Stories by Bill Bishop of Sinocism

U.S.-China trade war could be signaling a deeper problem

The Chinese and American flags
Photo: Matt Anderson Photography/Getty Images

The breakdown in trade negotiations came during a week that saw the 100th anniversary of the May 4th Movement and the 20th anniversary of the U.S. bombing of the PRC embassy in Belgrade, an incident that set off a wave of protests in China against the U.S.

Why it matters: The trade war is just one component of a rapidly deteriorating U.S.-China relationship. Even if there is a deal, the deeper tensions will only intensify, and the risk of a surge in anti-American sentiment is real.

Harnessing the May 4th anniversary

 An audience watches a short film about the May 4th Movement at The Great Hall Of The People on April 30 in Beijing.
An audience watches a short film about the May 4th Movement at The Great Hall Of The People on April 30 in Beijing. Photo: Andrea Verdelli/Getty Images

Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the May 4th Movement, which sparked the rise of many radical Chinese political and social leaders, and is one of the sensitive events this year that has the PRC government locking things down even more tightly than normal.

Why it matters: At the same time, the Party, which controls the official history of the movement, is again trying to harness the legacy of May 4 for its own goals.

The trade war isn't breaking China's economy

Chinese dragon
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The People's Bank of China released the monthly credit data for March earlier today, and it appears that policymakers are adding credit growth to all the other stimulative measures like tax cuts, infrastructure spending and preferential policies to keep the economy stable.

Why it matters: China's policymakers have spent the last several months working hard to mitigate the effects of the trade war with the U.S., and so far it looks like their efforts may be working, at least in the short term.