April 20, 2021

Van Hollen, Sullivan Introduce China Reciprocity Legislation

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) today introduced the True Reciprocity Act of 2021, legislation to address the substantial imbalance in the relationship between the United States and China across a number of sectors, including diplomacy, trade, communications, and education. Specifically, the legislation directs the Biden administration to develop an in-depth report to Congress detailing the obstacles put in place by China to obstruct the free work of U.S. diplomats, officials, journalists, businesses and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the country, and recommendations for how the U.S. can respond in pursuit of reciprocity in the bilateral relationship.

“For too long the Chinese government has benefited from applying a double standard to the relations between our two countries — they exploit our openness and transparency but refuse to extend reciprocal treatment to the United States — denying our diplomats, businesses, media, and other organizations similar benefits. It is time to end this lopsided approach and insist that China extend similar benefits to Americans as a condition of continuing to receive those benefits here. Key to enforcing the principle of equal treatment is identifying all the areas where we are put at a disadvantage and developing a coherent strategy for closing the gaps. That’s why the Congress must pass this bipartisan legislation and why Senator Sullivan and I will continue pressing our colleagues to move forward on this critical issue,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“For decades, American citizens, businesses and organizations operating in China have faced significant restrictions and censorship, in sharp contrast to the treatment faced by their Chinese counterparts who operate largely unencumbered in the United States,” said Senator Sullivan. “Our government has raised this lack of reciprocity with the most senior Chinese officials and these officials have consistently committed to leveling the playing field, yet China has taken no concrete actions to right this wrong. Given China’s demonstrated unwillingness to establish reciprocity between our two governments, it is up to Congress to act, establish fairness, and protect the interests of American citizens and businesses. Senator Van Hollen and I are continuing the push to acknowledge and study the extent to which Americans are hindered in China, and to propose corrective measures America can take to reorient the relationship toward a more reciprocal one. We encourage our colleagues to join us in pursuing a bilateral relationship defined by something understood by every American citizen: reciprocity and fairness.”

The full text of the bill is available here.