The United States and China have a complicated relationship that is characterized by powerful business partnerships and political hostility. Under President Trump, disagreements with China have intensified due to his well-documented stance against the nation. The situation has become more complicated with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pathogen was first detected in the People’s Republic of China, leading to accusations that it originated there and questions regarding the government’s response. One variety of criticisms targeted at China involves the idea that the country is trying to profit from the pandemic in a variety of ways. The article that is discussed in this essay concerns the possibility of data theft attempts by the Eastern nation.
Currently, researchers throughout the world are trying to test treatments for COVID-19 and develop a vaccine for the condition. According to Sanger and Perlroth, the FBI and the DHS believe that Chinese hackers will try to steal American data at the orders of the government. The nation has been actively conducting cyberattacks on various infrastructure in the past alongside Russia, Iran, and North Korea. However, due to the panic surrounding COVID-19, many other nations are also attempting to determine the progress of their peers. There were also attempts at physical theft of data, though the one mentioned in the article likely failed. To combat these espionage attempts, the United States has been engaging in extensive protection and prevention programs.
The announcement relates to the broader issue of the decline of democracy throughout the world. As O’Neil explains, it is a nondemocratic nation that is controlled by a one-party government (195). The attempt to develop a COVID-19 treatment before other countries also has the side effect of increasing China’s influence, which has been growing in recent years. This rise in power challenges the dominance of the United States, which has only recently started actively opposing the PRC under President Trump. Rosen and Fonseca discuss the popular opinion that it will try to become a regional hegemon by increasing both its soft and hard power (176). Such an act would lead to the weakening of democracy in these nations, which would expand further alongside China’s power.
The issue is exacerbated by the overall trend of the weakening of democracy worldwide. O’Neil cites a poll where a third of the respondents agreed with the idea of a strong leader who would bypass elections and the legislature (p. 202). The likely reason for this change in attitude is the perception of the government as ineffectual, which contrasts nondemocratic regimes’ ability to make swift decisions and implement them. To combat the issue, democratic governments worldwide should become more transparent and demonstrate their effectiveness. With regard to China’s expanding influence, President Trump’s strategy of reducing its economic cooperation with the United States appears to be viable.
The decline of democracy is affecting the author’s community through the increases in potential human rights violations that are associated with it. Automated tracking to screen possible COVID-19 cases is being considered earnestly, and groups such as the Antifa are engaging in politically-motivated violence. The author can address the problem by expressing their opposition to such measures and spreading awareness of the issue. Under conditions of increased publicity and transparency, many anti-democratic initiatives that would have succeeded unnoticed otherwise can attract widespread attention and fail.
- O’Neil, Patrick H. Essentials of Comparative Politics. 6th ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 2018.
- Rosen, Jonathan D., and Brian Fonseca. The New US Security Agenda: Trends and Emerging Threats. Springer International Publishing, 2017.
- Sanger, David E., and Nicole Perlroth. “U.S. to Accuse China of Trying to Hack Vaccine Data, as Virus Redirects Cyberattacks.” The New York Times, 2020. Web.
- Schwartzberg, Joseph E. Transforming the United Nations System: Designs for a Workable World. Brookings Institution Press, 2016.