Home > politics, Translation > “We Can Be More Calm in the Face of Hillary’s Accusations”

“We Can Be More Calm in the Face of Hillary’s Accusations”

(Via The 4th Media, the following is an article on the popular Chinese web site, 环球网 (Huanqiu Web), by 溪兰城 (Xi Lan Cheng), self-described media person in Beijing, translated by Huifang Yu.)

During an interview with Atlantic Monthly, Hillary said, “They’re worried, and they are trying to stop history, which is a fool’s errand. They cannot do it, but they’re going to hold it off as long as possible.” Almost the whole world read about China being on a “fool’s errand” after this quote was cited and reported by mainstream Western media outlets like Reuters, Agence France-Presse and so on. Over 20 famous Chinese international experts were interviewed by the media; 16 viewed Hillary’s words as diplomatic faux pas while 12 believed that Hillary should elaborate her position. “Fool’s errand” is obviously a derogatory term. It is no wonder that scholars said that this is the most severe official criticism since Clinton accused China of changing in the wrong direction in 1997.

Many netizens are furious at this American diplomat, but I am more cool-headed as there are far too many examples to explain that our actions are not foolish. China is currently on its growth path. The changes that occur in tea production in my hometown, a mountainous area in southern coastal China, serve as an example.

During my trip back home for the Lunar New Year, I realized many locals who used to ride motorcycles are now driving compact cars. As a result, a huge traffic jam took place in Beijing on a certain day of the first month of the Lunar New Year. I heard a highway network would be be built in the mountainous area. In the past, it took about two to three hours to go a few dozen kilometers from the mountains to the seaside by bus. In the future, with the highway, that time will be shortened to less than an hour. In addition, a tea competition took place in this area.

One kilogram of tea leaves picked in spring was auctioned at a price of almost 20,000 yuan. Regardless of the type of famous Chinese tea, such prices are rare. Such prices were unimaginable in the past when excellent quality was associated with reasonable prices. As early as 1978, tea produced from the local tea estate was given as a national gift to Emperor Hirohito of Japan. Now, tea farmers have no reason to worry that their tea will be worthless.

China’s development has brought many tangible benefits to many areas in China. These benefits are obvious. Just when everybody is worried that the construction of China’s high-speed railway is too fast and costs too much, there are already many who have already enjoyed the benefits of convenience of commuting. We will not deny the success of our accomplishments despite real problems. Talk of the “collapse of China” does not match what people really believe. In fact, Hillary talks of China when discussing how the U.S. should deal with the Middle Eastern revolution, saying, “We live in a real world. We don’t walk away from dealing with China because we think they have a deplorable human rights record. We don’t walk away from dealing with Saudi Arabia.” What the U.S. dwells on is her own interests.

Samuel P. Huntington pointed out in his book “The Clash of Civilizations” that “economic growth is strengthening Asian governments in relation to Western governments.” He also mentioned that “overall the growing economic strength of the Asian countries renders them increasingly immune to Western pressure concerning human rights and democracy.” This is also consistent with the current situation of China. All the more reason that this should be the perspective to view the world. Let us not forget when Richard Nixon said in 1994, “Today, China’s economic power makes U.S. lectures about human rights imprudent. Within a decade it will make them irrelevant. Within two decades it will make them laughable.” Whether Hillary’s words were right, Huntington makes sense and Nixon’s thoughts were far-sighted. Some scholars said that although the same social problems exist in Middle East, China’s problems are due to its success while Middle East’s problems are due to its failure.

In the long run, strengthening Asian societies is equivalent to strengthening the power of Asian governments, and economic growth will give rise to an increasingly powerful middle class. If this is the case, how does one explain Hillary’s open display of disrespect for China if the progress of the Chinese society is not dependent on what she says? Or, perhaps one can say that even a typical American elite like Hillary, despite being straightforward, knows that the relationship between the U.S. and China can never become too good nor too bad.

  1. May 26th, 2011 at 09:55 | #1

    Hillary is unqualified to be the top dog at State due to her big mouth and uncooth blather. I cannot imagine what Obama was thinking when he nemed her top diplomat. Hillary has been bashing China as long as she hes been in the spotlight. Her outrageous behavior at the Womens confrence, where naked fem-fatals danced in front of a secondary school in China, and the police held up sheets to protect public decency for the students, she used to falsly acuse Chi9nese police of a brutal crackdown on women. Then she ran off to Mongolia, announcing to the world wide press that Mongolia was America’s shining example of freedom and democracy. from that moment on I have been wise to Hillary.

    How embarrassing for us Americans to heve her mouth running all the time. Sigh.

  2. pug_ster
    May 26th, 2011 at 11:59 | #2

    I think the main problem is that China doesn’t have a real spokesperson other than the Jiang Yu who seems to be working overtime fending off criticism. I think the China should follow Russia’s example and have their Media like Russia today and use it to express China’s views.

  3. May 26th, 2011 at 16:19 | #3

    @Kathy
    Foreign policy wise, the two parties behave the same. Look at Libya, and I am really surprised Americans who supported Obama because they didn’t like the Bush war policies are not appalled.

    It is true – responsible for American government’s foreign policy arm, Clinton could be more reserved in her pronouncement. To the Chinese, her comments were indeed insulting and intolerant.

    This news broke at the heels of the S&ED – timing couldn’t be worse.

  4. xian
    May 26th, 2011 at 19:47 | #4

    I don’t wanna be devil’s advocate here, but Hillary might not be completely wrong. Consider the following:

    It seems to me a rule without exception that as countries develop and living standards improve, pragmatism and nationalism wanes. As government decentralizes, individuals and business become more powerful voices. In short, it becomes more liberal. I foresee an unfortunate future in which “openness” is touted to the extent where dissent or anti-China sentiments are tolerated in ways that would be inconceivable today. By that I don’t mean merely a “diverse” array of opinions, but divisive ideologies and harmful policies that put other factors above national interest. While I don’t believe it will ever reach the fanaticism present in the US, it stands to reason that within a few decades, Chinese will no longer be united on certain fronts or overwhelmingly supportive on certain subjects the way we are now. Any thoughts?

  5. May 26th, 2011 at 21:43 | #5

    @xian #4,

    It’s definitely possible. However I am hoping the sense of community – of common purpose – will survive in other forms. Chinese nationalism is really a reactionary force to China being invaded and weak. It’s not an inherent part of Chinese thought. I am sure the bonds that tie China together will find a new motivating force once Chinese nationalism has done its job (bringing China back to the top) and run its course… and not fall into sectarian division.

  6. xian
    May 26th, 2011 at 22:54 | #6

    @Allen
    Yes, let us hope so.

  7. May 27th, 2011 at 00:03 | #7

    Tsinghua Professor Yan Xuetong once said that if China theoretically becomes the new hegemon, it will only create an opportunity to establish a new international political culture; there is no guarantee with China in the U.S.’s place, she’d be less of a ‘might is right’ type.

    So, it may just be human nature: the dominant power will have to resort to unreasonable methods to get more than its fair share of the world. What is uniting the U.S. today may be the same thing that unites a much more affluent and powerful China.

    What I would really like to see in the U.S. is taking a leadership position and help devise a world system where hegemons power can be better checked. Make this the new norm. This is the responsibility of a great power.

  8. Joe
    May 29th, 2011 at 01:49 | #8

    This hillarious mad American woman should be in the kitchen rather than inciting hatred around the globe!

  9. zack
    May 29th, 2011 at 13:14 | #9

    @YinYang
    it’s not in the US’ interest to have a rival superpower, or even to have an international order of checks and balances against its own power.
    take for instance, wolfowtiz’s infamous memo in the 90s that called for the USG to safeguard its hegemonic status against any other rival newcomers.

    if push comes to shove, i wouldnt put it past elements in the USG to catalyse war with China rather than lose a brinksmanship game

  10. May 29th, 2011 at 23:57 | #10

    @zack
    I hope the U.S. government is not so monolithic and that there is a sizable dovish camp besides the hawkish camp, occupied by people like Wolfowitz. Thus far, China has avoided confrontation and instead focused on internal development and normalization with the world. It would be too costly for the U.S. to lead a boycott of China, so you see the economic and cultural relations generally expanding. Those within the U.S. interested in normalizing with China should be applauded.

  11. raffiaflower
    May 30th, 2011 at 07:58 | #11

    Hillary Clinton is a political animal and, as the saying goes, the female is the deadlier of the species.
    Her soundbites are tougher and more ruthless than anyone on the male-dominated block, to make the point that no man can keep her down. (Not even Bill,shhh!!)
    She is the alpha-female and Barack Obama the token Caucasianized president of colour, all with strings attached to the powerful vested interests that really control America.
    However, I think she is a realist who knows that China is simply too big to be eaten for lunch by America, and vice-versa. The strategic competitor/partner plan – if there was ever one – remains.
    But taking a threatening posture – in words, if not overt action – is necessary to calm the braying anti-China forces.
    Her `fool’s errand’ tag is particularly ill-judged. If ever there’s a country on a `fool’s errand’, it’s America itself, epitomized by Obama on a visit to London and claiming Anglo-American invasions as a force for peace and stability in the world.
    An apt comparison would be King Canute, ordering the waves to advance no further on England’s shores. No man or nation can command the tides of change, but only attempt to ride the waves.

  12. June 2nd, 2011 at 11:13 | #12

    @raffiaflower
    Well said.

    Indeed, the tides of change is great. When China is much more affluent, these types of speeches would become nothing more than a fart in the wind, regardless of how the U.S. media plays them up.

  13. June 2nd, 2011 at 13:39 | #13

    @YinYang #12,

    these types of speeches would become nothing more than a fart in the wind…

    Perhaps harmless. But it still can reek though. 😳

  14. raventhorn2000
    June 14th, 2011 at 07:04 | #14

    Clinton warned African Nations of “new colonialism”, hinted as from Chinese business investments.

    Clearly, she only speak of the Western Paranoid view of China.

    If business investments are “new colonialism”, then what are IMF/World Bank? How about the even more overtly political interventionist NED? How about the “humanitarian sanctions”?

    *Isn’t this a curious case of the Clinton calling the pot black?

    While China is counting investments abroad (still less than US’s foreign investments), US is mourning its waning political influences in Africa.

    That’s not merely new colonialism, it’s old colonialism seeking a renewal.

  15. June 14th, 2011 at 16:44 | #15

    @raventheorn2000 #14,

    Actually, if we want to call business activity and investments signs of colonialism, then let’s call all business activities and “investments” – “economic aid” – out as that. The opening of the Chinese market is a sign of Western colonialism. The enforcement of IP around the world is another sign. And the final indication, the dollar and Euro – being a world currency because of U.S. and European dominance in world trade – is the ultimate indicator of who is the colonizer, who is the colonized, in the world.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.