U.S. experiencing 'full-blown outbreak of Sinophobia'

2024-03-29 09:40:44China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The United States is experiencing a "full-blown outbreak of Sinophobia", a China expert said in an article published on Wednesday.

Stephen S. Roach, a faculty member at Yale University and former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, wrote on the opinion website Project Syndicate that the anti-China sentiment has been building for years, dating to the early 2000s, when the U.S. began targeting Huawei Technologies.

Roach said "China threats now seem to be popping up everywhere", as he cited export controls on advanced semiconductors, which he said are intended to stifle China's advances in artificial intelligence.

He said much has been made of supposed risks from Chinese electric vehicles and noted the recent proposed forced sale or ban of social media platform TikTok, which has 170 million U.S. users.

While Roach said China has demonstrated some "Ameriphobia", he said it is not as pronounced as what is coming out of Washington.

"Not since the red-baiting of the early 1950s has America so vilified a foreign power," Roach wrote in reference to Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee of that era.

"Today, another politician from Wisconsin, Representative Mike Gallagher, has led the charge as chair of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, which …has leveled a series of unsubstantiated charges against China," Roach wrote.

"While Gallagher will retire from Congress in April, his legacy will live on, not just as co-sponsor of a bill that could lead to an outright ban of TikTok, but also as the leader of a congressional effort that has cast a long shadow over those who support almost any form of engagement with China."

Forbes reported that Gallagher will take a job with Palantir, a software company and defense contractor.

"The litany of U.S. allegations is a manifestation of unproven fears wrapped in the impenetrable cloak of national security," Roach wrote, saying there is no "smoking gun" and it is "all about circumstantial evidence".

Roach said there are many "whatifs" in Washington's approach.

"U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, a leading Democrat, asks us to 'imagine' what could happen if Chinese EVs were weaponized on American highways," he wrote.

'Many what-ifs'

"And a former U.S. counterintelligence officer has compared sensors in Chinese-made cranes to a Trojan horse. There are many what-ifs and mythical parallels, but no hard evidence on intent or verifiable action.

"What is it about China that has generated this virulent U.S. reaction?" Roach asked.

"The claim of 'American exceptionalism' seemingly compels us to impose our views and values on others. That was true in the Cold War, and it is true again today."

Roach said "excessive fear of China conveniently masks many of America's own self-inflicted problems".

"Bilateral trade deficits may well reflect the unfair trading practices of individual countries — China today, Japan 35 years ago — but broad multilateral trade deficits stem more from chronic U.S. budget deficits that lead to a deficiency of domestic saving," he said.

"Similarly, the technology threat is not only an outgrowth of the alleged Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property; it also represents …America's underinvestment in research and development and shortfalls in STEM-based higher education," Roach added.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," Roach quoted a line from U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt's 1933 inaugural address, concluding that "amid today's Sinophobic frenzy, that message is well worth remembering".

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