The rising cult of China experts
BEIJING – A couple of years ago I met a German man at Harvard who boasted about his political stipend, his up-coming talk in New York City, and how he worked hard on the liberalization of Tibet and the breaking-up of China. There are no human rights in China, he explained to me. I was impressed and reminded him that if he ever plotted this way against our German government he could be tried for treason. He left in contempt.
He isn’t the only one. There is a cult of Western evangelists and self-righteous crusaders who are determined to dislodge non-Western nations and usurp their governments.
In China they act as if above the law. That’s because they see the Chinese government as corrupt, non-elected, and communist, and thus illegitimate. So why care about what it says or stands for? Moreover, these evangelists believe Westerners can do whatever they want in China because America and the entire Western propaganda apparatus will bail them out should trouble arise.
These so-called China experts are now a political force in direct opposition to the Communist Party. They form clusters and networks, with a strong hierarchy and code of ethics: They reward their Twitter followers and lickspittles and praise each other’s work, while policing social media and punishing “traitors” or “China apologists”.
When Yang Rui, a CCTV news anchor, condemned the activities of foreigners in Beijing, his character was assassinated and internationally paraded by China experts as glaring example of what happens to any Chinese should he or she dare to look askance at them.
In the West, foreign extremist groups, left or right, are monitored and tightly controlled. But no-one controls these Western imperialists. Germans finance Xinjiang separatists, Americans finance Taiwan separatists, British finance Tibetan separatist. US journalism even dispatches tactical troops to Hong Kong determined on bringing down Xi Jinping, the president, and his family.
The hierarchy of China experts is this: At the top we find the philosophers and statesmen who set the stage and agenda for the universal ideology – exclusively serving Western interests. They always reside in the West, know little or nothing about China, and discuss China solely on Western terms. In the past there were the likes of Kant, Hegel, and Wilhelm II; today we have Henry “on China” Kissinger, Francis “End of History” Fukuyama, and Samuel “Clash of Civilizations” Huntington.
Next we have the journalists and editors, most of them white or accessory white, in key positions at the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Economist, and so on. Thanks to the Western planetary media monopoly, they have become the new global fascist elite. Their culture is narrowly interbred, and some personal relations border on the incestuous, so they float each other’s boat and write almost identical muck-raking stories. Everyone in China knows who they are, and their China-bashing is green-lighting all of us to join the onslaught.
Most China experts are culturists down to the last fiber. They tolerate all races as long as they Westernize and speak English, but show utter disdain for all foreign words, concepts, and terminologies (language imperialism). They also prominently decide who – Chinese or foreigner- gets praised and who gets defamed, and – most importantly- what gets omitted in their China reports. Their own corrupt ways get omitted. Ask yourself, when was the last time you read a piece by a prominent Chinese (other than a dissident) in your nation’s newspaper? You haven’t. It is a tight Orwellian grip.
Last, we have legions of lesser, disposable China watchers. Few of them enjoy fat expat packages, bigwig relatives in the media, or peddling political influence. Unable to find proper jobs and secure a future in China – apart from becoming activists, bloggers, or English teachers- they are recruited easily and radicalize quickly. Everyone has met those frustrated Westerners who once believed in their entitlement, got disillusioned, and found a way to spend their days: to patronize and correct the Chinese.
China isn’t the only victim. All other six non-Western civilizations are feeling the whip of Western imperialism. The West claims it is “universal” and that is does not (and cannot) take responsibility for any of its abusive individuals in foreign lands since they are all free agents. It’s the same old excuse since the age of colonialism.
Taking part in the Western mission to civilize the East is highly spiritually rewarding. And what is political destabilization and social unrest but a sweet revenge for China’s disregard for Western hegemony. Favorite targets are: corrupt officials, suppressed minorities, Han chauvinism and misogyny, demonstrations, currency manipulation, and censorship. It makes China experts feel good about themselves. They feel like social justice warriors. The problem: this is not their country, and their negativity is poisoning everything.
Thus, China experts are constantly on the look-out for Chinese stand-ins. Dissidents, pro-Western activists, any Wang who can waive the American flag. The collaborators are showered with media coverage, prizes, and stipends, visa, freedom awards, and even Nobel Peace prizes. This tactic didn’t get unnoticed by thezhishi fenzi (intellectuals), a class who would do anything for Western media attention – like the artist who in May sliced himself and cut out his own rib for a “more open China”.
If Beijing dares to protest, there will be ever harsher Western media campaigns: China is told it must not impede on Westerners’ “freedom” to slowly destabilize the country from within: Censor them, and they will tattletale. Incarcerate them, and they will become martyrs. Ignore them at your own peril.
Thorsten J Pattberg is a German writer and cultural critic. He is the author of The East-West Dichotomy, Shengren, and Inside Peking University.
(Copyright 2014 Thorsten J Pattberg)