China-bashing seen harming US interests

Experts warn against Washington's negative rhetoric toward Beijing

US government policies aimed at countering China's growth and advancement face challenges, and the current negative rhetoric toward China will only harm the US' own interests, experts say.

"China is not a monolith. …There's a danger in demonizing everything Chinese," said Tami Overby, a senior adviser at the Albright Stonebridge Group, at a recent webinar hosted by the US-Asia Institute examining the impact of US policies on China.

The US government is leveraging industrial policy and other policies, including export controls, sanctions, tariffs, inbound investment restrictions and the likelihood of outbound investment and capital flow restrictions to counter China's advancement.

"Let's remember, the Chinese are buying. They're our largest agriculture buyer. We export tons of farm products, and a lot of them go to China," said Overby.

She is worried that the Republican and Democratic parties will compete with each other over who can bash China more as the nation is heading into the 2024 presidential election cycle. "Let's not lose our minds, and not act against our own national interests," she warned.

Qin Gang, in his first annual news conference as Chinese foreign minister at this year's two sessions, said on Tuesday that the US perception of China is seriously distorted, and the US claims of competition with China are meant to contain and suppress China in all respects.

He accused the US of ignoring international rules despite its repeated talk of rules and said the so-called guardrails the Joe Biden administration advocates mean China does not defend its own interests. "That is just impossible," he said.

Gao Zhikai, vice-president of the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing-based nongovernmental think tank, said that the US is "using competition as an excuse for maximum pressure against China", in an attempt to delay, disrupt and derail China's peaceful development.

He pointed out that Washington is suffering from "the toxic mixing up of two self-imposed nightmares": one is the "hysteria "about China's economy surpassing the US and once that happens, China will push the US out of the center of the world stage and impose its values on the US.

'Road map for conflict'

However, Gao said the reality is that "no force in the world can stop China's steady peaceful rise" and "either in the past, present, or in the future" China has never, and will never, impose anything on any other country.

As per the US' so-called "Indo-Pacific" strategy, Gao said it's a proposition designed to disrupt and destabilize the region with "a road map for conflict, confrontation and rivalry which may lead to Cold War and even hot war in the world".

Echoing Gao, Xu Liping, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' National Institute of International Strategy, said what the US government has done in countering China, in essence, is a demonstration of its hegemony.

"The US has been continuously countering and decoupling from China, trying to exert more pressure on the country. This encirclement, in fact, is a continuation of the US' hegemonic thinking, which has actually caused serious damage to the Sino-US relationship," Xu said.

A recent move on the US' so-called economic decoupling with China is a hearing held by the new US congressional select committee on the competition with China.

Anna Ashton, director of China Corporate Affairs and US-China at Eurasia Group, said what struck her the most was the criticism of US governors for courting Chinese investment or helping businesses in their states to do business in China.

The fears around Chinese investments are "overblown" when it comes to the United States' ability to protect national security interests, Ashton said.

"Foreign direct investment tends to be a much more efficient way of creating a concentration of new jobs. The criticism of state-level development agencies for their past efforts to court investment from China among many other places was unfair," she said.

Experts have long called for peaceful and constructive relations between the two biggest economies as the world is faced with more challenges in the post-COVID era.

"China's economic transformation since 1978 has created abundant opportunities for American businesses of all kinds and generated huge benefits for consumers throughout the US for four decades. Rather than poisoning the Sino-US ties, the US decision-makers will better serve the fundamental interests of the American people with realism and pragmatism," said Gao from the Beijing think tank.

"The Chinese people and the American people can live in peace and friendship and have constructive and mutual beneficial relations with each other."

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