I’m fortunate to have had great visits to China over the years, seeing major tourist sites and experiencing amazing meals. There have been a few inconveniences along the way, but it’s easy to circumvent China’s Great Firewall and in recent years I’ve just assumed that any electronic device I bring with me has been compromised. On the other hand there isn’t anyone necessarily interested in spying on me (“security through obscurity”).
I wonder if, even when coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted, it’ll be the end of advisability of visiting China. A few years ago one nationally-prominent journalist told me he wouldn’t connect in China. Air China first class award space was readily available for a trip he was working on, but he wouldn’t take it. That makes some sense for a journalist, I think, especially one that has covered pro-democracy protests around the world. But what about the rest of us?
Chinese government officials are warning their American counterparts they may detain U.S. nationals in China in response to the Justice Department’s prosecution of Chinese military-affiliated scholars, according to people familiar with the matter.
…The Chinese message, the people said, has been blunt: The U.S. should drop prosecutions of the Chinese scholars in American courts, or Americans in China might find themselves in violation of Chinese law.
Some of U.S. conflict with China may be unique to a Trump administration. The same protectionism may not extend to whomever is President next, whether in 3 months or 4 years. However the underlying forces on the Chinese side aren’t likely to change and may even accelerate as Chinese President Xi Jinping seeks a third term at the Twentieth Party Congress in late 2022.
In other words, China may not just press its strength against Hong Kong and the Uighurs and clash with Indian troops in the Himalayas, but might behave more aggressively towards Taiwan. The next U.S. administration might be more conventional and feel more tied to act in Taiwan’s defense than the current one. It’s not clear that U.S. – China conflict will end any time soon, and in the meantime it’s ratcheting up such as China’s suggestion it could shoot down civilian aircraft because U.S. spy planes are misidentifying themselves.