News Release

The “Demonization of China”


Diana Pei Wu is a co-founder of Chin Jurn Wor Ping (Moving Forward for Peace), a San Francisco area network of progressive Chinese Americans.

Kernaghan is director of the National Labor Committee, which has just released a report titled “Olympic Sweatshop: Speedo Production in China Breaks Records for Worker Abuse.” The Committee has also researched practices by Toys “R” Us and Wal-Mart in China. For further background, see: “U.S. Corps Blocking China Labor Law.”

Co-author of China and Socialism: Market Reforms and Class Struggle, Hart-Landsberg is professor of economics at Lewis and Clark College. He said today: “China is ostensibly communist, but it has more billionaires than any country except the United States. … There’s been a demonization of China as the primary cause of world economic problems. Chinese workers, it is said, are enjoying real benefits from their country’s ‘unfair’ state interventions, and their employment and income gains are coming at the expense of workers in other countries, especially in the U.S.

“In fact, Chinese workers, like workers everywhere, are facing hard times. The economy has become export oriented and dominated by foreign multinational corporations. Chinese manufacturing employment has actually declined in absolute numbers. Decent jobs are scare, social services are disappearing, and competitive pressures demand ever greater sacrifices. At the same time, a small but significant percentage of the population is growing fabulously wealthy. China isn’t the problem, our global economic system is.”
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A philosopher specializing in Chinese thought, Rosemont is author of several books including A Chinese Mirror: Moral Reflections on Political Economy and translations of Chinese classics. He said today: “I have the highest regard for groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and believe they should continue to do all they can to further improve the human rights record in China. But no one should be encouraging Bush to do this, for it would be seen as humiliating by 1.3 billion prideful Chinese, over and above the monumental hypocrisy in having one of the world’s great violators of human rights today complain about China’s abuses.

“I first went to live in China in 1982. I thought they should build hostels and welcome foreigners to visit inexpensively, in keeping with the egalitarianism the government supposedly championed. Instead, they built five star hotels. Partly it was a matter of the capital needed from Western companies like Holiday Inn but partly they bought into a certain Western economic model.

“While the Cultural Revolution was successful in many respects — it stopped the famines, provided enough clothing — the leadership over the last two decades pursued a plan of growth that virtually no one thought they could achieve, quadrupling the economy. But this came at enormous human and environmental cost. Inequality is stark and worsening in China, life in the countryside is very bleak, especially for women; only in China do more women than men commit suicide, almost 60 percent of the world’s total.

“Many hawks would make China out to be a grave military threat to the U.S., but consider, for example, some very simple facts: The U.S. has 12 aircraft carriers, China has none; the United States has over 700 military bases and other installations outside its borders, while China has none; 250,000 U.S. military are stationed overseas — not counting the mercenaries — but again, China has none. China has 100-400 nuclear weapons, the U.S. has 10,000. The Chinese have much better grounds for fearing the United States than the other way around.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167