China snub: How US ‘built wall’ to keep out competition from Beijing
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US president, Donald Trump, and China’s president, Xi Jinping, have in recent weeks been engaged in a multitude of terse, hostile, exchanges over coronavirus. The pair have grabbed the pandemic with both hands, attempting to detract attention away from their domestic handling of the outbreak.
Last week, the US appeared to enter a new phase of the blame game, as it accused China of hacking its coronavirus research.
US officials claimed that China-linked hackers were targeting organisations researching the pandemic, with the FBI disclosing it had seen hacking attempts on US groups researching vaccines, treatments and testing.
The US has long accused China of cyber-espionage, yet Beijing has repeatedly denied such allegations.
China has conversely attempted to spread a story about the virus’ origins that is thus far devoid of any evidence.
The Communist nation claims the US engaged in covert operations during the World Military Games last October in Wuhan, planting the virus via GI’s.
Trump, meanwhile, has floated the idea in several press briefings that the virus originated in a Chinese laboratory – a claim of which has no evidence or grounding.
This is despite the US national intelligence director’s office assertion that it has determined COVID-19 “was not man made or genetically modified”.
The coronavirus is not the first time relations between the two powerhouse nations have taken a visibly stark turn for the worse.
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The conflict – albeit mostly rhetorical – can be traced back centuries.
Veteran investigative journalist, John Pilger, in his 2016 documentary “The Coming War on China” explored the historical aspect to the bitter dispute.
He spoke to author and historian James Bradley who specialises in the US’ involvement with China since the early 19th century.
He said: “It was almost illegal for someone like me to know of Chinese for almost all of American history.
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“The Chinese came to America to mine gold and build the railroads, and the Americans decided we didn’t like the competition.
“So, in 1882 we had the Chinese Exclusion Acts which kept the Chinese out of the United States for about 100 years.
“So you have the largest population in the world that can’t come to the United States.
“So at just the point we’re putting up the Statue of Liberty saying we welcome everybody, we were erecting a wall saying, ‘we welcome everybody except those Chinese.”
Mr Pilger goes on to suppose that the framing of China today as a growing uncouth and sinister superpower is part of a long-standing propaganda campaign.
Earlier on in the documentary, Professor Bruce Cumings, a specialist in East Asian history, revealed how the US had built a military empire around the shores of China.
He said: ”We have China surrounded and we’re doing more all the time to try and keep it surrounded and deepen that containment of China.
“But China presents a fascinating case of a country that is independent.
“It doesn’t have foreign bases on its territory, its growing very rapidly not as rapidly now as it did for 30 years, but is still the second-ranking economy in the world.”
Similarly, Mr Bradley, “If you were in Beijing, standing on top of the tallest building and looking out at the Pacific Ocean, you’d see American warships.
“You’d see Guam is about to sink because there’s so many missiles pointed at China.
“You’d look up at Korea and see American armaments pointing at China.
“You’d see Japan, which is basically a glove over the American fist.
“I think if I was Chinese I’d have a little to worry about American aggressiveness.”
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