‘First, Do No Harm’: A Good FP Standard For Helping China’s Uyghurs

Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Representative Jim McGovern have put together a bill called the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act,” that the National Review summarizes as “legislation that codifies U.S. commitment to penalize the Chinese regime for its human rights atrocities.”

NR’s Caroline Downey reports:

“The bill targets trade, boycotting imports from the northwest province of Xinjiang, where the Uyghur Muslim minority and other marginalized groups are predominantly concentrated unless the U.S. government confirms with ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that the goods were not manufactured with forced labor, Axios first reported.”

The U.S. House passed the bill unanimously on Tuesday evening.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed for the first time Tuesday that Brandon will sign the bill if it makes it through the Senate.

So what the bill proposes is: The U.S. puts economic stress on a region where there is an ethnic minority that the U.S. alleges they like to kick around there?

Are we sure that will make things better for the Uyghurs?

Or are we just trying some, extensive, forceful intervention, in a faraway land that we don’t understand, even more than we don’t understand our place, that Marco Rubio and Jim McGovern came up with, affecting, who knows, maybe millions of people directly or indirectly in a meaningful way, with who knows what kind of unintended consequences?

And could as plausibly worsen the plight of the Uyghurs as it could improve it, and then we will have gone out of our way and set foot as far from home as possible only to add to their trouble materially?

Meanwhile, interfering with the freedom of businesses at home to deal with foreign businesses, which on neither side of the ocean are alleged to be committing any crimes or exploiting anyone, with a punitive approach that canvasses every business in an entire region in China for the alleged misconduct of some who reside there, and raises prices just that much more across the board for Americans, on top of all of the other of Washington’s and the coastal elite’s bright ideas made into policies that are getting monetized right to your Visa or MasterCard this month.

Instead of threatening to boycott imports, anyone with a heart for the Uyghurs should find ways to trade even more with the Xinjiang province until their economy is booming with so much wealth that the Uyghurs can start breaking out of poverty by playing pro soccer and making Chinese rap and Fresh Prince of Dongguan.

“West Xinjiang, born and raised, in the sweatshop was where I spent most of my days, chilling out min, and getting pretty thin, playing some soccer up by the fence, when a couple of dudes, who couldn’t export their goods, started making trouble in our neighborhood, I got in one little fight, and it scared my mom, who said, ‘You’re moving with your aunty and uncle in Dongguan!’”

Extending and increasing commercial relations through global trade is what raises standards of living around the world, not cutting it off, slowing it down, and blocking it by force with Washington D.C. central planner’s regulations and the enforcement of federal police or the military.

Millions of Americans believe we certainly don’t need more of Washington’s regulations here. Why would the Chinese be expected to welcome Washington’s regulations or feel they need them there, rather than bristle at the bad manners and get defensive about the accusations?

I’m more of a George Washington, John Quincy Adams, James Monroe kind of guy on foreign policy. Still, I get it, people think the post-WW2 world is just different somehow, and I see what they mean, but I don’t think it is in a way that makes the advantages of such a foreign policy any less today than they were then.

Americans who would do something to help Uyghurs could open a factory there and hire some Uyghurs, and pay them well and not mistreat them, instead of just barging into China and telling people they’re evil and ordering them around. China would probably welcome direct foreign investment if you were polite and did everything legit. It would probably be easier than all this, the way Washington has been doing things on auto-pilot for too long.