Tuesday, 2 November 2021

A Permanent Reservoir of Scapegoats: how racism drives the geopolitics of China's rise

No Cold War kindly invited me to speak at their online event on 6th October but sound problems rendered my contribution pretty unlistenable — apologies. I am posting the text of my speech here and will try to re-record soon it along with a poem.

A PERMANENT RESERVOIR OF SCAPEGOATS: HOW RACISM DRIVES THE GEOPOLITICS OF CHINA'S RISE

Anna Chen's No Cold War talk Wednesday 6th October 2021

"America has become a supernova, both imploding and exploding at the same time, leaving a fragmented shell of its former self. Unfortunately, it seems intent on dragging us all to hell with it."

A big thank you to Labour conference which just voted 70 to 30 percent against the AUKUS nuclear submarine lash-up: a welcome sign of life during the past few years ever since Trump unleashed his trade war on China and the western world piled on for Opium Wars 2.

* * *

I want to talk about how racism is more than an ugly word shouted at us, more than an assault on any individual. It goes wider than the gunshot massacre of Asian women in Atlanta. Racism is a poisonous force which could, on this trajectory, result in the mass murder of millions of human beings if the USA and its Western allies get the war for which they are busily manufacturing consent, throwing huge resources at it to get their way.

I doubt many of us could name more than a handful of Chinese people in British public life – in politics, the arts, science, and the media. One explosive breakthrough this year was the tennis star Emma Raducanu – and Piers Morgan is already poised to give her the Meghan Markel treatment.

According to the 2011 census in the United Kingdom there were over 433,000 Chinese people living here. So where are we?

When was the last time you saw a Chinese British face or heard their voice as the norm? We are almost entirely missing from the culture and society and that’s not an accident.

Anti-Chinese racism has been deeply embedded ever since the 19th Century Opium Wars when Britain grew industrial quantities of mass-produced opium in stolen Bengal and forced it at gunpoint onto the entire Chinese nation, turning what had been an expensive upper class vice into a nationwide addiction.

We’ve subsequently been made invisible as fully rounded human beings with mainly only the most debased Yellow Peril depictions allowed. Sax Rohmer’s evil mastermind Fu Manchu, submissive lotus blossoms and sexually perverted goons reside deep in our unconscious. As do house slaves, sidekicks and underlings serving the dominant white group.

This absence of representation creates a vacuum where we are an unknown, mysterious entity. It turns us into a blank canvas onto which anything can be projected, mostly from the west’s own history. Now that Western economies are in trouble, all those neuroses and fears, furies and anxieties, need somewhere to go. If Chinese were included, we’d be humanised, shown to possess an inner world, to have a capacity for love, and altruism, a willingness to care for our fellow human beings and to act responsibly for the welfare of the planet.

Instead, we’ve been kept out of the general consciousness and rendered invisible until we are transformed into a permanent reservoir of scapegoats. And that reservoir of scapegoats is what’s being tapped into now.

This geopolitical calamity has loomed for years, we’ve watched the US and its Western sidekicks ticking off nations they don’t like one by one: Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, attempts on Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba, Russia, and so many more until it was clear that at the end of this list stood China. The big, juicy prize for the new imperialism: China as the newly rich kid wearing a Rolex who’s wandered onto Mafia turf.

In order to get their war, the US has to find a casus belli to get, according to their think tanks, the ‘taxpayers’ on board for conflict; an excuse for hot, rather than merely ‘cold’, war on China, like the Weapons of Mass Destruction pretext for invading Iraq in 2003.

The US is also niftily transferring its own horrific crimes onto its target. It’s a marvel how everything it’s accused China of doing is straight out of its own history, from being built on genocided land and slavery to kids in concentration camps on the Mexican border to forced sterilisations of minorities by ICE, sexualised violence at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the millions of Muslims killed in its wars, Israel’s 14-year blockade of 2 million Palestinians in Gaza … and what we saw done to them this year. But because Chinese have been turned into a blank canvas, it’s easy to make the crudest Yellow Peril accusations stick.

The country that was destroyed in Britain’s savage Opium Wars, that’s endured invasion and massacre by some of the same nations currently circling like sharks a few miles off its coast, has risen to superpower status over the past few decades, all without war.

It’s raised over 800 MILLION people out of absolute poverty, created a middle-class almost twice the size of the entire population of the US, built beautiful cities and infrastructure, and achieved Zero Covid, barring occasional imported flare-ups.

China basically wants to make our stuff, stabilise the planet and combat climate change as part of a multipolar world alongside America.

But just as it draws level, the West decides to smash its kneecaps. For example, the Chair of the Better Cotton Initiative claims there’s forced labour in Xinjiang, despite state-of-the-art machinery bought from America’s own John Deere company, and fast-rising wages. The fact that this Chair is also President and CEO of the American cotton-marketing company Supima tells you everything about America’s ruthless economic war on its rival.

The declining superpower would rather take down its talented rival than work with it. Like a supernova, America is both imploding and exploding, and is in danger of leaving a fragmented shell of itself floating off into space, and taking us all with it.

Without racism it would be nigh-on impossible to lay these cartoon villain stereotypes onto Chinese people and make them stick. I’d hoped we were far too clever and sophisticated to fall for those Yellow Peril stereotypes as older generations did in the 20th century, but here’s CNN rolling out an alleged Chinese police defector in a fake uniform that doesn’t even get the spelling right.

The mainstream media (MSM) created a vacuum by excluding anything positive about China and filled the void with a constant screeching “China bad” until the narrative set like concrete. The danger of repeating the Big Lie is that, without balanced information, it eventually sticks.

America is the elderly 500 pound gorilla with its glory days behind it, thrashing about, cajoling, threatening and bribing the powers to get on side for Opium Wars 2.

What scares me most about America is what’s happened to the richest country on the planet as the post-war liberal order draws to a close. We see tent cities proliferating, growing poverty, collapsing infrastructure and – literally – power failures. The oligarchs who own the politicians grabbed all the wealth until the top 0.1 percent owns as much as the bottom 90 percent. And now the same forces who ate all the pies are diverting your anger onto China.

People have been given permission to be racist in a cynical diversion of fears onto one identifiable group but, like the Covid virus, racism knows no boundaries. Just like the UK's raw sewage released into our waters, these toxins get everywhere, providing us with a battery of metaphors for what lies beneath.

So when you get upset over a picture of the latest victim of sinophobic racism, remember that this is the end result of a deliberately orchestrated process of dehumanisation. It required a lot of effort and resources to get the West to see Chinese as their punchbag. It required our exclusion from political and cultural life.

Even in social media — how many of you follow or engage with us on Twitter?

To express upset at racist violence while ignoring the conditions that got us here — and consigning us to a ghetto — is to collaborate in that process.

Ultimately, if you don’t care about the Chinese diaspora or see us as fellow Brits, if you don’t care about 1.4 billion human beings in China under attack from the ailing superpower, at least spare a thought about what this march to war means for British people. We’ve been clobbered by austerity and pauperised by a no-deal Brexit. If you think it’s mere incompetence that’s led to one of the highest Covid death rates in the world, think how even before Biden became president, Boris Johnson followed Trump at every step since Pompeo made him a post-Brexit offer he couldn’t refuse.

The United States made China an offer it did refuse. It planted a horse’s head in China’s bed but, unlike the UK and others, China is rejecting the gift. And so should Britain.

* * * * *

First signs of the UK's anti-Chinese pogrom came in the 2001 tryout when a Blair government branch of MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) accused UK Chinese of starting the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak. This came shortly after the launching of the Project for America in the 21st Century and George Dubbya Bush's declaration in 2000 that China was a competitor. The accusation was so absurd that the MAFF Minister vindicated the Chinese community and the late Hugo Young told the Guardian editors never to do this again.

Some think the war on China began with former President Obama's 2011 Pivot to Asia, moving much of their military out of the wreckage of the Middle East and into China's back yard where US forces practised blockading the Malacca Strait. Former President Trump launched the first salvo in 2018 with his vicious trade war on China.

Monday, 4 October 2021

We Can't Make It Here Anymore by James McMurtry: the state of America

James McMurtry performs We Can't Make It Here Anymore

James McMurtry recorded this video in 2007 and the message is becoming increasingly apt for our modern times as the superpower implodes and America rips itself apart.

This is the state of the richest country on Earth after the oligarchy bled it dry. What they did to their own people should serve as a warning.

We're seeing the same happen in the UK.

The oligarchs ate your wealth and now they want to do the same to China, our global lifeboat.

No wonder they're spending billions on dirty tricks and propaganda.

Hat tip to Patrick Eden for the link.

In 1945-1981, earnings for the bottom 90 per cent of Americans rose 77 per cent. In 1981 - 2014, they shrank by 3 per cent. For the top 1 per cent, in 1945-1981, earnings rose 29 per cent, while from 1981-2014, their wealth rose 176 per cent. This is where America's schools, healthcare, roads, bridges and rail infrastructure have gone.
THE WEALTHIEST 26 PEOPLE ON THE PLANET OWN AS MUCH AS THE BOTTOM HALF OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION — AUSTERITY IS THE TRANSFER OF WEALTH FROM THE POOR TO THE RICH.
The top 0.1 per cent in America now own the same amount of wealth as the bottom 90 per cent. The top 0.01 per cent own 11.2 per cent of America's wealth.

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Open letter of complaint to Channel 4 Dispatches "Covid Leak": politicising Covid-19 for partisan US agenda

Politicising Covid-19: open letter of complaint to Channel 4 Dispatches "Covid Leak"


C4 DISPATCHES COVID LEAK — Sunday 22nd August 2021
“Did Covid Leak from a Lab in China?
“An in-depth look at the origins of Covid-19. Did it really start in a food market in Wuhan, China? Or was the global pandemic caused by a lab accident in the same city?”

So was it China? Or was it China?

I am shocked to see Channel 4 squander its reputation as a serious investigative news channel by regurgitating overwrought right-wing claims about lab-leak theories, which have been regularly debunked by virologists who you failed to interview for the programme.

You are surely aware that there’s a growing maelstrom of sinophobia. East Asians, not just Chinese, fear for their safety in western countries, including here in the UK. Your ill-informed, one-sided hatchet job is helping whip this up into an anti-Chinese pogrom where Asians are attacked, maimed and, in the US, killed. As a Brit of Chinese origin, I no longer feel safe going out alone, and you have made this situation worse for us.

Timed for the release of Biden's Covid Origins report, Channel 4 Dispatches cheerleads the USA’s Cold War, reinforces the side with its fleet in China's back yard, threatening war on the upcoming rival just as China’s economy is about to draw level with America’s.

And you politicise the pandemic that's sickening and killing us. Instead, you could be encouraging us to work together with the country that first identified SARS-CoV-2, shared the genome sequence with the world within days, and eradicated Covid by day 43 of its 76-day lockdown and reopened.

China has since supplied millions of vaccine doses to the poorest nations while the rich west — 14 per cent of the world’s population — hoard 60 per cent of vaccinations. China expects to provide 2 billion doses for the world and donate $100 million to COVAX this year. They even sent a pandemic team along with medical supplies to London in March 2020 to help us combat Covid-19, but they were ignored by the UK government and most of the media, leaving us to the mercies of an incompetent and deceitful government.

6.7 million Brits have now caught Covid-19 and 132,000 are dead. But, yeah, let’s blame China.

The Dispatches programme cuts out all this context, aligning itself with the US’s “America first” framing attempt, and providing cover for the long-expected ‘Thucydides Trap’ clash as China rises.

Covid-19 hysteria was birthed by Trump’s vicious trade war on China, beginning 2017, in which China would not buckle.

Another elephant in the room you ignore is former President Trump’s Covid-19 super-spreader policy.

* Trump was briefed in detail about the expected pandemic by the outgoing Obama administration in 2017, and should have known of the major Johns Hopkins/Bill Gates Event 201 table-top pandemic exercise taking place in his native New York on 18th October 2019 (same day as the opening of the Wuhan Military Games!).

* Despite knowing this, Trump shut down with undignified haste the White House pandemic team and the CDC’s Beijing office, which was supposed to help monitor new diseases in China, by July 2019.

* Trump’s own National Security officers briefed him in detail about the deadly pandemic on 28th January 2020 and yet he played down the virus, denied its existence, called it a hoax, stigmatised masks, held massive unmasked rallies, and pirated PPE from other countries and his own blue states.

* In March 2020, Trump’s inevitable U-turn was accompanied by a State Department cable instructing US officials to blame China for Covid-19 — see The Daily Beast, Independent and Politico reports.

Was Channel 4 influenced by these White House instructions? Did the UK government press the programme makers to conform? Because it sure looks like it.
““NSC Top Lines: [People’s Republic of China] Propaganda and Disinformation on the Wuhan Virus Pandemic.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/white-house-pushes-us-officials-to-criticize-china-for-coronavirus-cover-up

Half a million American deaths later, having initially dismissed these absurd claims from the same party that was recommending hydroxychloraquine and bleach to medicate against Covid-19, President Joe Biden opportunistically grasped at straws in May 2021 when the proprietor of the Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch (also owner of Fox News), revived the lab-leak conspiracy theory in May 2021 and published an article co-written by Michael Gordon. (Partnered with Judith Miller, Gordon was one of two “experts” notorious for concocting a Weapons of Mass Destruction casus belli for invading Iraq in 2005.)

And here he was again, manufacturing consent for war. His WSJ article, based on “an undisclosed US intelligence report,” claims that “Three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care.”

Apart from the fact that in China you go to hospital as we would visit the doctor for relatively minor ailments, the source refuses to name the staff and allow Chinese authorities to investigate. And if this happened in November 2019, this does not explain how 106 antigen-positive US Red Cross blood samples could be found from December 2019 – January 2020, indicating an initial infection event in America around August 2019, unless the cartoon Yellow Peril villains being painted here had a time machine. This would surely be a better investigation for an outlet that purports to “foster the new and experimental in television”.

(Incidentally, Murdoch is one of the Big Tech and Media moguls embittered and vengeful due to their exclusion from China’s huge growing market for refusing to abide by local laws.)

Three days after the publication of the WSJ article, Biden, who had sworn China would not overtake the US — “not on my watch” — called for a Covid Origins Report from his intelligence services in 90 days. And here you are, Channel 4, warming up British audiences for the report’s release with a relentless Case for the Prosecution and no balance, just like the rest of the mainstream media.

Where is your promise to be “a commercial broadcaster, with a funding structure and public service remit to provide diverse and innovative programming and services. We are there to offer a benchmark of quality and innovation, providing competition to commercial and public sector broadcasters alike.”

Quality? Innovation?

It is pure advocacy, pushing a pre-set conclusion. It was China … or it was China. Among a rogues’ gallery of clearly prejudiced interviewees more interested in convicting the accused than working on ending the pandemic, you filmed discredited science writer Nicholas Wade.

140 scientists decried Wade’s book on race, many complaining about being misrepresented by him. Their letter criticized “Wade’s misappropriation of research from our field to support arguments about differences among human societies … there is no support from the field of population genetics for Wade’s conjectures.”

Yet you present him to your viewers as a credible figure.
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/08/geneticists-decry-book-race-and-evolution

"Racism is alive and kicking (sometimes literally), and this book provides succour for racists by using speculation to support the idea that differences between population groups are in their genes."
https://investigativegenetics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2041-2223-5-14

With no expertise in virology, Wade twists a piece in the journal Nature Medicine written by several highly respected virologists and microbiologists who you SHOULD have interviewed, including Edward Holmes, Kristian Andersen, Robert Garry and Ian Lipkin (who was in China with the WHO at the end of January 2020).

Wade misquotes and neglects to inform you that they point out that five of the six amino acids in the SARS-Cov-2 Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) are ABSENT from the other SARS CoV viruses, a tell-tale sign of messy evolutionary trial and error and not neat human calculation. They wrote, “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a puposefully manipulated virus”.

Why did you not interview any of the scientists attacked by Wade, or the much respected Dr Angie Rassmussen, who has written on the subject? If you asked them to participate, how much time did you give them?

And why was there only one Asian speaker?

Another interviewee, Jamie Metzl, a “Geopolitical Advisor” on the Washington-based Atlantic Council and “global investor”, accuses China of suppressing information, which is a huge invented distraction from the US silencing Seattle doctors who discovered earlier outbreaks in the US. Or police drawing guns on the Florida Covid-19 data scientist Rebekah Jones when she was at home with her family, having fired her for “unauthorised public comments” about the data in May”. (See more cases with links below.)

Incidentally, there’s a lot of money to be made shorting a country (see Soros fortune made shorting Great Britain’s sterling).

The programme’s accusation that “in late January 2020, the position of the Chinese government and the WHO was still that Covid-19 could not transmit directly between humans” is easily checkable. The WHO announced at their 14th January 2020 press conference, “it is certainly possible that there is limited human-to-human transmission”. The WHO then tweeted, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” (italics mine) — NOT that it could not happen.

The next day, Wuhan’s health commission said that “although significant evidence confirming human-to-human transmission has yet to be found, the possibility of limited human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out”. Days later, they found their proof when medics became infected and Dr Zhong Nanshan of China’s National Health Commission confirmed human-to-human transmission on 20th January. Three days after that announcement, Wuhan began its unprecedented lockdown.

Why aren’t you investigating the real story? Instead you repeat warmongering hate speech propaganda issued on a bloated Pentagon budget of around $753 BILLION at the last count. I couldn’t get a cigarette paper between what you peddled and the right-wing, US-led consensus.

According to your own code, Channel 4 should “foster the new and experimental in television. It will encourage pluralism, provide a favoured place for the untried and encourage innovation in style content perspective and talent on and off screen”.

No pluralism, nothing new and experimental, no taking risks, no investigation. All thesis and lack of antithesis means no synthesis, just one-dimensional propaganda.

“We will reflect the diversity of Britain; culturally and geographically. We will reflect the energy of our multicultural society, by representing the voices of a new generation of programme makers from the ethnic minorities. We will reflect the complexity of Britain back to itself, in the range of programmes and production companies commissioned from cities across the whole of the UK.”

Really? You threw us to the wolves, and got no input off us apart from a single Asian who follows the US line.

A year and a half after they eradicated Covid-19, China becomes the first country to end a Delta variant outbreak. That could have been us. But a mainstream media news blackout – including by Channel 4 – diverted from China’s Covid-eradication roadmap drawn from the pain and trauma of being hit by a virus which was frightening and unknown until they identified, sequenced and shared the genome in record time: by January 11, 2020. 

The media denied Britons the right to be fully informed, making us reinvent the wheel while you drip poison on behalf of the global hegemon trying to smash the kneecaps of its talented rival.

The five biggest arms manufacturers made $2 TRILLION from two decades in Afghanistan. Imagine how much more they’ll make from war with the rising superpower. And you are helping them construct a casus belli.

The entire premise of blame serves what purpose? Apart from gays cruelly and unfairly targeted for HIV in the 1980s, this has never happened in any other disease outbreak because there was no political use for it, whether it be Spanish Flu, H1N1 Swine Flu, SARS, MERS or Ebola. State-sanctioned blame has now become a plaything of cowboys, adventurers, bad actors and military think-tanks trying to start a war with a nuclear power.

Every crime and misdemeanor claimed to have been done by China in the programme has already happened in the West, but much worse by an order of magnitude. China fumbled at the start because this was a NOVEL CORONAVIRUS, brand new and unknown, as well as unhelped by the now closed US CDC agency in Beijing which had been set up originally to deal with such emergencies. However, by the 23rd January lockdown the whole world knew about it and had the genome sequence due to China’s rapid action.

If the countries now harassing China had provided an example of how Covid management should be done when the warning was sounded, then criticism might have been valid. But with 132,000 deaths and rising a year and a half later, these are absurd accusations coming from the UK who got it so very wrong and is now deflecting on to the country that showed us how to eradicate the virus at such an EARLY STAGE, now wasted.

On release, Biden’s Origins Committee report drew a blank. It says Covid-19 was not a bioweapon and was unknown to the Chinese prior to the outbreak. Two of the three agencies charged with fitting up China found no evidence while the third remains clutching at straws. In the meantime, we die of Covid-19 due to the criminal negligence of governments.

Don’t you feel mugged off?

Science journalist Peter Hadfield says a definitive answer to where the virus originated will only come from solid evidence on the issue, not “bullcrap, speculation, misquotes, changed documents, fake dossiers, exaggerations, fabrications, misrepresentations and magical facts dreamed up in published papers that don’t exist. It won’t come from circumstantial evidence, suspicions, guesswork or possibilities either.” He adds, “anything is possible but possible don’t make it true.”

Perhaps you should get him to fact-check your output in future.

As a bare minimum, you should apologise for placing Asians in the cross-hairs of a geopolitical conflict. This is such a reckless endangerment of Asians in Britain that I expect a meaningful response in two weeks or I am escalating this to Ofcom.

— Anna Chen —

* * * *

EDIT 27th September 2021: SCOOP! The day after the AUKUS Trilateral Agreement between the USA, UK and Australia on nuclear subs is announced, ripping up a $90 billion contract between Australia and France, on 17th September 2021, France's Pasteur Institute uploads a preprint paper on their discovery in Laos of bats with a coronavirus even closer to SARS-Cov-2 than the 70 year old RaTG13 virus found in Yunnan caves. "Almost exactly" the same, this could be the missing lineage and reinforces the natural origins of the virus, sweeping away one major excuse for war on the upcoming superpower.

‘It’s Just Everywhere Already’: How Delays in Testing Set Back the U.S. Coronavirus Response
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/10/us/coronavirus-testing-delays.html

Trump threatened to fire CDC's chief of respiratory diseases in February: report
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/494187-trump-threatened-to-fire-cdcs-chief-of-respiratory-diseases-in

Tennessee fired its top immunization official Monday, the official said, in retaliation for her attempts to let teenagers choose whether to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/07/12/tennessee-fires-vaccination-official/

“Fired COVID-19 data scientist Rebekah Jones posts video of Florida agents raiding her home: "They pointed guns at my kids" 
“… fired for unauthorized public comments about the data in May…” 
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rebekah-jones-florida-covid-19-fired-data-scientist-agents-raid-home-video/

The Lancet on China's Covid-19 management strategy: Active case finding with case management: the key to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic

Buzz Feed: Trump's State Department Officials Fought Over Whether The Coronavirus Was A Chinese Bioweapon  "The department’s former senior official on nonproliferation says he intervened to prevent the US government from 'embarrassing and discrediting' itself with claims that lacked strong scientific evidence." In public view, Mike "we lied, we cheated, we stole" Pompeo's State Department battle to frame-up China for the pandemic after Trump's trade war failed to break the rising superpower.

Michael Hiltzik in the LA Times: New evidence undermines the COVID lab-leak theory — but the press keeps pushing it

"Let's Blame China": an infantile disorder when Covid-19 comes knocking.
How the White House turned "China bought us time" into "China lied, people died" and put the world at risk

Note: There's a 4 per cent genetic difference between RaTG13 (bat virus) and SARS-CoV-2, but only 1 per cent between humans and chimpanzees. RaTG13 and SARS-C0v-2 share a common ancestor from around 70 years ago but one did not evolve from the other – one illustration is that while we share a common ancestor with lemurs we are not descended from them. The Biden Origins report confirms that the lineage of SARS-CoV-2 is completely new and was unknown to Chinese scientists before they identified, sequenced and shared the genome in January 2020.

 

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Opium Wars 2 and the propaganda war on China: No Cold War launch

No Cold War Online launch, 16th June 2021



Text of Anna Chen's speech

Tonight, I'm going to discuss the current build-up in hostility towards China in the context of the Opium Wars of the 19th century and the propaganda war leading us there once again.

At the start of the first Opium War in 1839, China was the most technologically advanced country in the world. It had already invented hydraulics, gunpowder in the 9th century, ships’ rudders, the stirrup, paper, moveable type printing and much more.

But it was their beautiful porcelain and silks, tea, lacquer (the first plastic) and furniture that drove the enthusiasm for chinoiserie in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Because Britain had little to trade with China that they didn’t already have – rough woollens and clockwork toys being top of the list on offer — Britain’s treasury was being drained to satisfy the public’s appetite for all things Chinese.

Britain’s solution to the trade imbalance was to grow cheap, mass-produced opium in stolen Bengal and sell that to China. Up until then, opium had been an expensive habit only used by the wealthiest Chinese.

War being economics by other means, when the Chinese government objected to their country being flooded with narcotics, Britain forced these massive industrial quantities of opium onto them at gunpoint, turning an expensive aristocratic vice into a nationwide addiction.

Chinese were slaughtered, their land pillaged. Lord Elgin ordered the Summer Palace burnt to the ground by British soldiers, joined in by the French, as punishment for not being submissive enough. Notoriously unfair treaties were used to carve up China, which was divided between Western imperial powers, with Britain grabbing Hong Kong until the colony was finally returned in 1997.

Around the same period, the invention of the glass Wardian case enabled Robert Fortune to steal China’s tea plants and transport them to India where the British set up a rival tea industry in possibly the first case of industrial espionage — intellectual property rights meaning very little to the invaders.

Fast forward to the modern era — a couple of revolutions, two world wars, a vicious Korean war and a rapprochement with the United States — later.

Today, China is the factory of the world, specialising in making our stuff. iPhones, electronic kit, solar panels, cotton, everything from foodstuffs to 5G are the new porcelain, silks and tea of the 21st century.

It’s taken nearly fifty years into its modern era for China to drag itself out of the hellscape inflicted by the Western powers. It’s raised 850 million human beings out of absolute poverty, and created a growing middle-class 550 million strong, almost twice the size of the population of the US. And it’s established the Belt and Road Initiative that promises to do for poorer economies what China has done for its own.

China’s investing in Africa and building their infrastructure at much lower interest rates than the World Bank charges, so we no longer need Bono to front Drop the Debt campaigns.

As well as eradicating poverty while we implode, China is the world’s biggest investor in renewable energy, vital in the fight against climate change.

But some people in the West simply can’t bear the idea of Chinese excelling or being given credit for anything.

Just as the Chinese economy draws level with the US at this classic Thucydides Trap point, the declining superpower goes on the attack in a poisonous one-sided Case for the Prosecution with no judicially verifiable evidence or right of reply, involving a wall of hate and daily monstering of America’s upcoming rival.

America could have continued working together with China in a multi-polar world but instead throws huge resources at waging Opium Wars 2, dragging in some of the worst perpetrators who gained from the 19th century imperialist atrocity. Billions are spent on character-assassinating propaganda, economic war and actual weaponry to ensure the Chinese model doesn’t give the public any big ideas that there might be a better system that’s working for its own people.

The absurdity that caps all of this for me is that Brexiteers, from Boris Johnson to Nigel Farage, used the promise of yummy trade deals with China to persuade Brits to vote to leave the EU. And the minute Brexit’s sewn up, we send a warfleet to China’s back yard.

Taking back control has meant handing control to a waning America that’s tearing itself apart, and doing their bidding even when it hurts us – such as ripping out billions of pounds-worth of 5G infrastructure we badly need and spending our remaining treasure on whipping up a war with a nuclear power.

And now we prostrate ourselves as America’s Airstrip One. In the West’s rewrite of history, we have always been at war with Eastasia.

We’re halfway through 2021. This conflict has been building for years. John Pilger even made a film in 2016 warning about The Coming War on China. Trump fired the first salvo in his trade war shakedown in 2018. And we’re sending warships.

So, instead of maintaining its own steady course, Britain nails itself to the USS Titanic, and tries to sink our global lifeboat in what could end up as a horrific world-wide war. China is both a scapegoat and a cynical diversion from Brexit chaos, an enfeebled economy, and catastrophic Covid mishandling.

With another Opium War brewing, let’s hope it’s first time as tragedy, second time as farce. The sensible option would be not to go there at all.

— ends —

FURTHER READING AND VIEWING:

The Roots of the Clash between the United States and China: Anna Chen speaks at the Virtual Vigil for the Victims of the Atlanta Shootings organised by the Goldsmiths Anti-Imperialist Society — Sunday 2nd May 2021

How Racism has its Roots in Politics: Anna Chen speaks at Standing up to Sinophobia: From Fu Manchu to Bat Soup Online event hosted by The Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU) 6th April 2021

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters from the West's Own Id: Anna Chen speaks at the the No Cold War online event, 13th January 2021

'Let's Blame China": an infantile disorder when Covid-19 comes knocking: How the White House turned "China bought us time" into "China lied, people died" and put the world at risk - 23rd June 2020

Plague, protests and how the hybrid war on China is prolonging Covid-19 pain in the West - 14th June 2020
Covid-19 and the UK's missing PPE - NHS health-workers you need this!

China: scapegoat and diversion from what ails western capitalism - 5th October 2019

Donald Trump's hostile takeover of the Chinese economy continues: Eternity in a grain of sand, heaven in a wild flower ... and revelation of character in a golf ball.
"People who cheat at golf also cheat at life." - 11th May 2019

Happy New Year: Will Donald Trump's tiny hand press the Big Red Button in 2019? - Anna Chen's warning that war between the US and China is a possibility, 24th December 2018

What's Donald Trump's trade war with China REALLY about? History repeats itself: Trump's fantasy trade-deficit is an excuse for carving up China - 13th November 2018

The 2001 Foot and Mouth disease outbreak scapegoating Chinese Brits: Early signs of establishment sinophobia in the UK in 2001

The Opening to China Part I: the First Opium War, the United States, and the Treaty of Wangxia, 1839–1844 The 1844 Treaty of Wangxia replicated many of the key terms of the Treaty of Nanjing. Most importantly, it established five treaty ports as open for Chinese-Western trade (Guangzhou, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Ningbo, and Shanghai). These treaty ports became key crossroads for Western and Chinese culture, as they were the first locations where foreigners and foreign trading operations could own land in China.

The Opening to China Part II: the Second Opium War, the United States, and the Treaty of Tianjin, 1857–1859

Chatham House report: Debunking the Myth of ‘Debt-trap Diplomacy’: How Recipient Countries Shape China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@NoColdWar and https://twitter.com/@NCWBritain

Monday, 3 May 2021

The Roots of the Clash between the United States and China: Virtual Vigil for the Victims of the Atlanta Shootings

VIRTUAL VIGIL FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE ATLANTA SHOOTINGS
Organised by the Goldsmiths Anti-Imperialist Society — Sunday 2nd May 2021

Text of Anna Chen’s talk 

The Roots of the Clash between the United States of America and China

After a year of increasing anti-Asian violence encouraged by unscrupulous politicians and media, we took another lurch to the dark side when eight people were killed in the Atlanta shootings (16th March 2021), six of them Asian women. Elsewhere, Asian people are being regularly maimed and murdered.

Why have we been beset by this wave of sinophobic hatred when only four years ago, Christine Lagarde (International Monetary Fund) was remarking on the even pace of economic growth in the world? We had relative stability — if you weren’t a Palestinian, a Venezuelan or Iranian under US sanctions or a Black person in Ferguson — and as a species, for one glorious historical moment, we seemed to be headed towards the light.

But just as China’s economy was drawing level with the American superpower, we got the Thucydides Trap – classically the conflict that occurs when an established power feels threatened by a rising one — and now, more than 2,000 years after the original Sparta-Athens knock-down, we find ourselves being dragged into a war with a nuclear power which is also our global growth engine, the factory of the world and our lifeboat.

The road to war is paved with malign intent and the whipping up of China-hate to get the tax-paying American public on track for conflict is about as monstrous as you can get.

China is only 40 years into its modern era, having endured over a century of misery ever since Britain forced mass-produced opium onto the entire country at gunpoint in the 19th century Opium Wars, turning what had been an aristocratic vice into a nationwide addiction.

So why can’t the West take pleasure in China finally getting off its knees and raising an astonishing 850 million people out of absolute poverty? It is providing stability, healthcare, housing, education, food, an amazing high speed train system and beautiful cities. Why can’t we have a multi-polar world instead of one winner taking all?

One key difference between the American and Chinese systems is that US oligarchs control their government. Whoever you vote for, the government always gets in. Its politicians are backed by private money, and its corporations are too big to fail.

In China there is uneven distribution of wealth, but not on the scale of the declining superpower. This unevenness is something China appears to be tackling as it develops — as evidenced by the recent containment of Jack Ma’s Alibaba and Ant Financial empire.

Jack Ma was something of a philanthropist hero who’d promised his workers a share of the vast wealth generated by the Alibaba behemoth in the form of a shorter working week. He also produced a major online resource in the fight against Covid, and he offered to create a million new jobs for Donald Trump in America – which was was rejected.

But then he reverted to billionaire type, demanding that, despite his vast wealth, his workers should labour 996 hours — that is nine til nine, six days a week. He encouraged an excess of debt and then set about launching Ant Financial to service that debt with too small a cash reserve to stop it being too big to fail if anything went wrong. At the eleventh hour, the Chinese government audaciously clipped his wings, insisting Ant Financial should have a larger stash of cash, and are investigating possible monopoly transgressions.

The West was outraged. You can still hear them screeching that a government should have the temerity to reign in a company that could bring down the whole system in the same way that America’s deregulated mortgage industry almost collapsed the global economy in its 2008 crash … until China stepped in as the world’s shock absorber and lifted us out of danger.

China’s system is a new model that is not welcomed by certain parties in the West’s old declining capitalism.

America’s wealth is mostly stacked up in the hands of the top 0.1 per cent who own as much as the bottom 90 per cent. But it wasn’t always this way. Prior to Ronald Reagan’s presidency in 1981, post-World War 2 earnings for the majority went up by a hefty 77 per cent. Then, from 1981 earnings shrank by 3% under the Reagan regime. At the same time as America’s middle-class was expanding in its post-war glory years, earnings for the top 1% rose 29%, but from 1981 they soared by a colossal 176 per cent. It was the beginning of a huge transfer of wealth from the middle and working-classes to the super-rich that continues to this day.

This is where America’s healthcare, schools, jobs, roads, bridges and infrastructure went – into the pockets of the super-rich in the form of tax cuts. With little investment in its own people, poverty soars, the middle-class is hollowed out. And tent cities proliferate.

Having devoured the country down to the bone, like a shark that needs to keep moving or it dies, the billionaire class needs to look elsewhere for its dinner.

To jump metaphors, here’s China, the new rich kid on the block who’s just walked in wearing a Rolex and who’s about to get rolled.

China’s futuristic cities, transport and tech, its healthcare for all, its stability and safety present a juicy prize for stretched oligarchs hungry for new loot.

Not only that, but especially with the eradication of the coronavirus by day 43 of its 76-day lockdown — while Trump’s Covid super-spreader policy led to over a half a million dead — China is a model that America’s oligarchs do not want giving the public any big ideas.
“Hey. They look like they’re getting things right.” … is not what they want to hear.

So containment of the upcoming rival plus the promise of plunder have been too tempting to resist. The wall of hate propaganda is a form of self-hate as their lurid claims are all what’s happening at home in America, as we can see every day.

In the UK, we’ve gone through a similar immiseration of the working and middle-classes. Having inflicted austerity onto us, the same people who persuaded the country to leave the EU on the promise of fabulous trade deals with China are now trying to start a war with it. Having nailed us to the USS Titanic they are now trying to sink our lifeboat.

In true Tonya Harding Syndrome fashion, they’re out to smash the kneecaps of the upcoming rival. Biden said that China will not overtake America on his watch and pledged three hundred million dollars a year just to fight China’s Belt and Road initiative, on top of all the rest of the psyops and dirty tricks.

The American ruling class would rather be the last one standing in the rubble than hand over the baton in the human race to fulfill its potential. The Asian women who were killed in Atlanta, the elderly who have been maimed and died, have already paid the price for this folly. We need to wake up and ensure they are the last and not the first.

US financial press admit that in the American system, business interests trump those of the public. One system works for the billionaire oligarchy, the other works for society.

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