On the eve of Donald Trump’s first trip to Asia as US President the government owned Chinese English language newspaper Global Times – which is often used by the Chinese government to express views the Chinese government does not wish to state officially – has published an editorial warning Trump to respect China and its political system and to discard ‘Cold War thinking’.
China’s relations with the Trump administration have gone through complex stages, with Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping appearing to hit it off during their first summit meeting in Florida in April, but with relations subsequently coming under strain because of the two countries’ differing approaches to the North Korean crisis and because of disagreements on trade issues. In addition there are the long-running sore of the US-China dispute over the South China Sea and the status of Taiwan.
However the comments by President Trump which have probably incensed the Chinese leadership most were certain comments he made over the course of his recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly, in which he criticised socialism in the most trenchant terms
The socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country. This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried……..
The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. (Applause.) From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.
These comments – though purportedly about Venezuela – were bound to be seen by the Chinese leadership as a challenge given that the governing party of China is the Chinese Communist Party and the official ideology of China is socialism.
Moreover as I have discovered over the course of a recent visit to China, China’s commitment to socialism is one which within China is taken very seriously.
The idea that China has de facto abandoned socialism and has embraced capitalism and that the Chinese economy operates on purely capitalist lines is one which is very popular in the West. I myself shared it. Having now seen how the Chinese economy actually works from inside China I now however think this view is profoundly wrong.
More to the point the Chinese Communist Party could not fail to be incensed by comments by the US President which refer to socialism – the Communist Party’s ideology – as a “discredited ideology” which has brought “anguish and devastation and failure” wherever it has been adopted”.
Following a Party Congress in which the Chinese Communist Party has gone out of its way to reaffirm its commitment to socialism – this was.a central theme of President Xi Jinping’s speech to the Congress – the Chinese via Global Times are now making clear on the eve of Trump’s Asia trip – which is expected to include a stop-over in China – that they will not tolerate lectures on the nature of the political system from anyone, be that Donald Trump or anyone else.
Speaking of Asia, the first thing that would come to many Americans’ minds is China’s rise and the North Korean nuclear issue. On matters affecting Asia, they are preoccupied with China’s rise. Some radicals get emotional and believe that China is an external source of problems affecting the development of the US. Their prejudice against China’s political system has deepened their sentiment and they want to see Washington take harsh stance on China……China’s system of government fits the country. China’s economy has grown so fast and the national strength and people’s livelihood have improved spectacularly. How could China’s system not be fit for the country?
For a long time, some Americans and Western people have been brainwashed by the Cold War era. They have lost the ability to assess and embrace the new reality. In a fast-paced world, China-US relations have evolved differently from the previous mind-set. But they cannot understand the new world order at all and still measure relations between the two nations with an old yardstick.The old way of thinking is stubborn. After Kelly spoke, Fox News host Laura Ingraham responded by saying that (China’s system) does not work for all Chinese, and not for Christians. The host was clearly influenced by theories and rumors about the underground churches in China. She should come to China to see with her own eyes that most Christians in China, like many other Chinese, recognize China’s political system and more importantly benefit from it. There are people against the system in any society. It is an indisputable fact that China’s system is committed to allowing the public to benefit from development and maximize the inclusiveness.
Whether President Trump pays any heed to this warning, or is even aware of it, or understands the extent of the offence that his words to the UN General Assembly have caused in China is another matter.