US President Joe Biden speaks in Scranton, Pennsylvania, US, October 20, 2021. /CFP

US President Joe Biden speaks in Scranton, Pennsylvania, US, October 20, 2021. /CFP

Editor’s note: Zhou Wenxing is an assistant professor at the School of International Studies at Nanjing University and a former Asia Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University. He writes extensively on comparative politics and international relations, with an emphasis on the Taiwan issue and China-US relations. The article reflects the opinions of the author, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

It seems self-evident that most countries have benefited enormously from globalization. As one of the beneficiaries and main drivers of globalization, China plays its role as a responsible rising power by making significant contributions to regional and international development.

However, China is being unfoundedly criticized by a growing number of politicians in Western countries – notably the United States – who have also benefited greatly from increasing globalization. Meanwhile, the US government has worked hard with its Japanese and European counterparts to forge an all-out attack on China’s foreign policy, claiming China is a so-called ‘destroyer of the rules-based international order’. and “an irresponsible player in the global community.”

Now, a “united front of American allies and partners to confront China” has been built, much like what US President Joe Biden envisioned in a Foreign Affairs article published in March 2020. The United States and its allies built this front mainly by fully using the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent Russian-Ukrainian conflict to their advantage.

Apparently, these anti-China arguments and policy measures simply cannot hold water. One may wonder why the United States, together with its allies, would resort to a policy of confrontation towards China. A level-based approach can shed some light on this puzzle.

At the individual level, attacking China has apparently become a possible outcome for some US politicians vying for votes. As the midterm elections in the United States approach, “China” has become the watchword of campaign ads, especially in the Rust Belt, where members of Congress try to convince their constituents that China is responsible for the bad economy and unemployment.

In just one month, three delegations of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have made defiant visits to the Taiwan region, signaling these politicians’ eagerness to gain political capital at the cost of China’s core interests.

On a societal and national level, criticizing China helps the US government distract voters from national challenges. The United States is currently suffering from an overwhelming economic downturn and social fragmentation. Warnings that the US economy could experience a recession at the end of this year are causing further anxiety across the country.

The incident of the sudden FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence even escalated unprecedented partisan disputes and further divided the country, leading some political analysts to speculate that a civil war in the country could be underway. the horizon.

As being tough on China becomes a “politically correct” issue in the United States, a large majority of the media is more willing to criticize China. It is crucial for them to improve ratings and attract financial support, which gives them more incentive to discredit China.

For example, the Competes Act (which the US Senate gave the green light to in May) is set to allocate $5 million to the US Agency for Global Media, a foreign media services entity operated by the US government. This appropriation is supposed to allocate “to the media the production of journalism for a foreign audience that is critical of China”, as revealed by the Washington DC-based magazine. American perspective.

Internationally, getting tough with China is seen as Washington’s “most effective way”, as Biden argued in the same Foreign Affairs piece to “suppress” China with its allies in the era of competition between the great powers. Obsessed with the offensive mindset that a rising power would inevitably challenge the primacy of a status quo power, the United States redoubled its efforts to contain a rising China.

COVID-19 vaccines delivered by China to Nepal arrive at Nepal Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, on March 29, 2021. /CFP

COVID-19 vaccines delivered by China to Nepal arrive at Nepal Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, on March 29, 2021. /CFP

Nevertheless, the United States and its allies could hardly achieve this goal. For America itself, it is haunted by a variety of internal and external challenges. As well-established American scholar Joseph Nye has keenly observed, “A successful US response to the challenge from China begins at home and must be based on the preservation of America’s own democratic institutions.”

More importantly, China’s continued rise depends more on its adopting well-designed strategies to maintain sustainable economic growth in the face of threats from the raging pandemic, which is considered a core mission of China’s central and local governments. More adequate but more robust measures are being taken by China to boost economic growth while adhering to the “zero-COVID policy” momentum.

An equally important factor is China’s commitment to building a community with a shared future for mankind. Countries today face serious challenges. But “in every challenge lies an opportunity”, as Chinese President Xi Jinping points out. “Working with all countries towards a community with a shared future for humanity” is the key to “turning challenges into opportunities”.

To this end, China has provided a large amount of urgent assistance, such as COVID-19 vaccines and infrastructure, to underdeveloped regions and countries. It also cooperates with the United States and other major countries to address common challenges such as climate change that pose serious threats to the survival and development of all mankind.

Therefore, China’s decades-long strategic opportunity for its continued rise has not ended, as some analysts argue, despite the confrontational US policy toward China. By striving to build a community with a shared future for humanity, China could turn its diplomatic challenges into opportunities to accelerate its ascent while helping to create a better world.

In a nutshell, it is China itself rather than the United States that is shaping its strategic opportunities in the new era with changes as well as challenges not seen for a century.

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