China-US Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
The US ideological attack on China is becoming fiercer, and counterattacks from China have also become more open. The opinion war between the two sides is like a war of words.
The US not only makes use of the country’s ideological mechanism, but also harnesses the opinion forces of some Western countries. China’s advantages lie in that the country develops fast and steadily. The US attacks are gaining momentum, but the actual harm they can have on China is far below US expectations. China’s counterattacks have their due weight as they are based on solid facts. From a long-term perspective, this opinion war is a rivalry between lies and hard evidence.
Amid the US and the West’s increasingly stronger narratives against China, we should keep a highly sober mind. We should assess the actual impact of their narratives against China and what real damage it can cause. Then we can determine what we should do to respond accordingly. They shouldn’t be allowed to decide which way the war of words will affect China-US and China-West relations. Meanwhile, we must resolutely stick to our strategic goals.
We should clearly see that US-led ideological attacks on China cannot represent global public opinion. Such attacks have mobilized some people in the Western world and spilled over into the non-Western world. But this in fact only reflects the challenges imposed by the US and the small circle of its allies against China and doesn’t mean that China has fallen from grace. On the contrary, most developing countries welcome and have attached great attention to China’s practice of persisting on its own path. The opinion war launched by the US and the West has had limited effect.
China’s biggest strategic goal is to improve the country’s development, improve the people’s livelihood and complete China’s modernization in the face of the curse of the US and its major allies and all kinds of anti-China conspiracies and schemes. However, the US’ biggest goal is to bring down China’s development and let China’s rise fall by the wayside, fall into the “middle-income trap” and find no way out, and miss the historic opportunity of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The fundamental index of the game between China and the US is development competition, rather than rhetorical competition. China’s ability and impetus to achieve further, faster and better development are clearly better than that of the US. China actually holds the long-term initiative in this game. It is obvious that the US is more anxious than China. Once we see that development is the main battlefield of the China-US game, the Chinese people will have a more open and clearer mind in dealing with the US’ verbal battle. China should resolutely counter the verbal attacks by the US and focus on the practical effects of consolidating social cohesion and enhancing international confidence in China. We should not be held back by the agenda and direction set by the US.
What is particularly important is that some political elite of the US and their main allies hope the opinion war could become the frontline and focus of China-US competition. They want to expand China-US conflicts and see a new Cold War in China-US relations. When they manage to turn the space of cooperation between China and the US narrower and narrower, China-West relations will be fundamentally changed, and the gap in ideology between the two sides will dominate this relationship.
China must be committed to maintaining the basic areas of cooperation between China and the US, and to increasing the cohesion and resilience of cross-ideological cooperation so that it becomes more attractive to the West than politics. We should do so with confidence because this is the cooperation with US and Western societies and their people at large, and it should not be changed by the will of some Western political elites.
We should see that though China and some European countries also have great ideological differences, the willingness of those countries to cooperate with China has not been seriously affected; instead, it has actually increased. It is clear that the clamor for decoupling from China by some figures in the US is against the global trend and against the will of their people.
As the US and its major allies keep taking the initiative to “sanction” China, among other measures, it is inevitable for China to carry out economic counterattacks. We must properly handle relations of the economic integration between China and the US, and between China and the West on the strategic level and the offensive and defensive aspects at the tactical level. We must establish our deterrence and stick to reform and opening-up, so that we can expand the cooperation scale between China and the West on the one hand, and destroy the attempt of some Western political elites to economically and technologically isolate China on the other.
China’s development speed and potential takes an advantageous position compared with the US and its small circle. The Chinese are broad-minded, and have wide history, culture and political foundation. The US and its likes want to win over China via the opinion war, which is just a naïve illusion.