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Many in China believe that since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the dominant Western opinion is on the opposite side of China. In addition, media commentators and academics in China also believe that the West’s unprecedented hostility towards China since last year is a reflection of the West’s own prejudices and fears of the West. ‘Middle Kingdom. Interestingly, not many people in the West know that the Communist authorities in Beijing consider that the Western and American “information war” is more aimed at influencing Chinese public opinion, not world opinion, against the CCP regime. .


Long before Trump-Pompeo combined the “assault” on China and its ruling Communist Party, an article written by a Singapore-based American researcher in Asia Times five years ago accused the Chinese Communist Party leadership of carrying the “victim” card to dizzying heights. Richard A. Bitzinger, the author, further claimed “Every nation in the Asia-Pacific region can claim, with some justification, to be a victim. Even Japan can declare its victim status, as it was the first (and until now, the only) target of nuclear weapons. “A well-known and internationally respected scholar in South Korea written ten years ago: “The world community must speak with one voice and send China a clear message that it no longer considers China a victim of modern history.”

China flaunts victimization

For most Chinese, including of course the ruling Communist Party, the above Western narrative demonstrates “the ignorance and prejudices that its creators” have long held against China. However, what Bitzinger and South Korean professor Jongsoo Lee have emphatically stressed over the past decade is something new: It is time for China to shed the “victim” mentality. Western “irritation” and “impatience” with China playing the victimization card or the “century of humiliation” began in the wake of China’s unprecedented economic boom some 20 years ago. ‘years. More recently, the global buzz of the anti-Chinese victim mentality, which was reignited half a decade ago in the wake of China’s “assault” and “assertiveness” in the sea. of southern China, has reached a crescendo with the global spread of the Covid19 pandemic.

This explains why, according to the Western narrative, in recent years China’s acute sense of “victimization” has been more pronounced on the international political scene. In June 2016, as the legal verdict was awaited on China’s comprehensive claims to SCS, the WSJ published a story titled “The Danger of China’s Victim Mentality” and warned the international community against “Beijing going after it if a decision on SCS allegations goes against it.” Suddenly the world media was filled with opinionated comments like “China vs. the World”. While some have genuinely advised China to stop its obsession with playing the victim if the country is serious about progress as a society. Others were less charitable and warned China must get rid of the “victim” mentality.

Imperfect western narrative

On another level, according to Mark Tischler, a research fellow in the Department of East Asian Studies at Tel Aviv University, the fundamental flaw in the Western narrative is that it often overlooks the fact that “China is the first power to challenge the United States. ”Who really came out of his postcolonial past. (Emphasis added) Perhaps oblivious to the extent to which modern Chinese politics are driven by the collective trauma of “victimization,” a Former Indian foreign minister expressed his opinion Recently, it was “to avenge the ‘century of humiliation’ that China endured at the hands of the Western imperial powers from around 1839-1840 to 1949.” The Chinese are pursuing unilateralism instead of compromise in SCS and their new form of “wolf warrior” arrogance replaces Zhou Enlai-Deng Xiaoping-style humility diplomacy, observed the veteran Indian diplomat who also served as ambassador in Beijing. On the other hand, as Tischler put it, the main difference between Beijing’s and the West’s account of the “century of humiliation” is that for China this (century of humiliation) means “not only a dark lesson from the past, but also a warning about a possible future. Therefore, the (Chinese) narrative created “a mentality of never again.”

Much has been written and published in Chinese and English about China’s victim mentality. Yet not only has the issue not dissipated over the decades since the founding of New China, but under Xi Jinping, the “century of humiliation” has acquired the new meaning of “Chinese rejuvenation” or “dream. Chinese ”, so to speak. Interestingly, in an attempt to twist the “hundred years of humiliation” narrative into post-Mao or post-Tiananmen Chinese nationalism, some Western scholars refer to it as anti-Western or anti-American Chinese nationalism. Applaud the highly acclaimed Zheng Wang (Columbia University Press, 2014) Never Forget National Humiliation: Historical Memory of Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations, Edward Friedman describes the work as “a living and well-informed study of post-Mao nationalism and Chinese foreign policy …”

Mao was also a victim of the ‘century of humiliation’ mentality

However, the truth is that the scholarly claims that “victimization” is described as the new Chinese fig leaf of anti-Western nationalism and create a post-Mao / pre-Mao dichotomy of “victimization” – like the narrative current Westerners have us believe, are fundamentally flawed. A recent article, for example, accuses the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of manipulating the so-called victimization as nothing less than a “cynical ploy to exploit Chinese history and the feelings of the Chinese people.” It is relevant to mention, although intangible, such a narrative has recently received a lot of attention in the international media. Take for example some of the following popular writings: “China does not need to continue playing the victim” in Foreign police (2018), “China plays the victim after attacking Indian soldiers in Galwan” in (2020), “The Danger of the Victim Mentality in China” in TWSJ (2016), “China’s Dangerous Feeling of Being a Victim of Law” in Asia Times (2016), “The New Chinese Diplomacy: More Victims” in Foreign Affairs (2003) and so on.

Although perhaps under-studied in the West, like most intellectuals of the late Qing and Republican eras, Mao Zedong was not only deeply disturbed by the Chinese “century of humiliation,” but by many of its policy decisions. aliens from the early to mid-1950s were influenced by the “victim” mentality. In a seminal article co-authored by well-respected Chinese historian Professor Yang Kuisong and his young protégé and PhD candidate in Chinese history at the University of Pennsylvania, Sheng Mao, highlighted the impact of Mao’s victim mentality on his decision which led to two Taiwan Strait. crises in 1954-1955 and 1958 respectively. Of the two crises, according to Yang and Sheng, Mao’s gains have been remarkably rewarding and psychologically productive. The first Taiwan Strait Crisis – the bombing of Jinmen in 1954 – enabled Mao to “force the United States into ambassadorial talks with China.” The outcome of the Second Taiwan Crisis in 1958 enabled Mao to declare, “The United States has got into our noose.” “The other thing Mao claimed to have obtained as a result of the crisis was confirmation that America was a ‘paper tiger’,” Yang and Sheng highlighted.

Prejudice and victimization

Finally, as we speak of prejudice and victimization, and as Western academics have confirmed their determination to force Beijing to “give up” playing the “victim” card, one thing is clear in the minds of management. the party, namely, building on the past success of Mao’s “victim” mentality, current Chinese leaders are too aware of how the victimization narrative has served China in its diplomatic strategies to put it aside from so soon. Analyzing how China’s victimization strategy was fully on display at the Anchorage summit in Alaska two months ago, Drew Thompson, Visiting Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore, views the narrative of the Chinese “victim” mentality was addressed more to the national public than to the world population in general.

Well, speaking of prejudice and prejudice, Michael Barr, author of Who is afraid of China (2011) argued a decade there is that “China’s fears often say as much about those who hold them as it does about the rising power itself.” The book has been described as a mirror of Sino-Western relations in order to better understand ideas about modernity, history and international relations. Moreover, it is indeed true that Western prejudices against China predate the “century of humiliation”. What is also historically undeniable is that “in no other major civilization is self-esteem, self-congratulation and denigration of the ‘Other’ as deep as it is in Western Europe and its overseas extensions, ”observed a professor of economic history. in a recent article “A Eurocentric problem.” Not at all a surprise, historian Jeffery Wasserstrom written in his review from Barr’s book: “This little book provides a lucid critique of the latest versions of sinomania and sinophobia.”

Where there is a wolf, there is a warrior

In conclusion, as mentioned above, not only will China not stop playing the victim and behave like a “normal country”, as was recently exposed at the first high-level bilateral summit between the two biggest hostile economies of the world since the capture of President Biden. Office. On the contrary, as many in the West fear, as Beijing sees US power as well as dominance in continuing decline, China is likely to pursue expansionist policies without control. Contrary to what many in the West see as the changing nature of Chinese diplomacy, China knows it is pursuing the same Maoist strategy to “trap the United States in the Chinese noose.” Regarding the “wolf warriors”, an article pointed out a year ago, the phrase was only coined by the top Chinese diplomat himself. The use of the phrase was neither spontaneous nor a slippage. The Chinese have a saying: “Think three times before you act!” Recently invited to comment on the “wolf warrior”, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, veteran diplomat from China, flaunting his “victimization” offered an ironic explanation: where there is a “wolf” there is a “warrior” .

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