Dear Access member,
The ever-worsening relationship between the U.S. and China is the subject of our top story today: The Xi and the Trump administrations continue to trade barbs over COVID-19, and every other disagreement between their two governments.
But it’s not just the governments. An army of nationalistic Chinese online trolls is attacking New Yorker writer Jiayang Fan for no real reason other than she writes sensitively about China for an American magazine, despite the fact that she has been the victim of anti-Chinese verbal attacks on the streets of New York. Meanwhile, in China, a Shanghai-based American businessman named Shaun Rein — who is notorious on Twitter for his ardent defense of even the worst of the Chinese Communist Party’s actions — has been tweeting complaints of rising xenophobia, and wondering if he will be able to escape to New Zealand.
Some highly respected scholars are worried. Today, SupChina published an interview with renowned political scientist Francis Fukuyama, in which he suggests COVID-19 might be the end of global democracy and peace. A major factor is the rapid decline in U.S.-China relations. Another highly respected scholar whose work focuses on Chinese politics, Minxin Pei, this week wrote an op-ed titled “COVID-19 is finishing off the Sino-American relationship.”
I can’t help thinking of the William Butler Yeats poem, “The Second Coming,” written in 1919, as Europe recovered from World War I and began sleepwalking into World War II. Here’s a fragment:
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity…
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Here’s what else you need to know today:
- Five sexual misconduct cases have been roiling Chinese social media in the last week. See our summary below or click through to SupChina for the full story.
- China began its Labor Day long weekend today, May 1, and will be on official vacation until May 5. Airline and road travel has spiked as the country enjoys the end of many COVID-19 lockdown measures. (See the links section below for various articles.)
Our word of the day is a world in chaos, or troubled times (亂世 luànshì).
If you tuned in, I hope you enjoyed the discussion between particle physicist and SupChina contributor Yangyang Cheng, Kaiser, and myself on our webinar yesterday. If you missed it, you can download a recording, or subscribe to our YouTube channel for the video of the event, which we’ll edit and release soon.
—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief