US travel ban on CPC members ‘paranoid,’ risks dragging ties to 1972: analysts
Published: Jul 16, 2020 03:56 PM

China US Photo: GT

The Trump administration is reportedly considering banning members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and their families from traveling to the US, a paranoid and McCarthyist move driven by ideological bias that will drag bilateral ties back to 1972, analysts said. 

The presidential proclamation, still in draft form, could authorize the US government to revoke the visas of CPC members and their families who are already in the country, leading to their expulsion, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. Members of the People's Liberation Army and executives at state-owned enterprises may also face travel restrictions to the US. 

The newspaper, which is usually harshly critical of US President Donald Trump, noted that the president might ultimately reject the proposal. 

As the CPC has more than 91 million members in China, the travel ban targeting CPC members and their families would affect a wide range of Chinese people and rock the already strained China-US ties. 

The travel ban is unrealistic and fully displays a Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice, Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times.

The travel ban, once it starts, would probably be followed by reciprocal measures from China, and would ruin the decades-long bilateral ties and draw the relationship back to 1972 with few people-to-people exchanges and the cutting of trade exchanges and investments, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

1972 marked the year when then US president Richard Nixon visited China, starting the process of the normalization of China-US relations. The two countries established formal diplomatic relations in 1979. Bilateral trade, investment, cultural, education and people-to-people exchanges have flourished since then. Chinese students have been the largest source of foreign students in the US for 10 years. In 2019, the US had around 370,000 Chinese students, according to the Institute of International Education.

Some US politicians are paranoid and have always wanted to create a split between the CPC and Chinese people, but seem not to think further about who nurtures the CPC. The CPC comes from the Chinese people, and it cannot be alienated from the Chinese people. The US' sanctions and attacks against the CPC are imposed on the Chinese people, Xin said. 

The 99-year-old CPC had 91.91 million members, with 4.68 million primary-level Party organizations as of the end of 2019, according to the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee. 

In less than 100 years, the CPC has seen its membership grow from more than 50 when it was founded in 1921, and 4.49 million in 1949 when New China was founded, to more than 91 million.

The US is trying to drag China into an ideological war and a similar Cold War battlefield from decades ago. By portraying the CPC as a "tyrant," the US wants to whitewash its image as the "beacon of freedom" and "democracy" to form domestic consensus and pull distracted allies together to contain China, Xin said. 

Many Chinese netizens believed the possible ban will become another US policy that is all talk without action, and some said the US has become increasingly deranged in its China policies out of pure jealousy of China. 

"Now, the US is simply jealous of China, and the more the US fails, the crazier it becomes. Its growing craziness revealed its failure and total disgrace to the whole world," a netizen surnamed Huang commented. 

Wang Wen, a professor and executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Thursday that the ban on CPC members is nonoperational as neither the passports nor other required materials show the CPC member identity in applying for a visa to the US. 

Like US sanctions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong affairs, it is just a paper tiger that has no actual effect, Wang said. Wang has visited the US some 50 times, and his 10-year visa to the US was canceled in 2019. 

As a CPC member, Wang said "it makes no difference to me whether I go to the US, and each time I visited the US, I was invited by the US side… The next time I visit the US, I am sure it will still be at an invitation from the US side." 

He said he has been to 100 countries, and he would proudly tell them he is a CPC member each time he's asked. 

Wang also refuted groundless claims that Chinese people apply for CPC membership to get promoted in their career. 

This claim is illogical. CPC members are among the outstanding people in all walks of life. And most of those who applied to the frontline to fight disasters or coronavirus were CPC members and the backbone of society are CPC members, Wang said.

Many well-known entrepreneurs like Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, and Wang Jianlin, founder of Dalian Wanda Group, are CPC members.

US politicians, including Pompeo, have frequently tried to place Chinese people in opposition to the CPC. In the latest example, the US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said in an article published by the Washington Post on Monday: "Under Marxism-Leninism, the self-proclaimed ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, individuals do not possess inherent value. People are merely a tool to achieve the ends of the collective nation-state."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying slammed O'Brien's article on Wednesday, saying the CPC represents the fundamental interests of the vast majority of the Chinese people, seeks to advance their interests and serve them heart and soul. People's interests are its guiding compass, which is why the CPC has maintained a satisfaction and support rate of higher than 90 percent for many years.

"The CPC leadership has enabled China to grow into the world's second biggest economy without resorting to warfare, colonialism or slavery, which is unprecedented in past decades. The CPC puts people and lives first. In stark contrast, the US parties put selfish political gains and capital first," Hua said. 

Pathetic US 

In response to the report on the possible travel ban, Hua Chunying, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told a press conference on Thursday that the move only makes people feel pathetic about the US. It also violates the international code and will do no good to the US' image.

"As the most powerful country in the world, what impression will the US leave on the world apart from various sanctions it imposes on others?" Hua said.

It also revealed an old trick that the US has been using since the Cold War, which was to place a country's people in opposition to its government so that it would face weak resistance when launching attacks on the country, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.

"The international community has clearly seen the chaos and disaster the US' tricks have brought the world, and this misjudgment from the US can only harm the world without benefiting itself," Li said. 

The US has intensified pressure on China recently on various issues, including the South China Sea, Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Analysts said that it showed the US is desperately trying to decouple with China in key areas, as it knows a complete decoupling is impossible.

Li predicted that in the next four months before the presidential election starts, the US will launch more attacks targeting China in the military, political and public opinion domains, which will help its politicians gain more votes. 

Diao noted that some politicians, including US State Secretary Mike Pompeo and Peter Navarro, President Trump's top trade adviser, are using Trump's eagerness to win the election to play all their cards against China. Their extreme and unreasonable behavior of stirring up confrontations between China and the US is not driven by national interests but ideological bias.

They have realized the US is declining but can do nothing to stop it. All they can do is spare no efforts to contain a rising China, which has a totally different model from the US and made tremendous achievements in all key fronts, Diao said.