USA: Olympic boycott + 20 years of WTO accession + IPOs overseas
The USA is escalating the brewing conflict with China. They now have announced to not send any government representatives to the Olympic Games in Beijing. President Joe Biden is thus sending a very unwelcoming message. China will have to react accordingly to this diplomatic boycott; after all, Xi Jinping has styled himself and his country as strong and assertive. This announcement regarding a sporting event won't be the end of the story. Further disruptions in global trade are now absolutely possible.
This gives Germany's new foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, an opportunity to promote her own human rights-based foreign policy. She has announced that she will not ignore the situation in Xinjiang and will seek transatlantic coordination. If Germany actually follows the US into the boycott, however, the impact would not be as severe as it is now. China could blame this on the poor influence of the US and continue relations for the time being. After all, China needs allies. However, it is now quite clear that the era of intense geopolitical conflicts did not end with the Trump era.
Just how much the attitude towards China has changed over the years becomes evident by a look at the history of the country's WTO membership. "Change through trade" was a popular sentiment among China optimists in the early 2000s. If "the West" included China in the international trade order and increased both imports and exports, China would soon play by international rules and develop into a market economy. That was the idea. In retrospect, this seems rather naive. On the 20th anniversary of China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the results are mixed, reports Felix Lee. Although global trade has grown, the West has lost many manufacturing jobs, and entire regions of the US are left in shambles. And the hopes foreign companies had placed in China were often left disappointed. On the other hand, many segments of the Chinese market remain closed off to foreigners.