California Gov. Gavin Newsom discussed critical issues with senior Chinese officials, including climate change, human rights, and trade, as part of his weeklong tour of China.
Notably, the topic of human rights wasn't addressed in his Oct. 25 meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Mr. Xi told Mr. Newsom about the importance of improving ties between China and California, which the Chinese leader said would serve to advance ties between Beijing and Washington, according to state-run media outlet Xinhua.
Mr. Newsom was warmly received by senior officials in Beijing. In a meeting earlier on Oct. 25, China’s deputy leader, Han Zheng, addressed Mr. Newsom as an “old friend” and said his visit would “inject positive energy into the development of the China–U.S. relationship.”
“I’m here in expectation, as you suggest, of turning the page, of renewing our friendship and reengaging [on] foundational and fundamental issues that will determine our collective faith in the future,” Mr. Newsom said in brief opening remarks ahead of his meeting with Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, earlier in the day.
Human RightsAccording to a statement from the governor’s office, Mr. Newsom spoke about numerous human rights issues on Oct. 25, although not with Mr. Xi. Those issues included rights violations and anti-democracy efforts in Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang.
However, Mr. Newsom said he brought up human rights issues with Mr. Wang. When asked why he didn’t do the same with Mr. Xi, the California governor said, “I can’t be everything to everyone at every moment.”
‘Strategic Red Lines’Mr. Newsom told reporters that there are "strategic red lines" in the U.S.–China ties but that the two nations could manage it.
Climate AgendaMr. Newsom took part in a “fireside chat” at Hong Kong University on Oct. 23. According to a statement, the governor told the audience that Hong Kong and California have been leading the fight against climate change.
Li Yongsheng, deputy commissioner of the Chinese foreign ministry in Hong Kong, also took part in the event at the school, according to Hong Kong media. Mr. Li had previously served as the deputy director-general of the Chinese foreign ministry in Xinjiang.
On Oct. 24, Mr. Newsom signed a new climate partnership with China’s southern Guandong Province, according to a statement. China’s state-run media reported that the California governor also boarded an electric bus and test-drove an electric SUV, both made by China’s biggest electric vehicle manufacturer, BYD.
In 2021, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation sent a letter to the CEOs of 84 companies, including BYD, urging them to decouple their supply chains from Xinjiang.
Trade IssuesMr. Newsom signed a memorandum of understanding with Zheng Shanjie, the head of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner. The governor’s office said the memo is focused on climate issues.
Aside from climate, trade was also the focus of the Oct. 24 meetings between Mr. Newsom and the regime’s senior officials. According to the readout from his office, Mr. Newsom discussed how to strengthen the two-way trade between California and China, which he said rose to $166 billion. He also "made clear that foreign investments must continue to be predicated on fair competition."
U.S. lawmakers, however, warned on Oct. 24 that the CCP has taken advantage of the United States for decades, saying it’s time to change that situation.
Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) introduced the "True Reciprocity Act of 2023," a proposal that addresses the “substantial imbalance” in the U.S.–China relationships across a series of sectors, including trade, diplomacy, and media.