Timeline: The Unraveling Of U.S.-China Relations

NPR News
Date: July 22, 2020
Heard on All Things Considered

U.S. flag and China's flag flutter in winds at a hotel in Beijing Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in Beijing to press Chinese authorities to agree to peacefully resolve disputes with their smaller neighbors over competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. But as she began her meetings here, China questioned the stated neutrality of the United States. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

In recent weeks, U.S.-China relations have unraveled with alarming speed, and some analysts say they are now at their worst since the two countries normalized diplomatic ties in 1979.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration ordered China's consulate in Houston to close, a step that significantly amps up the tension in already fraught relations between the world's top two economies.

The administration has heaped blame on China for the coronavirus pandemic and restricted the number of Chinese journalists in the U.S. It says its moves reciprocate the strict limits that China places on American journalists.

It has also imposed a string of measures to punish China for alleged human rights abuses in Tibet and Xinjiang — and for a national security law written and passed in Beijing, which many believe effectively ends the high degree of autonomy promised to Hong Kong when it returned to China's control in 1997.

The Chinese government has responded in kind, deflecting blame for the pandemic, kicking out some U.S. journalists and putting pressure on those who remain. It has also announced sanctions on U.S. lawmakers and at least one American defense company.

With threats of further action from the White House, including possible financial sanctions, and with China turning into a key 2020 campaign issue, the downward spiral seems likely to continue.    [FULL  STORY]