US Attorney General William Barr delivered a speech on Thursday, in which he accused US high-tech companies and Hollywood of "kowtowing" to China, inciting them to jointly confront China to safeguard the US democratic system. Almost all examples he named were about American firms making compromises with Chinese management departments to enter the Chinese market. No example of China trying to influence the functions of the US has been found.
(File photo: VCG)
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. This is the common practice of human society. The US has to a large extent influenced Chinese people's lifestyles, and such influence cannot be one-way. Barr was putting technical adjustments made by American companies aimed at expanding their access to the Chinese market under scrutiny, and called it China wanting to "raid" the US. This is nonsense and a rude interpretation of the rules of human interactions.
Washington's attack against Beijing has become a whole-of-government movement. Barr's speech is only a part of it. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will deliver more speeches on the US' China policy. The Chinese people may need to get used to senior US officials taking turns attacking China.
The 2020 US presidential elections are approaching. US President Donald Trump is lagging behind Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the polls. Trump's team is thus determined on using the anti-China strategy to attract swing voters. The strategy is deeply entangled with propositions of China hawks in Washington, which has led to increasingly insane and hostile attacks on China. It is now difficult for people to distinguish how much of their teeth-gnashing remarks were made for the elections, and how much came from their heart.
It no longer makes sense to keep reasoning with the US. It seems impossible for Beijing to wake up the current US administration. But China must not step back at this point and should keep making its case. The US is trying to repeat its lies until they become the truth, and China will not allow it. Lies need to be refuted. Chinese voices in global public opinion are too few.
China needs to remain sober in the face of the US government attack against it. The US is stronger, yet the interests of the country, different parties and politicians are intertwined. China should avoid being led by the nose by the US. The game between the two powers must not be dominated by Washington. While the US plays its tricks, China must fight its own way.
Barr's speech showed Washington will create more obstacles to cooperation among companies and other private institutions of the two sides. Launching reciprocal countermeasures is one of the most commonly used methods in global relations. Under the current complicated backdrop that US elites are pushing decoupling with China, China's wisdom will be tested.
The US' current China strategy has a fatal weakness - it is too ideological and geopolitical. The US belief that China is attempting to replace it and the West is wrong, and the US understanding of globalization is biased. It is no longer an era of zero-sum games among major powers.
Therefore, a contradiction emerged. Ruling US elites are putting politics above everything else while advocating national security interests first. Yet many US companies are asking, "Are they serious?" European countries feel the same way. They tend to accept using Huawei equipment in their 5G network, so what? It is Washington, not Beijing, that had spied on Europe.
If the US government wants to shape a new cold war against China, it will need China's fierce response to mobilize the entire US society and Western world. China must avoid such confrontation. Launching a new cold war is a crime against mankind. What China has to do is continue to open up. We will face huge obstructions on the path, but China should be confident it could dismantle the new cold war the US is trying to create.