Sunday, 10 October 2010

China: Global Anti-China Campaign

Posted on October 10th, 2010

The well-thought out comments of Tor Guimaraes and Alain de Benoist (both from 9 October) regarding the Nobel Peace Prize, address the various WAIS critiques of the Nobel Peace Prize, because the essence of the issue here is not the recipient, who I too believe is indeed worthy as a heroic dissident, but rather the politics behind the Prize. In fact, the Nobel Foundation has just made Liu a “tradable commodity,” so it is very unlikely he will serve even a fraction of the 11-year prison term. However, the issue is much larger than one person no matter how worthy; and on the larger issue, a few comments on the campaign of West against China. Global criticism of China extends beyond its one-party Communist state that does not respect human rights, maintains control of media and curtails individual freedoms; beyond the Nobel Foundation opting to send a political message by awarding the Peace Prize to dissident Professor Liu; beyond Chinese treatment of Tibetan Buddhists, other minorities, and Internet policies intended to curtail dissident activity; beyond the undervalued currency and dumping trade practices; beyond the increasingly larger role of China in the underdeveloped areas, especially Africa that Europeans consider their “backyard,” but now accusing China of neo-colonial practices–imagine the Europeans with their legacy as slave traders and colonialists for centuries now accusing China of neocolonialism! Centered in the US, with Western Europe and Japan following faithfully because they too are in similar economic fate as the US, the global anti-China campaign is centered on the realization that West, which declined after WWI and revived after WWII, is on a relative decline again and this time for the duration. Having enjoyed global economic hegemony since the Commercial Revolution, the West is entering the 21st century in decline relative to the rise of China, India, Russia and Brazil. Of the BRIC nations, China is the real powerhouse not only economically, destined to become the world’s leading economy later this century, but militarily as well. The current global recession that furthered weakened the West, especially the core economies (G-7), helped to strengthen China and that is the major reason the US, Japan, and EU want to slow down China’s phenomenal growth. Premier Wen has reminded the G-7 that have been pressuring China to adjust its “cheap” currency and trade (dumping) practices, that the current recession would have been much worse if it were not for China providing the stimulus for growth on a world scale. Indeed, if China had adopted growth-by-debt policies like the G-7 and if it had adopted the position of European governments and their banks when the Great Depression erupted, the world recession could have unfolded into another Great Depression. On the other hand, China could have done more to lessen the burden on the G-7. On 9 October 2010 at an IMF meeting of finance ministers, only the US was vociferously demanding that there be a resolution to deal with the undervalued yuan (Chinese currency) while the rest decided the decision must be postponed until the G-20 meeting in November in Seoul. That EU and US economies are not growing rapidly, has meant capital outflow to China and to a lesser extent South Korea, India, Mexico, Brazil and a few other non-G-7 countries. How to slow down China is the question, and the answer rests with forcing China to convert its economy from an over-producer to and over-consumer like the G-7, to force compliance with environmental standards that not even the US observes, to force it to share developing area markets in areas once the exclusive domain of the G-7, to force it to import more products–everything from essentials to luxuries. While the US has criticized China for its police and interrogation practices of dissidents, in a typical case of American Exceptionalism the US has afforded itself the right to expand the CIA “Shadow War” that resulted in the assassination of more than 400 presumably Islamic militants in 2010; all under very questionable compliance of international law. And while political assassinations are nothing new, neither are government practices of using US and non-US citizens for medical experiments that resulted in horrific illnesses and deaths (Tuskegee & Guatemala). The global anti-China campaign is also used to keep wages low. “A rising media chorus in both Mexico and the US has argued that Mexico is losing a low-wage competition with China.” Plants have closed and moved as a result, the argument goes. “With the advances of the giant Asian power,” says Rolando Gonzalez Barron, national president of the Maquila Export Industry Association, all these companies are trying to compete with China with cheap labor.” He advises factory owners to move to southern Mexico, where wages are much lower. “The border has no possibility of competing with China.”
Is it not ironic that California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is accusing Senate Democrat Barbara Boxer of being “soft on China,” when the fact is that Fiorina exported jobs to China in order to raise corporate profits? The EU also uses China to keep wages low and to cry out that businesses need subsidies–to maintain welfare capitalism. Of course trade unions from the AFL-CIO to more progressive European trade unions have been fallen into the trap of joining the global anti-China campaign along with journalists and academics, instead of focusing on how that campaign is used to strengthen finance capital. Politicians too are exploiting the popular anti-China sentiment. Just a few weeks before US mid-term elections, the NY Times is reporting that 19 Democrat and 10 Republican candidates are running anti-China ads, knowing that at least 40% of the American people according to a recent poll believe China is the world’s leading economic power. The systematic manipulation of public opinion in the West to distract public opinion from focusing on what has gone wrong with the market economy and how to best fix it for the benefit of all people will continue and intensify because the G-7 are in decline and their political elites need to squeeze everything they can out of the middle class and workers to strengthen finance capital. However, such efforts will not weaken China, which next year will surpass the US and Japan in new patent applications, indicative that its production and export-oriented strategy is likely to continue and not replaced by a consumerist orientation that the G-7 demand of China. The global anti-China campaign serves many agendas some that do in fact have to do with China’s unfair trade and monetary policies, most designed as pretext to the current weakness, which could become a permanent decline, of the West.

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