Mar 14, 2020 - Health

China seizes a new role in the world

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The world once looked to the U.S. for leadership and aid in global health crises.

  • But the Trump administration has rejected global leadership in the fight against the coronavirus and much of the initial domestic response was focused on shoring up the economy.

Compare this with China’s response. After a series of early decisions that allowed the coronavirus to spread rapidly in China (and thus abroad), China’s leaders made a 180 degree turn and implemented a set of unprecedented measures, including quarantining entire cities, to get the epidemic under control.

  • As the growth in the number of new cases in China slows, Beijing’s leaders are ramping up a nascent bid for global public health leadership in the fight against the coronavirus.
  • China is sending masks and diagnostic swabs to Italy, which is in the throes of a severe outbreak. 
  • China sent a team to assist Iran.

What they're saying: “The 2009 financial crisis was a decisive moment emboldening Beijing and altering global perceptions of relative power between U.S. and China,” Ely Ratner, a former deputy national security adviser under Vice President Joe Biden, said on Twitter recently. 

  • “I worry now we’re at risk of another decisive moment for U.S.-China competition as Trump administration badly mishandles coronavirus.”

Go deeper: Bethany discusses China's response with Dan Primack on Pro Rata.

Go deeper

China's travel ban could slow the U.S. tech product pipeline

Apple store in Shanghai. Photo: Qilai Shen/In Pictures/Getty Images Images

Now that the coronavirus seems to be under control in China while it spreads elsewhere, China has announced a fresh ban on foreigners coming into the country — a move that could further complicate life for U.S. tech firms that rely on that country for manufacturing.

Why it matters: Many companies — notably Apple, but also Google, Facebook, Fitbit, GoPro and others — design their hardware in the U.S. but manufacture it in China. Typically, new products require close collaboration between U.S. firms and their Chinese manufacturing partners.

China's apartheid system was key to its economic explosion, new book argues

Credit: St. Martin's Press

China's migrant workers — approximately 288 million wage laborers locked into low wages with few social benefits — aren't just a human rights issue, a new book argues; they're part of an apartheid system undergirding China's 30-year economic miracle.

Why it matters: What Beijing has touted as a better model of economic growth is actually based on systematic exploitation of its rural population, writes Dexter Roberts, a former Bloomberg China correspondent.

Go deeperArrowMar 4, 2020 - World

Why TikTok and Huawei are in lawmakers' sights

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Policymakers in D.C. are targeting a handful of specific Chinese-owned companies as they try to thread the needle between protecting U.S. security and avoiding wider disruption of the two nations' interdependent economies.

The big picture: A new wave of proposals in Congress is turning TikTok, Huawei and other specific companies into proxies in Washington's broader power struggle with Beijing.