.
— MI6 ROGUE (@mi6rogue) November 12, 2020
Weifeng Zhong, a senior fellow with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, told The Hill that Joe Biden could reverse this order if he decides to go a different direction on diplomacy with China.
“If the incoming Biden administration takes a different direction on China policy, which is quite likely, this temporary fix will be deactivated in a year’s time. But because security threats from the Chinese regime are a long-term issue, it’s unwise for policymakers to take a shortcut that doesn’t last,” Zhong said.
Meanwhile, President Trump appears to have lost his battle to ban the popular social media app TikTok. The US Commerce Department says it will not enforce an order that would have forced TikTok to shut down, according to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal.
Relations between the US and China have also been strained by accusations of spying. Earlier this year, multiple Chinese consulate offices in the United States were forced to close after accusations of spying. Investigators believe that there is a massive effort on the part of the Chinese government to send people who are essentially spies into the United States to get information from universities, corporations, and government agencies.
US prosecutors are said to be investigating numerous suspects for lying about Chinese government connections on their visa applications. Some of these suspects are currently detained by US authorities, and the Chinese government is threatening to start arresting Americans who are in China on business or travel if the Department of Justice doesn’t drop its charges against the alleged spies.
According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, the Chinese government has contacted US representatives with these threats through multiple channels, numerous times since the dispute began earlier this year.
The spying accusations reached a boiling point this July when Juan Tang, a Chinese research scientist who worked at the University of California, was accused of lying on her Visa application and withholding her affiliation with the Chinese military.
Since Tang’s arrest, Chinese officials have been threatening the United States with retaliation if she is not released and allowed to return home, but US authorities have insisted that she remain in the US for her trial. Tang is currently out on bail, but she faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and $500,000 in fines if she is convicted on both the charges against her, which are visa fraud and making false statements to the FBI.
Tang is one of at least five Chinese citizens who are currently facing charges in the US because they are suspected of spying. All of them are facing similar charges of visa fraud and making false statements.