On October 4th, US Vice President Pence delivered a long speech on the US government’s China policy at the Hudson Institute in Washington. On the 5th, several people posted a full-text translation of the proposed stance of the US in relation to China policy on various social networking sites, which led to numerous heated discussions about the viewpoint. Some internet users agreed with the content of the speech while others thought it was purely nonsense. This article considers just a view of the most common positions and views among Chinese citizens in China in response to the speech.
- China is intervening in US policy and politics?
During the recent the UN Security Council high-level meeting regarding the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery Trump took the stance that China is attempting to interfere with the US midterm elections. This statement took many by surprise since it had very little to do with the theme of the conference. Vice President however, continued this train of thought during his recent speech.
The evidence cited by both President Trump and Vice President Pence is in regard to the the recent four page advertisement posted in the Des Moines Chronicle of the State of Iowa. This advertisement published the “China Watch” column which talked about the past story of President Xi Jinping and Iowa, the development of China’s high and new technology, changes in China’s social life, and the damage to the US economy caused by trade wars.
There are many in China who hold the perspective that advertising in other countries is a legal act and normal behavior, and therefore this advertisement is in full compliance with the standards for advertising in the Chronicle. They consider the fact that it only provides a Chinese perspective to help the American people understand what many in China think about, and has no way of interfering in international affairs. China has always adopted the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. Therefore, when Vice President Pence used this advertisement as evidence as to how China has been interfering in US internal politics many in China were confused as they only saw it as an average perspective piece.
- US-China working relationship?
Many in China do not deny that the United States has often extended a helping hand to us, but additionally point out that in history, the cooperation between China and the United States has always contributed to the peace of mankind. The benefits of this working relationship often help both countries equally and provide stability for numerous other countries around the world. Some in China even argue that the US has benefited more from this relationship than China has.
When the Eight-Power Allied Forces invaded and divided China, although the United States did not send troops, it received compensation, which made this fragile country worse. China unswervingly believe that taking the communist road was the future of our country. Taking history as a guide and taking the people as a mirror, we can build a great society with an open honest working relationship between the two countries.
3. Hypocrisy on stance?
At the accusation of interference within domestic politics, many in China point to the hypocrisy as Trump himself has been at times unclear on his own stance, and thus the stance of the US, in regards to the one-China policy which has clear consequences on the internal politics of China.
- Human rights issues in China
The many current human rights issues prevalent within China are a highly debated topic not just with international diplomats like Vice President Pence but also with the majority of Chinese citizens. As a populous country with 1.3 billion people, there are still many aspects where we are working hard to improve. Many people within our own country recognize the shortcomings and realize the importance of human rights. Pursuing equality is the common hope of our whole society. For many who read Vice President Pence’s speech it felt like a personal attack on something they know they are working hard to fix.
- Academic pressure
Every country is inevitably making mistakes in the development process, and the fault is irreparable. China had done this, and all countries in the world are done like so. With a deep and long historical background, China may lack the habit of apologizing. Since ancient times, when leaders have made mistakes, even if they know that they are wrong, they are not willing to apologize, but always thinking about covering up the facts or making up for mistakes. Although the after-the-fact practices are all about recovering their own mistakes, it is always difficult to tell people to admit mistakes. This tradition has continued to the present, perhaps it’s time to make a shift. The need for this potential change was a highly debated one after this recent speech
All in all, the speech given from vice President Pence about China concentrated on the Sino-US trade war in regards to China participating in unfair competition by stealing US high-tech, etc., China’s political pathway not being on the path to western liberal democracy as the United States envisioned, China’s human rights abuses and Chinese military power in regard to recent expansion in armaments. These are all areas where the United States has consistently been hostile to China.
As for the purpose of the speech, I wonder, along with many other Chinese citizens if it will have a connection with the post-election in the future. In any case, the analysis and understanding of the speech depends on who is the audience.