It all began with relocating American and generally Western industry to China. Western businessmen could not believe their luck: China, the largest market in the world, was there for them to reap a handsome profit from; China, the largest reservoir of cheap labour was there for them to exploit. Little thought seems to have been given to American national security. The Middle Kingdom, however, had its own agenda. It aimed at using Western technologies to elevate itself and strengthen its international position. With the Soviet Union gone, China has gradually emerged as Washington’s new contestant. Before the Americans noticed that some of the best of their technology has been transferred to or stolen by the Chinese, before they noticed that by outsourcing manufacture to this Asian tiger they have impoverished and numerically diminished their middle class, within three or so decades the Middle Kingdom became the worlds second-largest economy. When eventually the American elites woke up to the problem, it was so aggravated that only a trade and financial war appeared to be the available option. As of now, China is being depicted as almost a rogue state, which is acting in bad faith in economic and financial dealings (the Huawei affair, the G5 technology) and violating human rights. Alleged Chinese involvement in the trafficking of human organs tops the list of accusations. How much of it is true remains to be seen? One thing is certain: when war breaks out – and we are witnessing the diplomatic and economic struggle between the two powers – the truth is its first victim.
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