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Global Times, People's Republic of China

China the Universal Scapegoat in America's 'Ugly' Midterm Polls

 

Have American politicians wrongly demonized China in order to win votes in the just-passed midterm elections? According to John Gong of China's state-controlled Global Times, the U.S. habit of blaming China for all of its economic ills could be extremely damaging to both countries.

 

By John Gong

 

November 9, 2010

 

People's Republic of China - Global Times - Original Article (English)

Elections are always ugly. And the ugliness of the 2010 midterm election in the U.S. were especially distinguished by its vicious, rampant, and xenophobic campaign of China-bashing.

 

For the first time in history, from Detroit to Houston and New York to LA, using China as a scapegoat for every U.S. economic problem became a popular bipartisan sport in congressional the mud-wrestling.

 

In Ohio, incumbent Democrat Zack Space put up an ad that contrasted a street scene of perky Chinese basking in affluence with a shuttered American factory, without any reference to the hundreds of millions of Chinese living with incomes that are a tenth that of the average Ohioan. The advertisement then asks, "But what about Ohio - we've lost 91,000 jobs to China."

 

China-bashing TV advertisements have showcased gongs, dragons, cheesy music, red communist flags, a flood of invading merchandise and insatiable Chinese consumers. Some of the ads have clearly touched on the sensitive battle line of race, casting a profound shadow over the lives of millions of Chinese Americans.

 

Using aliens as scapegoats is nothing new. History shows that during times of economic hardship, people tend to make foreigners out to be villains, and the U.S. is no exception. During the Great Depression, Mexicans and Mexican Americans were used as a collective scapegoat, seen as usurpers of American jobs and a burden on social services.

 

In 1929, President Herbert Hoover authorized the deportation or "voluntary repatriation" to Mexico of over half a million people of Hispanic descent. The Department of Labor raided public and private places to round up hundreds of thousands of immigrants.

 

A more sinister version of racially and culturally-oriented bashing took place in the "long depression" of 1870s Europe which, according to historian Scott Nelson, bears a close resemblance to the financial crisis and subsequent global recession we face today.

 

"The 19th-century version of containers manufactured in China and bound for Wal-Mart consisted of produce from farmers in the American Midwest," he wrote. "Europeans faced what they came to call the American Commercial Invasion. A new industrial superpower had arrived, one who's low costs threatened European trade and a European way of life."

 

The long-term effects of this were perverse. Nationalistic politicians blamed the crisis on Jews with a new but sophisticated brand of anti-Semitism that proved appealing to those who had lost their livelihoods in the depression, just as China-bashing is appealing to many unemployed Americans today. Pogroms and persecutory laws followed, contributing to the anti-Semitism that eventually led to the Holocaust.

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What's so alarming is that anti-China feeling in the U.S. appears to be a broad-based and long-lasting trend. If this dangerous trend isn't dealt with properly, it could be an explosive issue in future Sino-U.S. relations.

 

 

SEE ALSO ON THIS:

Gazeta, Russia: The Disconcerting Swings of America's Political Pendulum

Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany: Europe Baffled By Loss of 'Bloodless' Obama

Beijing Times, China: Elections Can't Cure America's 'Disease'
ABC, Spain: The Misguided Demonization of the 'Tea Party' Movement

Folha, Brazil: Obama: An American Anomaly?

Le Monde, France: Charting the Tortured Path of the Tea Party

Liberation, France: American 'Anti-Statists' Claim Midterm Victory

La Jornada, Mexico: A Dire Midterm Result for the U.S. and World

Le Figaro, France: Tea Party: An 'American Fever' that Will Quicky Pass

Wen Wei Po, Hong Kong: Blaming China Led Obama to Midterm Defeat

Le Temps, Switzerland: Obama Pays Big for Anemic Growth

News, Switzerland: Obama: Don't Bargain with Your 'Political Assassins'

La Jornada, Mexico: Obama 'Bit Off More than He Could Chew'

Le Temps, Switzerland: Cheap Advice for President Obama

Tageblatt, Luxembourg: Prepare for 'Tea Time' in America

El Pais, Spain: As U.S. Exposes its Divisions, China Powers Ahead

Global Times, China: The West is Forming an 'Axis of Evil Ideology'

Hispanidad, Spain: How Spain Can Build its Own Tea Party: Copy Palin

El Universal, Mexico: Immigration Reform: Obama's Ace in the Hole

Le Temps, Switzerland: America's 'Cry of Agony' Through the Tea Party

Izvestia, Russia: Evil Obama and China's Yuan: It's About the Midterms

Liberation, France: Christine ODonnell at the 'Oral Stage'

Financial Times Deutschland, Germany: West Must Halt Slide Since 9-11

El Mercurio, Spain: The 'Neo-Nazi' Campaign Against President Obama

El Mundo, Spain: Beck and Palin Search for Mythical 'Paradise Lost'

Der Standard, Austria: In Despair Over Democracy - Both America's and Ours

National Post, Canada: U.S. Democracy Suffers 'Death By Talk-Show Host'

La Jornada, Mexico: Beck and the New U.S.-Right: 'Like a Horror Movie'

Iraq News Agency, Iraq: Sarah Palin: The 'Seductress' of the American Election

 

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China can do a lot to alleviate US. frustration with the still huge trade deficit by adopting concrete measures to increase American exports to China, and thus creating U.S. jobs.

 

The recent statement by People's Bank of China Vice Governor Yi Gang that the current account surplus should be contained within 4 percent of GDP is a step in the right direction. But the U.S. should do some soul-searching as to why the country has lagged behind economically in recent years.

 

Two costly but meaningless wars, rampant consumerism on credit, an overdose of financial engineering, corporate greed, lax government oversight and regulation, partisan politics that prevent anything from being accomplished, haven't these things played a larger role than China in explaining America's decline over the last decade?

 

*John Gong is associate professor at the Beijing-based University of International Business and Economics.

 

johngong@ gmail.com

 

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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US November 9, 12:09am]

 







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