Kamala Harris served as the 27th District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011 and the 32nd Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2017. In these positions, Harris’s work rarely touched on issues related to China. Beginning in 2017 as a Senator, Harris has had increasing exposure to affairs related to China.
According to Kamala Harris, China steals intellectual property and ships “substandard” products to the U.S. Harris says that China must be held accountable but disagrees with the tariffs set in place by the Trump administration. These tariffs, Harris states, are unproductive. Harris supports open trade policies, claiming she is “not a protectionist Democrat” at the 3rd Democratic Debate. Similar to other Democrats, Harris agrees that the United States must confront China’s “unfair trade practices” by working “in lockstep with our partners.”
Besides trade, Harris has also addressed a number of other China-related topics when speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations. Harris stresses that China’s abysmal human rights record cannot be ignored and that China must respect the autonomy of Hong Kong. She also admonishes the Hong Kong government’s use of violence against peaceful protestors. Harris wants the United States to reclaim its spot as a moral authority and team up with other nations to stand up for human rights.
While these points of contention are critical, Harris also recognizes that the United States must also cooperate and partner with China. In particular, Harris wants China’s cooperation in fighting climate change and handling relations with North Korea.