by @BradBlank_ November 2022 via thefreeonline
Writers blaming China for the deterioration of relations with the US are confusing cause and effect
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In recent years, but notably in the wake of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) 20th National Congress that just concluded at the end of October, Western writers have rushed to accuse Beijing of becoming anti-Western.
This is seen in several examples by Western writers, such as the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos or a quintessential China-blaming piece recently published by the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman.
by Bradley Blankenship, an American journalist, columnist and political commentator, syndicated column at CGTN and a freelance reporter for international news agencies
In his article, titled “How China Lost America,” Friedman says that there are four trends in China that have soured the US-China relationship: market manipulation, hyper-nationalism, aggressive foreign policy and Beijing’s “zero-Covid” policy.
But he does not elaborate these points to any convincible degree and fails to acknowledge the extent to which Washington’s own policies are to blame for China’s perceived turn from the West.
First of all, a lot of what is called intellectual property theft (which Friedman mentions in his piece) is just ordinary intellectual diffusion.
The FBI started an entire ‘China Initiative’ to investigate such instances in top US universities and companies – and it came up almost completely empty-handed to the point that it had to be shut down for devolving into a vehicle for anti-Asian racism.
This also doesn’t even acknowledge the extent of the US’ own market manipulation, namely through the sheer influence that its multinationals have in creating trade and economic policy, or its promiscuous use of unilateral sanctions.
The US also routinely violates its World Trade Organization (WTO) duties in its trade war against Beijing. The organization even allowed China to impose duties of $645 million worth of compensation for US trade malpractice in January.
For an American to call China hyper-nationalist is laughable.
The US is the most cartoonishly nationalistic country in the history of our species: children in most public schools are required to swear a ‘pledge of allegiance’ to the flag every morning, Americans only know one language on average and the American flag is draped everywhere in the country.
Chinese people are, on balance, much less chauvinistic and more open-minded.
Likewise, it’s hard to take insinuations of Beijing’s supposed “aggressive” foreign policy seriously either.
The People’s Republic of China has never started a war since its inception and has not been involved in a proxy war in decades. Compare that to the fact that the US has been at war for nearly every single year of its existence since 1776.
It is actually America’s aggressive foreign policy that is prompting resistance from Beijing.
Finally, on the zero-Covid point, this is just sensible policy. Virtually every country in the world has caved into public pressure to relax Covid-related restrictions.
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That’s fairly understandable because of how ineffective they were in most countries. But that doesn’t change the fact that Covid-19 is an extremely deadly and debilitating disease that is continuing to kill many people and leave many more disabled. (note> Chinese are also afraid that an ethnic/targeting virus will be released against them)..
A January report by Citigroup, based on three surveys conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce China, the EU Chamber of Commerce China and the Japan External Trade Organization, found that China is their favorite investment destination. Among the top reasons listed was the country’s supply-chain resilience and the effectiveness of its Covid-19 controls.
Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng co-hosts with Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat. © Global Look Press/Xinhua/Li Tao
Here’s the real story of why Friedman and others are bashing China: when Beijing began its reform and opening-up policies, it was hoped that this explosion of American capital into the country would be hand-in-hand with regime change.
This did not happen. In fact, China’s leaders anticipated this and made moves to ensure that this didn’t happen. And top American intellectuals are mad about it. That’s the sparknotes version.
To quote China’s leader during the beginning of the opening-up and reform period, Deng Xiaoping: “No matter to what degree China opens up to the outside world and admits foreign capital, its relative magnitude will be small and it can’t affect our system of socialist public ownership of the means of production.”
There’s been a lot said about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s supposed anti-West sentiment and hardcore communist ideology, but that does not acknowledge that the People’s Republic of China has always been a single-party socialist state – and a fiercely independent one at that – since its inception.
And, just as the US has spent decades doing, it will do everything in its power to make independent nations acquiesce to its way of doing things, e.g., what is now called the ‘rules-based international order.’
Last November, Eritrea signed an MoU with China to join the Belt And Road Initiative. Neighbouring Djibouti is already a major participant in the BRI. So is Sudan along the Red Sea coastline.
Friedman and others who are blaming Beijing for initiating the deterioration of the US-China relationship do not live in the world of facts and causation.
They live in a world clouded and distorted beyond repair by US exceptionalism. It’s not anything China did or didn’t that’s to blame for Americans’ deteriorating view of Beijing; rather, it’s these same people spinning their agenda and misinforming the public.
Where China is aiming its diplomacy after the Communist Party Congress
Beijing’s flurry of diplomatic activity shows a desire to strengthen regional ties and prevent US-imposed isolation
By Timur Fomenko, a political analyst
Since the conclusion of the 20th Party Congress, China has been on a diplomatic roll. In the past week alone, it has hosted the prime minister of Pakistan, the leader of Vietnam, and Germany’s Olaf Scholz, while sending its vice premier to Singapore, where 19 bilateral deals were inked. The president of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan, then followed.
The party congress is China’s most important political event of all, where Beijing determines its agenda and sets the direction for the following year. So it is natural that many things are “put on hold” until after the gathering concludes.
Then, immediately afterwards, the call to action follows, and, on the international stage, China has a lot of work to put in and a lot of catching up to do. The most pressing matter is the US drive to demonize Beijing and contain its rise, and the building of coalitions of countries dedicated to doing just that.
We’ve seen the ‘Quad’, the ‘Indo-Pacific Framework’, AUKUS, ‘Partners for a blue Pacific’ – the list goes on. Washington has also placed unprecedented levels of sanctions on Chinese technology in a bid to try to curb its national development.
China is under pressure. But lashing out has never been in Beijing’s foreign policy playbook. Instead, it prefers to go on the diplomatic offensive, and that’s what it’s doing here.
China’s goal is not to fight with the US, but to indirectly undermine Washington’s goals through a charm offensive to countries it deems important.
And these countries – including Germany, Singapore, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Tanzania – are critical to China’s agenda in various ways.
First of all, China wants to keep Europe on board, especially at a time when the US is pushing the continent to take sides with it against Beijing.
It wants to keep economic ties open and prevent decoupling. Germany, as the largest and most influential state in the EU, is critical to that effort.
The government in Berlin and the country’s business leaders hold a common interest in this, and Scholz’s visit to Beijing was undertaken despite overwhelming opposition from US-linked media and think tanks.
see also: Scholz’s trip to China doesn’t mean he’s grown a backbone against US pressure
Secondly, Singapore. The Lion City may be small, but it is a critical financial and technological center in Southeast Asia that is an indispensable partner for China. It is friendly to the US, but also views China positively. Amongst the 19 bilateral deals signed this week, some involved technology. Singapore is very influential in keeping Southeast Asia and the rest of the region open to China.
China and Ethiopia have a strong political affinity and deep economic bonds, and Ethiopia is one of China’s top five investment destinations on the African continent.
Thirdly, Vietnam. As China’s neighbor and a fellow communist state, the relationship with Hanoi is a very important one. It’s also a complicated one. The two sides have a huge territorial dispute over the South China Sea and Vietnamese popular sentiment is overwhelmingly unfavourable towards China. It is no surprise that the US eyes it as a potential quasi-ally in trying to contain Beijing.
However, the willingness of Vietnam’s leader to come immediately following the party conference signals that, owing to ideology, Hanoi is still willing to bestow its blessing on China’s political system, something that it cannot replicate with the US.
Vietnam does not want to be strategically dominated by China, but it ultimately cannot truly trust the US either. History doesn’t lie. Vietnam’s continuing neutrality is thus an important point for Beijing.
Fourthly, Pakistan. Owing to geography, Pakistan is one of China’s most strategically critical partners, as it provides a route from China itself down to the Western Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and therefore, by extension, Europe.
This is precisely why the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) strives to maximize the country’s infrastructure to make it an economic thoroughfare for China, thwarting any potential attempt to impose a naval embargo around its periphery and bypass India.
It comes as no surprise that on Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to Beijing, the focus of the visit was on CPEC and the two sides’ recommitment to it. It is worth noting that Sharif is subtly more pro-Western than his predecessor, Imran Khan, meaning China has to keep Pakistan incentivized as the country wrestles with fiscal and humanitarian crises.
Finally, Tanzania. Unlike the other parties, the US isn’t making a serious effort to win over African countries against China because the continent isn’t a priority, and most of its promises in terms of aid and development have been hollow.
China, meanwhile, chooses to make a point of inviting African leaders to Beijing in order to demonstrate its longstanding close ties and solidarity with the continent. African countries find an audience in China they do not find with the West.
In setting up these meetings, Xi Jinping will aim to continue to promote favorable trade and investment relations with Tanzania to champion the message of shared development and ‘South-South’ relations.
In conclusion, China is ramping up its diplomatic game. The US wants to tighten the noose of containment, and Beijing believes the best way out of it is to keep as many countries on board as possible and deepen its economic and trade integration with them. This is why China’s most important neighbors – Singapore, Vietnam, and Pakistan – as well as its most critical partner in Europe – Germany – were first and highest on the agenda.
To wrap it up, China has also demonstrated that it continues to prioritize relations with African countries, which the West neglects.
Ethiopia Govt and Eritrea near Victory over TPLF / USA Intervenes to Control Outcome with Punitive Sanctions