US fearmongering, racist China policy come back to haunt it
Published: May 20, 2021 10:03 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Some US lawmakers and activists finally raised clear-headed voices, noting the anti-China political atmosphere would come back to haunt the US, and rising racism is an example. On Wednesday, Politico reported that "depicting China as an existential threat fuels hatred at home while doing little to contain Beijing's ambitions." 

The article quoted some rational American lawmakers and activist groups as saying that the anti-China push is inspiring more anti-Asian bias and fueling sentiment in the US similar to the Islamophobia seen after the September 11 attacks.

They are worried about the anti-China atmosphere in the US, most probably because they have been clearly aware of the side effects. The US is storming toward a vicious cycle: Elites are eager to pile pressure on China - media outlets and think tanks coordinate to hype anti-China sentiment with outright smears and vilification - society is misled and becomes ideologically biased - racism surges - people turn the spears against their own. In others words, the US is harming itself. 

Why is the US move depicting China as an existential threat sparking a severe backlash within the US? Because such a policy is essentially racist. The US has turned all-out to suppress China on various fronts, using "threat" as an excuse. It is to deprive China's development right and Chinese people's right to live a better life. Isn't it naked racism?

Anti-China hawks have started to be extra proactive in frightening Americans with China-related topic since the Trump administration. They make China the root cause of all US problems, including the failure to rein in coronavirus, soaring unemployment rate, the hollowed-out manufacturing industries and its precarious global leadership, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for US Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Thursday. Xin added that their constant political attacks on China to deflect their own incompetence caused the spread of anti-Chinese and even anti-Asian discrimination. 

As reports have shown, cases of verbal or physical attacks or civil rights violations against Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders in the US almost doubled from 2020 to 2021.

An ironic incident occurred in April. Carolyn Sung, a CNN producer, "was thrown to the ground and had her hands zip tied" by local police in Minnesota while covering a protest. A police later asked her, "Do you speak English" as she is Asian American. 

CNN is among the US media outlets which have been frantically attacking and discrediting China, and have provoked hatred against Chinese Americans. It is unclear whether it would sober up that its deeds would only endanger people of their own. 

What are the consequences of Washington's continuing incitement of anti-China sentiment? According to Xin, US global image will be badly hit. "It is shouting about human rights all day, yet the country could not even treat and protect its own citizens equally without discrimination," he said. Such an atmosphere is disappointing Chinese American scientists, blowing US attractiveness toward overseas talent and threatening the foundation of US scientific development. 

When the US tries hard to make a fuss about China being an "existential threat," it is only trapping itself, or pointing a gun at its own head. US magazine Vanity Fair once put it, "Trump's fearmongering, demonization, and threats of violence have invited comparisons to Hitler's rise." Regrettably, the current administration has signaled no willingness to correct it. They have long put the words of former US president John Quincy Adams - the US "goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy" behind them. The monster is lingering within the US, not anywhere else.