Here is a ridiculous, hypocritical, and pompous article by a British writer accusing China of evil and exploitation over natural resources (pot, meet kettle). A few words before posting the link. Yes, I agree China has significant issues to fix right now, many of which are not too dissimilar from the social problems America faced when it was undergoing industrialization itself. The article sounds reminiscent of anti-American derision by certain arrogant Brits, 100 years ago, when Britain was declining as a superpower.
What is irritating is an added component of borderline xenophobia that permeates this article and other recent Western media, whether it be over Chinese toys, Olympics, Tibet, or Darfur, etc, which was recently hinted about in a Jeff Yang column published in the Washington Post. I believe articles like Hitchens' are as propagandist as any recently biased Western media that have tried to demonize Jews, Arabs, or Persians to the rest of the Anglo world. It has become very easy to write Western articles about Asians or China as a less human 'other', with the attitude that certain evils or guilts are true before investigation.
Biased media can be damaging when uninformed, easily-influenced Americans mentally associate anti-China propaganda with negative attitudes toward Asians and/or Asian Americans. Current comments below American news sites reveal the blanket stereotypes, racism, and/or bigotry that can manifest itself within everyday Americans who read biased news. If you remain skeptical about the damage, look up the 'Committee of 100's disturbing study on American people's negative views toward Asian Americans, or for a related example read explanations from scholars about why certain criticisms about Israel within America can be anti-semitic and/or alarming for Jewish Americans.
I did not want to link the article until after the above introduction. The piece, published today, and written by Peter Hitchens in a UK paper, is titled 'How China Has Created a New Slave Empire in Africa'. I have included excerpts and my thoughts in an extended post entry below.
In Hitchens' article, note the use of the word 'sinister', as well as his colonial and 'White Knight' tone toward the Africans:
The diggers feared - and their evil, sinister [Chinese] bosses had worked hard on that fear - that if people like me publicised their filthy way of life, then the mine might be closed and the $3 a day might be taken away. I can give you no better explanation in miniature of the wicked thing that I believe is now happening in Africa.
The pictures embedded are calculated to incite hate and possibly reference historically offensive memes about 'orientals'. Below is another excerpt that paints China as exploitative, however Hitchens fails to note that the Chinese loans are interest-free, as opposed to the exploitative high-interest loans Western institutions have used to enslave Africans for decades:
It is my view - and not just because I was so nearly killed - that China's cynical new version of imperialism in Africa is a wicked enterprise. China offers both rulers and the ruled in Africa the simple, squalid advantages of shameless exploitation. For the governments, there are gargantuan loans, promises of new roads, railways, hospitals and schools - in return for giving Peking a free and tax-free run at Africa's rich resources of oil, minerals and metals.
I find the following laughable in that he is trying to portray Britain as some sort of moral beacon and that British oppression was actually a *good* thing compared to others:
Britain's own adventures in Africa were not specially benevolent, although many decent men did what they could to enforce fairness and justice amid the bigotry and exploitation. It is noticeable that in much former British territory we have left behind plenty of good things and habits that are absent in the lands once ruled by rival empires.
Hitchens' article is representative of Anglo (and American) whining over the fact that African and Middle Eastern nations are increasingly choosing to trade their natural resources with China rather than with the Anglo West. There are several reasons why this article peeves me. Those who follow economic history know that the Western IMF and World Bank have kept nations around the world, especially those on the African and South American continents, in perpetual economic servitude by providing high-interest loans deliberately designed to be impossible for these poor countries to ever pay back. Peter Hitchens needs to be reminded that 500 years of colonialism, slavery, apartheid, and discrimination by Western civilization, including the British, have not uplifted the continent of Africa. Over the past 15 years China has given African nations interest-free loans, built up their roads and civilian infrastructure, and created a system of trade with the Africans, rather than the Western model of exploitation. It must kill Hitchens and those like him that African nations are finally lifting themselves out of poverty and economic servitude, without the help of 'White Knight' institutions who have failed to do so for centuries. It is interesting that in Hitchens' biased article he fails to mention any instances of the rampant violence upon destitute Chinese migrant workers in Africa. I suppose it would negate his intent to demonize the Chinese. Additionally, Hitchens fails to note that China's need for natural resources is a result of the huge appetite and demand by Western nations for Chinese products.
In whole, Peter Hitchens wrote an article that is full of the kind of historical arrogance, supremacist views, and hypocrisy that most sane British have come to be embarrassed about concerning British history. Over the past few years I have come to suspect that anti-China media is rooted in part by xenophobia, racism, geopolitical propaganda, or extreme insecurity. To help explain further, here are four examples below illustrating the type of anti-China spin the Western media has used in other recent stories. I strongly urge readers to investigate these stories independently for themselves:
- The furor over the girl lip singer during the Beijing Olympics made front page news in every Western paper. However, the entire Australian orchestra recently admitted to faking their entire performance, years earlier at the Sydney Olympics ceremony. They fake played while a tape recording was used, and yet most people have never even heard about this story.
- In Darfur, over 90% of the weapons used by that government are from Russia, not China, though Western media brainwashes people to believe otherwise. While the US media speaks for peace in Darfur, the US government continues to fund the rebels, intentionally perpetuating further bloodshed. Geo-political anti-China propaganda over Darfur is less about freedom or human rights than it is over its ginormous oil fields. If Western civilizations truly cared about democracy or human rights, much more attention would be given to the plight of people in Myanmar and the monks there, but we barely hear anything about that since there isn't any gain in it for us. Public slogans to spread freedom sound even more shallow when one realizes the US has toppled democratically elected leaders in South America and in Iran.
- The backlash over Chinese toys was interesting, in that toys were blamed on China, yet the design flaws came from America. Mattel's President spoke to American media and blamed everything on China, and yet right after flew to China to apologize to angry Chinese officials for American design flaws and also for lying to the American press. This story was barely covered at all in a fair way.
- The claims of Tibetan oppression have been completely spun without regard to the facts. How many here even know that the recent Tibetan riot began through massive murders and attacks on Han Chinese? CNN and others were recently caught photo shopping their photos to spin the story and make it sound like Tibetans were attacked. From reading non-Western sources, I was surprised to learn that 50 years ago the Tibetan people were literally kept as sub-human illiterate slaves by the monks, and these people would be arbitrarily stoned or tortured or have their bodies mutilated at the whim of these Tibetan monks. An analogy is think of the immense power the Catholic Church had over the masses hundreds of years ago. It is also especially interesting to read American articles about Tibet, when you consider how the United States got California and Texas from the Mexicans, or earlier how the entire country was taken by annihilating the Native Americans over 100 years. It's all about whose perspective you use, I guess.
These are just some examples of the hypocrisy and double standards that pervade what is supposed to be objective and unbiased Western media. In terms of potential damage from anti-China propagandist spin, think of the way Indian and Arab Americans were profiled or targeted in America/Europe in recent years. Think of how alarmed you would be as a Jewish American if you were constantly bombarded by anti-Israeli news in mainstream American media. The propaganda is almost scarily like the book '1984' in which the elite keep demonizing a new enemy to manipulate the masses. Consider how powerful media conditioning has been on American 'sheeple' who still think WMD's exist in Iraq, still call French Fries 'Freedom Fries', and think all Muslims are brutal backwards savages who want to kill all non-Muslims and take over the world. The same people who believe the spin over the Middle East, are just as easily manipulated when it comes to anti-Asian beliefs. Peter Hitchens' recent article is one of many that have been published which incite hate. The comments posted on mainstream news sites or on Youtube, about generalizations related to Asians, Chinese, and Asian Americans, reveal the damage biased media is already having on people's views toward Asians and Asian Americans.
[Edit: I just did some research on Peter Hitchens after posting, and apparently he is politically on the far extreme right in Britain, and has been accused by others as well of being a racist and xenophobe. He rants about immigrants and lack of assimilation in Britain, and also wrote an article and made a movie criticizing Nelson Mandela. It sounds like the guy is royally pissed that the Britain empire no longer controls Africa, like the glory days in his mind.]