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Foreign Policy

Why the West is Hysterical

May 08, 2021
  • Wang Fan

    Vice President, China Foreign Affairs University

China’s success is attributable to the wisdom and hard work of the Chinese people. It is not a result of plunder or begging, nor a gift from anyone.

China has achieved its development peacefully, without colonial plunder or creating spheres of interest. With peaceful means, China has become the world’s second-largest economy with an economic size of $11.9 trillion and contributing 30 percent to global economic growth. Each and every achievement was obtained through win-win cooperation instead of using force or occupying another country’s territory.

We have conducted trade based on the market economy principle of equality, which is endorsed by Western countries, including the United States, and under the existing international rules established by developed countries. We have not sought to change nor overturn this system. Rather, China has been building and improving it. We negotiate with others and engage others in cooperation to achieve win-win outcomes.

When China was underdeveloped, we were seen as the yellow peril. Now that China has developed its economy, it is regarded as a threat. The accusation that it is always China’s fault is unfair and unreasonable. Has China really posed a threat to others? Has China ever sought the arrest of another country’s president for domestic trial? Has China ever conducted airstrikes on other sovereign states or foreign senior officials without declaring a war? Why is China depicted as a threat? If China is a threat in some way, it is a threat to hegemony and bullying.

On economic cooperation, the U.S. and some other countries should not forget that for quite a long time, the U.S. has been the more profitable party. China has to manufacture 1 billion pairs of socks or 800 million shirts to buy one airplane from the U.S. The added value earned by the United States far exceeds China’s profits.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Chinese workers in Dongguan, Guandong province, might earn 500 yuan — just $80 — a month, but they had to feed a family of five. By contrast, the median household income of Americans was nearly $3,500 per month.

Then why are some Western countries hysterical about China? Because China has undergone profound changes on a development path and with remarkable speed and scale that were not expected. China embarked on a unique path, a non-Western path and achieved fruitful outcomes. According to the Western logic, China’s path should not have been successful, since only the Western model would lead to success.

China’s change has not only had great ramifications domestically but also on the international community. Chinese wisdom and proposals have been supported by many countries, and it has made an impact on the international community. That, too, was not expected by the West, which is surprised to find that China has become a unique, influential and constructive force in the international arena.

This is unacceptable to those who have been preaching about the supremacy or superiority of the West. What they can accept is that China has always been weaker and follows the order of the West. They are accustomed to lecturing others or serving as a savior with the ulterior motive of enslaving others as inferior states. It is hard for them to accept developing countries as equal members in the international community. Therefore, they have been intensifying their efforts to contain or weaken China.

But times have changed. If they are still obsessed with their 19th-century mindset, they will eventually be abandoned by history.

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