Anti-China Conspiracy Theories Hold No Traction

The following article was sent to me by its author, Eric Fish. It was written as a response to this article in the Global Times, but the Global Times declined to publish it, so we’re publishing it here.

Anti-China Conspiracy Theories Hold No Traction

By Eric Fish

On November 19th, Global Times ran an editorial entitled “UN politics tied up with China bashing.” Unfortunately the image it portrayed of a vast underground conspiracy to undermine China is all too common.

The article asserted that “hate-mongering China-bashers or anti-China groups and organizations” spurred on by the United States and its allies have been giving “behind-the-door orders” to top UN leadership to pressure China. It went on to say that the US is using its clout over UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon’s re-election next year as leverage to make him carry out their anti-China agenda.

Like most similar articles, there wasn’t a shred of verifiable evidence given for these claims; simply a string of argumentative fallacies surrounded by strong rhetoric.

Later, the article claimed that the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates was purposely scheduled during the same time as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum where President Hu Jintao was in attendance.

Allegedly organized by The US, its Western allies, and the Nobel Committee, this “whole globally-coordinated political showcase, which specifically targets China, is a politically-motivated and pre-calculated anti-China demonization campaign.”

I enjoy a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, but this one has more holes than Swiss cheese. A little research showed that the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates is organized by non-governmental organizations and businesses from around the world. Its organizing committee is made up almost entirely of people who are neither Japanese nor American.

The conference itself was held in Hiroshima and focused exclusively on nuclear disarmament issues. It would be far more reasonable to see it as a snub against America rather than by it.
Meanwhile, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum was also held in Japan and was attended by both Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and American President Barack Obama (who declined his invitation to the Nobel summit). So even if they did have any power over the Nobel forum, why would the two countries try to upstage their own event?

Many conspiracy theorists like to claim that the US and its Western allies are pulling the strings of some massive underground effort to keep China down. But even if one ignores the fact that there’s absolutely no verifiable evidence for this, the motivations and feasibility of such an effort both serve to show the absurdity of such an idea.

China is America’s biggest creditor and has loaned the US over $22 billion just since July. At the same time American companies are betting their shirts on an increase in demand for American goods from Chinese consumers. A stronger Chinese economy with a strong Yuan is critical to achieving this. Doing anything to undermine China’s current pace of growth would be detrimental to these US interests. So what could possibly motivate the US to head a conspiracy aimed at disrupting its relationship with China and its growth?

Even if the US did have the motivation to keep China down, they would have an impossibly difficult time concealing it, much less succeeding.

Ask anyone from the Kennedy administration who, in 1961, launched “Operation Mongoose” aimed at undermining the Communist Cuban government through propaganda, sabotage and even assassination attempts on President Fidel Castro.

It didn’t take long for the half-baked scheme to be uncovered within Cuba and America…and this was decades before the internet. With today’s online vigilantes and WikiLeaks, the US government has trouble keeping even their lowest level atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan secret. And these are just internal US matters. It doesn’t even begin to demonstrate the challenges of coordinating secretly with other countries with whom the US has its own separate problems with.

Surely if there were some “whole-globally coordinated” campaign to achieve something so self-defeating as to undermine China, by now someone involved would have come forward or anonymously released related documents through a site like WikiLeaks. The absence of either of these things is probably why you never see any hard evidence provided in conspiracy theorists’ rants.

Sure, US politicians frequently use China as a political scapegoat and even threaten economic sanctions…but that’s about as far as it ever goes. Looking strong on the economy and firm on human rights to their constituents wins these leaders big political points, but they know doing anything truly provocative or threatening to China’s stability would be economic suicide.

Conspiracy theories like this are appealing and they’re a good tool in generating fear for political uses, but in reality the evidence just doesn’t afford them any credibility.

The author is a master’s candidate of Global Business Journalism at Tsinghua University. ericfish85@gmail.com

Help us make a documentary about kidnapped children!

Advertisements

0 thoughts on “Anti-China Conspiracy Theories Hold No Traction”

  1. This article fails because it is trying to reason with propaganda. Anyone who cannot see that allegations of conspiracy without evidence of conspiracy are meaningless will not be convinced of this fact by any argument, however erudite.

    @Outcast – Chinese people have the same level of reasoning power that anyone else has. There’s is a shortage of information and a surplus of misinformation.

    Like

  2. “This article fails because it is trying to reason with propaganda.”

    Articles which challenge propaganda with reason are a lot more useful than certain individuals *ahem* simply screaming “propaganda” all day long, without offering any evidence. The presumption that everything and anything you don’t like is “propaganda” reflect laziness and ultimately makes you a miserable failure.

    “Anyone who cannot see that allegations of conspiracy without evidence of conspiracy are meaningless will not be convinced of this fact by any argument, however erudite.”

    This is very true, kinda like how many China bashers accuse anyone of posting anything positive or in defense of Chine to be “50 cent” or “spreading state sponsored propaganda”, without offering any meaning counter arguments. You can mock the China bashers’ silliness for your own enjoyment but it’s nearly pointless to argue with them.

    Like

  3. The opposite side of the equation would be those who believe that China is conspiring to take over the world. There are many paranoid freaks out who have irrational “fears of a red planet”, although other than some key security issues (taiwan, tibet) China has rarely told other nations how they should run their own government, or insisted other nations to emulate China’s own political system, or sending its military forces across the globe in efforts to “liberate oppressed people”.

    That said, it’s a fact that the US and other western nations are engaging in some efforts to create problems for China. The US governments’ not so secret mission to fund the Tibet Independence movement for example, or forming closer military alliances with nations surrounding China. However economically speaking the US has been crucial to China’s rise and will continue to be for a very long time. In this regard the US is without China’s biggest enabler.

    Like

  4. outcast on December 3, 2010 at 18:56

    Given the below average reasoning capability of chinese people it doesn’t matter how absurd such claims seem, chinese will eat it up.


    You really are doing nothing about the racists here, Custer.

    Like

  5. Propaganda… Give me a break. Charles, FOARP, you guys are just making a big hooplah of Op-Eds. They’re not news, just people’s opinions.

    Like

  6. “You really are doing nothing about the racists here, Custer.”

    Yep, anyone who doesn’t live in the hippy dippy fantasyland is a racist.

    “@Outcast – Chinese people have the same level of reasoning power that anyone else has. There’s is a shortage of information and a surplus of misinformation.”

    To be honest in all my years in China and all my personal and professional dealings with them I’ve only encountered a handful that I could consider to be reasonable. In addition to the info issue you mentioned, there’s also the issue of a backwards culture and education system that heavily discourages critical thinking and usage of reason to a far greater extent than in western societies.

    Like

  7. No, not everyone. But you clearly are. And lest Custer wants this place to become a cesspool like chinasmack or Yahoo!, he needs to do something about trolls like you.

    Like

  8. To be honest in all my years in China and all my personal and professional dealings with them I’ve only encountered a handful that I could consider to be reasonable.

    ….

    That says so much about you than it does the Chinese. Really, frustrated much in real life?

    Like

  9. Meh, I’m 99% certain Beijing doesn’t even consider People’s Daily/Global Times to be actual news. Every article reads like an opinion piece, and that’s what the whole thing is meant to be. Of course there’s lots of kids that will “eat it up”, but I’m fairly sure anyone over 25 reads Huanqiu with a grain of salt.

    Like

  10. “No, not everyone. But you clearly are. And lest Custer wants this place to become a cesspool like chinasmack or Yahoo!, he needs to do something about trolls like you.”

    “That says so much about you than it does the Chinese. Really, frustrated much in real life?”

    Mmm, personal attacks. Now who is the troll?

    Like

  11. Edited outcast’s comment. Shut it down, you two, or I will just block you both. Stick to the subject, not talking about each other. Also, added fun image!

    @ pug_ster, shuaige: GT op-eds are interesting to me not because they’re “news” but because they are, I think, the purest representation of what the government wants foreigners to know/think about China.

    Like

  12. C Custer,

    @ pug_ster, shuaige: GT op-eds are interesting to me not because they’re “news” but because they are, I think, the purest representation of what the government wants foreigners to know/think about China.

    The opinions are the ‘purest representation’ of what the government wants foreigners to know/think about China, but they’re not news. Unfortunately, the GT news articles are more neutral and bland.

    Like

  13. @outcast
    As long as Fox News is well watched you can be assured that in the USA reasoning skills, that were taught in school, are not used very often.
    @LOLZ
    One good thing about the Wiki Leaks is it showed how little control the USA has, all those cabels showed how little influence the USA has. So enough with this bull crap of the USA plotting to control the world blarney. Heck we barley have control over ourselves(prime example the Tea Party) never mind any other country

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s