Is there a global backlash against China?


Author, veteran China journalist, and occasional SupChina contributor John Pomfret writes in the Washington Post that a “global backlash is brewing against the People’s Republic of China” at exactly the same time that Beijing is expressing “unprecedented confidence in its economic and political model.” The phenomenon he describes is captured in various headlines from Western news organizations from the last couple of days:

  • Chinese journalists may be required to register as foreign agents if the U.S. Congress adopts recommendations from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, according to Reuters.
  • The U.K. is also worrying about influence from Beijing. The University of Nottingham’s China Policy Institute asks: “David Cameron’s new China job: Is it time for a debate on the role of elites?”
  • New Zealand‘s deputy prime minister has called for an investigation into a China-born MP, who spent years working in a Chinese military college and is alleged to have “intervened in a sensitive national security vetting case on behalf of a constituent,” according to the Financial Times (paywall).
  • The Taiwanese government says a pro-China political party is suspected of spying on behalf of Beijing — see the New York Times (paywall) for details.
  • And of course, Australia has been, as the Times puts it in a new article (paywall), “thrown into turmoil over allegations that China is trying to buy its politicians and sway its elections.” Read more reporting on Down Under here on SupChina.

Pomfret also says that “the growing negative reaction to China’s rise belies reports that the United States under Trump is no longer capable of cooperating with America’s traditional allies,” citing the Trump administration’s joint WTO case with the European Union in rejecting China’s claim that it should be granted market-economy status, which would protect China from anti-dumping duties.