Jul 19

(Letter) “China is such a threat to the U.S”??

Written by guest on Saturday, July 19th, 2008 at 3:01 am
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I was having an online discussion with a business associate about U.S. export controls. She made the following statement:

“China is such a threat to the U.S…we must be extremely careful of what they get their hands on…China and other non U.S. friendly countries will do practically anything to steal our knowledge for our weapons and military equipment.”

Notwithstanding that she has certain valid points I was still offended. I responded:

“I must admit that I take offense at the prejudiced statement because not only is my family Chinese, Chinese foreign policy for 5,000 years has been one of nonintervention & nonaggression (with a few exceptions). I realize that China does not take a Western style proactive approach to certain “hot” international issues, yet China on the other hand doesn’t directly interfere with other countries through military intimidation & conflict. China, like many other countries, has its own way of doing things and just because it is not the American way does not make them a threat.

China definitely does pose a serious geopolitical challenge, but calling China a ‘non U.S. friendly country’ is cold war thinking and detrimental to building a harmonious international community. Just because an individual is an American doesn’t give that person the right to demonize other strong countries which do not cower before America’s violent foreign policy. The world would be a much better place if countries spent more time mutually controlling and sharing technology through recognized international bodies, rather than demonizing each other and creating a world of fear and hate.”

It just bothers me that people always demonize China as a rouge state without ethics or values. I fully understand that the CCP has its share of corruption and violation of human/civil rights. I understand that China is building up its military and engages in constant espionage. I also understand that China does not share many American values. For example, the American values of…

Foreign policy: forcing poor countries to accept democracy and capitalism through military invasion.
Politics: politicians waste their time fighting amongst each other and waste the people’s money. Chinese politicians do the same but without the media coverage.
Military: China’s military personnel are usually only deployed for disaster relief
Diet/Food: gradual obesity through over consumption of over processed unnatural foods.

I am having a hard time deciding where my exact values stand because I share both American and Chinese values. Am I wrong by taking such a stand? Due to the fact that my ancestors were on the Mayflower should I take a more patriotic stand? How do you draw the line between where your values/ideology stands with statements like above?

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8 Responses to “(Letter) “China is such a threat to the U.S”??”

  1. vadaga Says:

    There are wayyy too many people in the USA who still have a cold war mentality about China. Last year there was an interesting NPR debate regarding whether ‘the rise of china’ was a bad thing for the United States. The ‘affirmative’ side was mainly hawkish Washington people worried about containment and arms expansion, the ‘negative’ side was mainly people in business and diplomacy. (listen here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10312271). Happily though, the negative side won.

    Re: ‘5000 years’
    This is a boilerplate expression that I really wish could get retired, because ‘5000 years’ is a bit of an exaggeration. 2200 years (basically from Qin dynasty on) could be said with more confidence.

    (maybe it’s because I was just reading this Orwell essay on the links between language and thought recently: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm)

    just chipping in my $0.02

  2. Wukailong Says:

    “5000 years”

    Yeah, that and “1.3 billion people.” (used in the same way as “The American people all think that…”)

  3. Buxi Says:

    The unfortunate truth is that there are numerous events every year that continue to perpetuate the myth that China, and even overseas Chinese, are dangerous. Chinese sfcholars studying overseas are described in very loaded terms as “agents” gathering information “for the government”… as opposed to, I don’t know, scholars trying to help their country modernize. The (mostly unsuccessful) prosecution of Lee Wen-ho and Chi Mak are symbols of a deeper problem.

    I hope the level of dialogue and mutual understanding improves.

  4. Netizen Says:

    I won’t be bothered by other people’s oppinions. Oppinions are just that and they are not facts or truths.

    Like Barrack Obama, 20, 30% of Americans think that he is a Muslim and that he is unpatriotic. He continues though he is annoyed. You can’t live your life based on ignorant views of others. Stick to the the values you grew up with, things will change, for sure.

  5. FOARP Says:

    Looked at entirely from the point of view of potential threat, it is clear which side most threatens the other side. One side has aircraft carriers, the other doesn’t yet. One side has long-range cruise missiles which can be launched from submarines, the other side has only intermediate range ones which can be launched from the ground and potentially from the air. One side is capable of carrying out large-scale amphibious operations, the other isn’t yet. Seen strictly from this angle it seems as though it is the United States which ‘threatens’ China much more than China does the US.

    But then you consider the political factors.

    As for espionage, I’m pretty sure (correction – I hope) it is not a one way street. On this I always just try to work from what I know – so I know that Chinese research institutes are engaged in reverse engineering western military technology, because I’ve spoken to the people who are doing it, but I don’t know how they came by this technology. Espionage is one answer. I also know that Western intelligence organisations are trying to recruit as many high-standard Chinese speakers as possible – what are they doing this for? Facilitating espionage is also one answer. At any rate, the degree to which espionage actually constitutes a ‘threat’ depends entirely on its nature.

  6. FOARP Says:

    @Vadaga – Thank you for the link, I have seen that essay quoted before, but have never read the whole thing. This quote stands out:

    “Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, “I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so.” Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

    “While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigours which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.”

    The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as “keeping out of politics.” All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. I should expect to find — this is a guess which I have not sufficient knowledge to verify — that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship. “

    There is much of this in the Chinese language. There is much also of this:

    “When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases — bestial atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder — one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favourable to political conformity.”

    The whole concept of Tibetan independence, with all the different branches of it and all the different formulas by which it might be brought about, becomes “藏独” – a easy little two-word phrase that everyone knows and everyone hates. All foreign critics of China, from the Vatican to (presumably) the Trotskyites, become “反华” – and you need say no more than this. Likewise phrases like “human rights” and “democracy” have become virtually meaningless, with many people either saying that they already exist in China, or that they are undesirable. One sees the word ‘patriotic’ and ‘patriotism’ attached to the oddest things – in what way can the purpose of a museum commemorating war crimes committed against Chinese people be to “promote patriotism” without ‘patriotism’ taking on a meaning entirely different to ‘loving your country’?

  7. MARK Says:

    The Indians were thinking India was the “world” before.The Americans are having the same attitude .Why don’t people stop cheating each other ? . Watching CNN & Fox News is harmful for your mentality.Try to educate yourshelf to see who really is the world’s criminal nation.

  8. HKonger Says:

    America true secular prophets: The late great George Carlin: Cause “They” OWN you….

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