2019 was a significant year in U.S.-China relations, marking the fortieth anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations and the finalization of a Phase One Trade Deal—both positive steps in a relationship between great powers. But 2019 also marked seventy years since Mao Zedong’s ascendency to the Chairmanship of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and thirty years since that same party massacred its own citizens on a clear June day in Tiananmen Square. In December 2019, it seemed inconceivable that 2020 would become an even more momentous year.
Since 1979, the United States has maintained a complex diplomatic relationship with China that has become increasingly fraught with conflict. In spite of these difficulties, many experts would argue that these relations have been beneficial; however, a close look at the history of U.S.-China relations shows that for every benefit gained, American companies, families, and every branch of the government became increasingly vulnerable to manipulation by Chinese interests.