China Shoves Back

Beijing is taking a hard line as the U.S. threatens trade sanctions

Inside the walls of Zhongnanhai, Beijing's exclusive leadership compound, the grounds are immaculate, and peach blossom petals drift onto a calm lake. But despite placid appearances, this is command central for hardball policymaking--particularly toward the U.S. Reacting to the perceived weakness of the Clinton Administration, a more assertive Chinese leadership is fed up with a U.S. foreign policy that harps on trade issues and intellectual property rights but avoids crafting a broader, overarching China policy. Irritation over the U.S. decision to deploy two aircraft carrier groups to defend Taiwan in March also has clearly changed the tone in Beijing.

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