China Has the Weakest Anti-American
Sentiment Among Non-Western Societies
Translated By Jingman Xiao
18 December 2012
Edited by Hana Livingston
China - Huanqiu - Original Article (Chinese)
American authorities, media and academics have recently been discussing the rising anti-American sentiment in Chinese society. They attribute the phenomenon to large-scale Chinese patriotism and nationalist education – a conclusion apparently drawn from theoretical analysis rather than practical research.
Unlike the animosity toward Japan, Chinese society does not have any deep-rooted aversion toward the U.S. China’s antipathy toward certain countries is basically related to the humiliation caused by invasion by Western powers in the 19th century. The harm America did to China was actually the least serious compared to the actions by other Western countries. In fact, the American government and its people provided China with massive support during the Anti-Japanese War [World War II]. Vehement anti-American sentiment developed during the Cold War, but it faded quickly, and the relationship between China and America was normalized by the end of the war.
After China’s Reform and Opening, Chinese people gradually became familiar with America’s democracy, freedom, rule of law, quality education, advanced technology, highly developed economy, and popular culture. Chinese people began to have a positive impression of the U.S.
When China is faced with social, juridical, economic and educational reforms, experts and media always refer to how the U.S. handles similar problems. The so-called “movement toward international standards” is to a great extent a “movement toward American standards.” One could almost say that the U.S. is more appreciated in China than in any other country, and that China has the weakest anti-American sentiment among non-Western societies.
But the affection Chinese people hold for the U.S. does not erase all animosity. Harm inflicted on China by the U.S. is a source of anti-American sentiment. Unfriendly behavior and damages to China’s national interests include the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia, the ongoing hostile military investigation along China’s coastlines, and standing in opposition to China in nearly all of China’s territorial disputes with neighboring countries.
For China, constructive American involvement in territorial disputes would be acceptable, to an extent. But, based on the situation in recent years, America’s involvement is hardly constructive. The “return to Asia-Pacific” strategy adopted in recent years is obviously intended to constrain China. Many Chinese interpret it as America’s reluctance to see the rise of China.
Because of the positive feelings that Chinese society has for the U.S., the antipathetic sentiments differ from those toward Japan, which pertain to historical grudges. Anti-American feelings run quickly hot and cold. In the past, quite a few American politicians favored anti-Chinese policy but later switched to a friendly stance and became “old friends of China.” Therefore, if the U.S. could change its anti-Chinese policies, the animosity in China would soon vanish.
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