Why it’s inevitable Chinese no longer worship US
Published: May 16, 2021 09:04 PM
Illustration: Tang Tengfei/GT

Illustration: Tang Tengfei/GT

Chinese opinion toward the US was once very friendly, even tinged with elements of admiration for all things American. In fact, if some users of Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, objectively said something negative about the US and positive about China a few years ago on the platform, they would be attacked and mocked in comments. I once said that for people to take part in online opinion dispute, they need to learn to be impervious to strange comments.

But this has been changing. The Chinese people, especially young ones, are becoming more objective in viewing the gap between China and the US and the two countries' respective advantages. They can more fairly view the world and more rationally analyze China-US relations. What has prompted such changes?

First, there is no Western-style political correctness and ideological bias in China. Therefore, young Chinese people are able to reasonably review the political system of China and the US and its role in each country. 

Today's young Chinese, especially of the Generation Z, live in the best period of this country. Thanks to China's reform and opening-up and the diverse values brought about by globalization, Chinese people have had their chances to know the outside world. Many Chinese people have traveled and studied in the US, and during the process, they get knowledge of the real America, which may be different from some online descriptions that they previously read. Such a difference makes them review and redefine their motherland. 

A comment circulating on Weibo goes, "The more countries you go to, the more patriotic you become." By personally visiting the US, young Chinese have seen dilapidated infrastructure, fixated interest structure, cumbersome bureaucracy, deep-rooted racism, and the systematic gun violence that is almost impossible to rule out. The true reality of the US makes the past image of the US as a fairy land fall flat.

Second, the US maximum suppression of China has ignited the Chinese people's discontent and their will to fight.

Chinese people have a worldview that is clearly different from those of Americans and other Westerners. The Chinese believe the world has no perfect political system - they think as long as a system fits local development and enables people to live a better life, it is a good system. This also fits diverse values under globalization. 

But the US does not view the world this way. It always wants the US system to be adopted in other countries and regions - an approach that has often caused great tragedies. The US has been doing the same thing to China - engaging with it, trying to change it, and hoping it will eventually be "democratized." Obviously, such an attempt of the US has failed. China has been more efficient than the US in development. And Chinese people trust and support their own government more than Americans do their own government.

Therefore, Washington changed its policy. After Donald Trump took office, the US' suppression of China has become more obvious and reckless. Since then, the Chinese have felt and experienced the US-led West's ubiquitous double standards, disinformation and smears with no moral integrity. The Chinese see this campaign clearly. 

In a way that hurts so much the Chinese people's interests, how can Washington win the heart of the Chinese people? The more intensified the external suppression of China becomes, the more it stimulates the unity and cohesion of the Chinese nation. The more clearly Chinese people realize that the US-led West is depriving and threatening their rights to development and survival, they will then become more united.

Here are some examples that reflect the collapse of the beacon of American-style democracy in Chinese public opinion and confidence in the strengths of their own system.

China was the first to report the outbreak of the COVID-19, and it acted decisively to overcome it quickly. Yet the US, once worshiped in Chinese public opinion, has lost nearly 600,000 people in the epidemic - and it is not over there yet. What happened to the US has made the Chinese people more conscious of the hypocrisy and shortcomings of the Western-style democratic system.

Chinese culture is inclusive in taking in what is beneficial, and keeps out what does not help. Meanwhile, American culture is becoming more and more petrified. When facing difficulties, the US now only knows resorting to wave its "almighty" banner of democracy. Using such a card, the US had previously tried to affect China's development model, and now it wants to gang up with some countries against China's development.

However, the "democracy" that US politicians keep talking about is no more than a tool for the country to fight for its own national interests. American "democracy" is nothing noble; it is a set of ideal values exploited by some people.

Due to the changes mentioned above, China's public opinion has gradually changed its attitude toward Washington over the past few years. The change was inevitable in many ways. And this inexorable process cannot be stopped by the US spending $300 million a year to "counter the malign influence" of the Communist Party of China globally, or by cultivating "Americanphiles" in China to divide the Chinese public opinion.

At present, the majority of Chinese people, especially the youth, have awakened. They are "woke." They have spontaneously stood out to proclaim and defend what is right and just, while refute and oppose what is wrong and evil. They want to tell the world what the real China is like. As history goes, people like them will stand out to take their responsibility - generation after generation.

The author is a Chinese micro-blogger on Sina Weibo. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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