Mounting US attacks on China

A policy in service of the predatory interests of US imperialism

In the last few weeks, hardly a day has gone by when the US has not launched an attack on China on some front or the other. The targeted pressure against China began about four years ago, while two years ago the US launched an all-out trade war against China, its major trading partner. Now, in the conditions of the global coronavirus pandemic, the pace and virulence of these attacks has escalated sharply.

Starting from the most recent attacks, here are some examples:

  • On June 3, the US banned flights to and from China by Chinese airlines. This followed the US giving an ultimatum to China to permit American airlines to fly to China, at a time when China had still not lifted its restrictions on international flights due to the coronavirus epidemic.
  • On June 1, US Secretary of State Pompeo announced that Chinese students in the US who are affiliated to institutions which they claim are linked with the Chinese PLA (People’s Liberation Army) or intelligence services, will have their visas cancelled allegedly because they may steal technological or other secrets! This will affect several thousand Chinese students there, especially those in science and technology institutions.
  • On May 27, Pompeo announced that because China passed a new security law with respect to Hong Kong, the US will cancel preferential trading arrangements with Hong Kong as the new law was a ‘violation’ of Hong Kong’s autonomy. In actual fact, Hong Kong does not enjoy in practice any significant trading privileges with respect to the US, but the message was meant to be a signal to China.
  • On May 23, the US slapped sanctions on 33 Chinese companies, allegedly for being in collusion with the Chinese military or with ‘human rights abuses’ in China.
  • In the meantime, a “No China Act” is being formulated and introduced in the US Congress. This will ensure that Chinese companies do not benefit from any funding assistance extended by the US in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Earlier in 2020, the US enacted a Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, targeting China’s policies towards the Uyghur nationality in its Xinjiang province.
  • In 2019, the US passed one law after another pressuring China on its policies towards Hong Kong, Tibet and Taiwan. These include The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, the Tibet Policy Support Act, and the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act.
  • Two years ago, in 2018, the Trump regime began issuing a series of measures hitting out at China on the commercial front, including unilaterally imposing greatly enhanced tariffs on a whole range of Chinese imports, leading to a virtual ‘trade war’.
  • Over and above all of these measures which are not only blatantly discriminatory against China and Chinese nationals and companies, and violative of China’s sovereignty, the Trump regime has in the last few weeks spouted loud-mouthed propaganda, half-truths and lies against China holding it responsible and demanding that it pay for being the country of origin of the coronavirus pandemic. The US has even pulled out of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for allegedly ‘favouring’ China.

All these and other measures directed against China represent an unacceptable and irresponsible exercise of unilateral might by an imperialist superpower in a world situation already beset by heightened tension and crisis. It is creating an extremely dangerous situation, pushing the world to the brink of a new imperialist war.

What are the factors driving this all-out campaign by US imperialism against China?

In the 1970s, US imperialism had deliberately befriended China in order to weaken and isolate its then main rival, the Soviet Union. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US greatly encouraged China to become more integrated with the global capitalist economic system. It hoped in this way to encourage the development of capitalism in China, expecting that this would tie China to the coattails of US imperialism, and also undermine the authority of the ruling Communist Party of China.

Within a few decades it became clear that the Chinese economy was emerging as the main challenger to the economic might of the US, at a time when the US economy was beset by crisis and recession. At the same time, the CPC remained firmly in power in China despite repeated attempts by the US and other powers to encourage and incite opposition to it within the country. In terms of geopolitics, China followed a foreign policy independent of the US and its allies. Its use of its veto power in the UN Security Council to block some US moves, its assistance to countries blacklisted by US imperialism such as Iran, Venezuela and North Korea, its attempts to build infrastructural and economic ties with countries throughout the Eurasian region and Africa through its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, and its participation in multilateral initiatives like the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), BRICS and its New Development Bank, RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), etc, have all angered US imperialism. China has also built up its military power in this period and has challenged US attempts to militarily blackmail it, particularly in the South China Sea and neighbouring regions. Now it is even moving ahead of the US in the advanced technology sphere, especially in areas like 5G, AI, robotics and big data.

The rise of China has thus been a major thorn in the side of US imperialism, an obstacle to its unrelenting drive to strengthen its global domination. Although the US and Chinese economies are deeply integrated with each other, and although China has not launched aggression against the US, US imperialism has ratcheted up its campaign to put pressure and isolate China globally. US imperialism is trying to present its aggression against China as something that is in the interests of other countries and peoples. But there should be no doubt that this is a policy driven solely by its desire to ensure its domination over Asia and the whole world.

In this situation, there is a great danger facing the Indian people in the policy being followed by the Modi government to increasingly align with US imperialism in its pressure and blackmail on China. This is seen in many ways, including the Indian government’s ambivalent attitude towards US attempts to pin responsibility for the coronavirus on China, its open talk about displacing China in global supply chains in the post-pandemic era, and Modi’s recent phone ‘discussion’ with Trump on the ongoing border issues between India and China. This short-sighted policy will not yield any benefits for India. At the same time, it is greatly increasing the tension in our neighbourhood and embroiling our country in the aggressive, unscrupulous policies of US imperialism.

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