【文/汤姆·福迪 译/观察者网 宁栎】
【文/汤姆·福迪 译/观察者网 宁栎】
FBI-MI5 ‘Presentation’ Represents Extreme McCarthyism and Yellow Peril
By Tom Fowdy
In a speech hosted at MI5’s London Headquarters on the bank of the River Thames, director of the US FBI Christopher Wray met with his UK counterpart, Ken McCallum, where they proceeded to give a joint presentation on what they claimed heralded an unprecedented economic threat from China. In a style not too distinct from the likes of Mike Pompeo, Wray proceeded to make sweeping allegations that China “steals”, “Cheats” and engages in “industrial espionage”- claiming the country was on a mission to dominate the world by obtaining the ins and outs of every industry and then claiming their market share. The event was given uncritical and favourable coverage by the British press, even if overshadowed by the ongoing collapse of the Boris Johnson government.
This speech was nothing more than the accumulation of the worst racial, cultural and McCarthyist prejudices against China originating in the United States which has poisoned discourse concerning the country, as well as having accumulated in a tidal wave of racial hatred and the innocent persecution of legitimate Chinese scholars and scientists under the FBI’s notorious “China Initiative”- of which was also conveniently omitted from coverage of this “presentation”. Whilst everything said is either false or extremely exaggerated, its consequences will undoubtedly poison legitimate avenues of research, exchange, collaboration and business between Chinese and Western institutions.
Since the Trump era, the United States has longstanding utilized racial caricatures and prejudices against Chinese people in order to market support for geopolitical containment on the front of technology, masking it with the acceptable fa ade of anti-Communism. However, one can find that such prejudices, in particular the notion that Chinese people are inherently dishonest, “cheat” and “steal”, existed long before Communist rule in China. An infamous racist cartoon from 19th century Australia known as the “Mongolian Octopus”, published in a Sydney Newspaper, stands as a historical benchmark on how many contemporary attacks levelled at the “Communist Party” have evolved from racist discourse, the cartoon also depicting Chinese people as dishonest, cheats, thieves, deriding “cheap labour” and also attributing racial scapegoating for diseases. In this respect, little has changed.
Building upon this, the depiction of such activities by Chinese people as a global threat is known as a wider body of discourse referred to as the “Yellow Peril”, which frames China and its people as undermining “civilization” and the values of the western world. Again, in the modern era such discourse has evolved from explicit racism to masking itself around the banner of Communism, yet for all intents and purposes it is the same. The address by both directors as a whole was short on facts, but extremely fear on high, generalization, hysteria and the invocation of paranoia. If one listened to it without knowing this context, one might assume that no legitimate forms of interaction with China could feasibly exist, and it leans on the impression that every single Chinese person is pursuing subversive and illicit action in some shape or form.
What is worst of all, is this hate speech intentionally degrades and dismisses China’s achievements over the past 50 years and paints a falsified narrative that China’s economic rise has been at the zero-sum expense of the west (despite the fact that China authors more scientific papers annually, and publishes more patents annually than any other country in the world), a line originating with the Trump administration. It pushes the assumption that China cannot innovate, that China’s own trade successes are merely the product of theft or “taking western jobs”, that every Chinese person in the west is an agent or spy all acting as part of a coordinated conspiracy fuelled by ill intent, and that of course western countries themselves have never had any true benefits in engagement with China.
Above all, this joint address was filled to the brim with falsehoods, was hateful, inflammatory, unacceptable and thin on facts. Neither of these institutions, the FBI or MI5, are known for acting in good faith, let alone representing the interests and concerns of ordinary people. This speech will ultimately go down as a low point in the west’s relations with China and send as a demonstrative example as to how “western deep states” are deliberately cultivating an poisonous atmosphere of hate and fear in manipulating public opinion against China.