Recently in the United States, the Boston subway authority decided to allocate $567 million to update its aging fleet, replacing their trains with 284 cars produced by the state-owned China CNR Corporation. Several South Korean, Japanese and Canadian manufacturers were outbid by CNR Corporation because they could not compete with the Chinese company on price. This is the first time that Chinese subway equipment will be used in the U.S. market, and it is a symbolic moment for those Chinese companies who are looking to expand their business into overseas territories. However, some Americans view China’s rising competitiveness as a threat and, as always, are seeking ways to obstruct it.
Aiming to discredit CNR, the Associated Press ran an interview with Chai Ling, one of China’s democratic activists and a student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. In the interview, Chai speaks of how she has no taste for China, and how she backed U.S. conservatives in the fight against Chinese exports to the United States. This is a clear demonstration that, not only does she show allegiance to the United States, but when it comes to the positive side of China or any other country out there, she considers that as being for the birds.
In the Boston Herald, Chai said the deal with CNR would be leaving a “bloody record” in Massachusetts history. By choosing CNR for the contract, the Massachusetts governor had made an “ignorant and wrongful decision,” she said. Chai reasoned that because CNR is a state-owned enterprise, its revenue will become the Chinese government’s revenue, and it therefore potentially “strengthens a regime of continuing oppressing [sic] its own people.”
American dissent toward China has affected not only Chinese state-owned enterprises, but also other private Chinese enterprises that conduct business in the United States; for example, the electronics firm Huawei. American conservatives repeatedly use political defamation tactics to subvert and block these Chinese companies from gaining ground in the U.S. market. Pulling out a long since marginalized democratic activist in exile to make a political comment might almost be considered a gimmick, if it wasn’t such an already threadbare tactic in the United States.
But Chai Ling’s role here is definitely noteworthy. She was one of the student leaders that gained prominence in the political turmoil of 1989, and who then went on to persuade a great number of people to sympathize with her cause. Now, it seems she is helping U.S. conservatives block the movement of China’s bulk exports to the U.S., the results of which have been damaging to Chinese businesses and their employees. In fact, her viciousness has been even more hawkish than the usual flock of anti-China hawks. Her actions clearly demonstrate the typical attitudes and modus operandi of these so-called U.S. democratic activists.
Times have changed, and one would have thought that these democratic activists in exile would have grown up and matured by now. Instead, it seems that many among them are determined to behave like enemies of the Chinese people. Chai has given us a poignant example with her earnest efforts to see Chinese enterprises lose out to businesses from other countries, and her desire to see China CNR’s deal collapse. In fact, it beggars belief as to how so much hatred can turn a woman so crazy.
This is true of all long-term political exiles in the West. They have absolutely nothing to do with China’s development, and if we say that they do, then it is only by way of showing how they serve as an example of development’s opposite. The greater China becomes, the more it makes the activism of those like Chai look foolish in retrospect. And as the West now has no option but to go along with China to develop trade relationships, these activists will only be increasingly marginalized. Only if China’s development hits a snag in the future – and even then it would need to be a rather big snag – will we even be able to suggest that their doomsday prophecies hold a grain of truth. Until then, they will live on the fringe waiting for their fortunes to change.
Those living in China today are living in a land of destiny and great prosperity. It is now painfully obvious to us that even should the Chinese mainland incur setbacks or a reversal of fortune, then not only would some other countries be quite happy, but even those activists in exile claiming to be struggling for Chinese democracy will delight in the bad news.
It is a universal truth that people often wear a multitude of masks, and sometimes it is difficult for us to discern who they truly are. The “Occupy Central” movement that is presently unfolding in Hong Kong is one opportunity where we can observe the true nature of these people. We will be eager to see who among them steps up to speak against CNR’s exports to the United States.
Editor’s note: The author is a Global Times commentator.
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