Welcome back to Axios China. Today we've got a brief history of partisan fights over China, U.S. tech worries, homemade noodles, and a whole lot more.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
China will likely be a major issue in the 2020 presidential election, as the coronavirus crisis continues to paralyze large swaths of the U.S. economy.
Why it matters: Debates from decades ago still echo in today's partisan divide over China policy, revealing entrenched attitudes that complicate America's search for a sustainable relationship with Beijing.
What's happening: Republicans are coming down harder than ever on China, and there are almost no political downsides for them in this campaign season.
Democrats, meanwhile, are experiencing a kind of paralysis.
Details: Partisan issues dating as far back as the 19th century still inform the national conversation today:
The 1870s and 1880s: The Chinese Exclusion Act
The 1940s and 1950s: The Chinese Communist victory and the start of the Cold War
That was the moment "China became a sensitive domestic political issue," said Chang. To this day, Democrats have remained deeply fearful of a return to Cold War-era suspicions, which makes them loathe to echo some of the more hardline Republican rhetoric that has become mainstream since 2016.
The bottom line: The divide between Republicans and Democrats on China policy runs deep.
Go deeper: Read the full story
On April 26, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) suggested Chinese students should not be allowed to study science and technology in the United States.
What's happening: Under the Trump administration, the FBI's China Initiative has targeted intellectual property theft at America's research institutions.
Context: The number of Chinese international students at U.S. universities has nearly tripled over the past decade, and they comprise the largest percentage of the U.S. international student population.
Related: A recent report from the JASON program at MITRE Corp. found existing ethics and disclosure practices could both preserve and protect the openness of the U.S. research system, my Axios colleagues Alison Snyder and Erica Pandey reported earlier this year.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
For decades, tech's leaders have bet big on China as a manufacturing hub, supply chain provider and, increasingly, a lucrative market — but trade frictions, national-security tensions and now coronavirus blame games are imperiling that partnership, Axios' Kyle Daly writes.
Why it matters: If the "great decoupling" that was already underway pre-virus gets accelerated by the crisis, tech is bound to get caught in the middle.
Manufacturing: Apple and many other electronics companies make most of their devices in China.
Commercial exports: The U.S. remains the global powerhouse in semiconductors, home to giants including Intel and Qualcomm.
Exploring Chinese consumer markets: China has been a key growth region for some U.S. companies, like Apple.
What's next: The willingness of a Trump or Biden administration to take strong action on decoupling may ultimately rest on how long the coronavirus crisis lasts, said Derek Scissors, Asia economist at the American Enterprise Institute.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
A series of diplomatic incidents has undone decades of work building Sweden-China relations.
Why it matters: Beijing's bullying behavior is a test case in how China treats less powerful countries that refuse to submit to its demands.
What's happening: Rising distrust has led Sweden to shut down cultural exchanges and other long-standing agreements.
Background: The breakdown in relations began in 2015, when Chinese authorities kidnapped Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen known for publishing books on sensitive Chinese political topics, and held him without trial for years.
The Chinese ambassador to Sweden has threatened Swedish media outlets who reported critically on China, and he implicitly threatened anyone who opposed Beijing.
The bottom line: The Chinese Communist Party has hailed China's rise as a kinder, gentler world power that will deal with all countries with respect. But so far, its treatment of some smaller nations is not reassuring.
Photo: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Controversy over revisions that some European Union officials made to a public report under pressure from China is pitting EU staff against each other and against media outlets that have covered the issue.
Why it matters: The furor over the report, which called out China for its coronavirus disinformation campaign, demonstrates how behind-the-scenes pressure from an authoritarian government can sow division within democratic societies.
What's happening: The European External Action Service (EEAS), which acts as the EU's Foreign Ministry, published a softened version of a report calling out China's disinformation around the coronavirus.
And now it's gotten ugly. The EEAS press office has denied that the report was altered and accused media outlets of "disinfo," of "ungrounded, inaccurate allegations" and of "play[ing] into the hands of those who seek to undermine our work."
Between the lines: In communications with EU officials regarding the forthcoming report, Chinese officials repeatedly compared EU-China relations favorably with US-China relations — but dangled that comparison as a threat to what might happen if the EU criticized China's coronavirus response.
Yes, but: Those defending the EEAS have emphasized they did not accede to Beijing's demand, which was to not publish the report; that the internal report distributed privately to EU member states was not revised at all; and the changes in the public report were not substantive.
Beijing bitcoin: China rolls out pilot test of digital currency (Wall Street Journal)
China's long arm: The end of the Harvard century (The Harvard Crimson)
Big brother: China's smart city development (SOS International)
Photo credit: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images
If you're stuck at home with extra time on your hands and have a hankering for fresh, chewy Chinese-style noodles, you're in luck. Here's an easy recipe, including simple instructions for how to pull your own noodles, brought to you by the news website SupChina.
"It might sound daunting," SupChina writes, "but the truth is, hand-pulled noodles are one of the easiest handmade noodles for a beginner."