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U.S. will have to repent if it imposes travel ban on CPC

By Zamir Ahmed Awan (People's Daily Online)    15:26, August 12, 2020

The New York Times reported on 15 July 2020: "The U.S. Weighs Sweeping Travel Ban on Chinese Communist Party Members. The presidential order under consideration would be based on the same statute in the Immigration and Nationality Act used in a 2017 travel ban on several predominantly Muslim countries."

Taking this illogical and purely theoretical approach, the U.S. may not be aware of the exact number of CPC (Communist Party of China) members, or their nature. There are almost 92 million CPC members, and if family members are included, the figure could be three times that number. It is the largest, most well-organized, best trained, and most disciplined political party in the world. It has a history of almost one century. Banning the CPC means banning the government of China. Does the U.S. also understand the legal and political percussions of this move?

Practically, is it possible for the U.S. to know if someone is a CPC member? Is there any verification method available to the U.S? The U.S. had better think twice before making such a decision. It is not a practical approach.

The U.S. has a history of banning certain groups, nationalities, or individuals, which is certainly possible. But banning the entire CPC may not be practical, or even possible.

Four decades ago, when China and the US established diplomatic relations, during President Nixon's visit to China in 1972, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai said that China and the U.S. needed to be clear about our differences and find common ground, so that both sides could reach a new starting point in bilateral ties. President Nixon responded that while our two countries have many differences, what brings us together is that we have common interests that transcend those differences. The Shanghai Communique issued by the two countries encapsulated this consensus of mutual respect and seeking common ground while setting aside differences.

Forty years on, while China and the U.S. are quite different in terms of their social systems and many other aspects, such differences have not affected the peaceful coexistence and cooperation between the two countries, and they should not affect their bilateral ties in the future. It is neither necessary nor possible for the two sides to change each other. Instead, we should respect the choices that have been independently made by the people on both sides. Four decades of Sino-US relations have resulted in a number of achievements and mutual benefits. The U.S. understood clearly that the CPC ruled China, and yet was willing to establish diplomatic relations, which means recognition of the CPC.

China is firmly committed to pursuing development and progress to meet the wishes of its people and make new, even more significant contributions to humankind, through Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and under the great leadership of the CPC. Anyone who attempts to derail this process faces certain failure. China respects other countries, nations, and their political systems, and hopes for reciprocal treatment from others. China does not interfere in other countries’ domestic affairs and will not allow anyone to interfere in Chinese local politics.

If this is nothing more than a political slogan aimed at gaining anti-China votes in the presidential elections to be held in November this year, it is a wrong strategy. If this is to put pressure on and coerce China, then it should be noted that China has already gone beyond the point where any country is able to compel it. China is more than capable of protecting its sovereignty.

The U.S. has put restrictions on Chinese students and is now repenting, as they formed the single largest foreign student body and were a significant source of income for American universities, not to mention intellectual contribution. Banning Huawei has also impacted the U.S. adversely, while the reduced number of Chinese tourists has affected the US tourism industry. Any further ban on the CPC may harm the U.S. even more and make the U.S. repent, while it should also be prepared for an appropriate Chinese reciprocal action. 

The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to People's Daily Online.

Zamir Ahmed Awan is a senior fellow with the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan. E-mail: [email protected]

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