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Pence’s history lesson doesn't tell the full story: Taiwan writer China Plus Published: 2018-10-08 03:23:55|
An article by Taiwan writer and television personality Huang Zhixian has criticized the accusations made by United States Vice President Mike Pence against China in a speech he made last Thursday at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C.
In the article, which was carried on Sunday’s China Times after the Vice President accused China of interfering in America's internal affairs, Huang said “China didn’t achieve its prosperity and stability today by invading or colonizing other countries, but by relying on the wisdom, sacrifice, and diligence of its people. And the United States has gained further benefits from China's endeavors and growth.”
The following is an edited translation of the article:
Mr. Vice President, it is really regrettable that you have disregarded the facts and slandered China, a friend of the United States, on the eve of the mid-term elections.
Apparently you are either unfamiliar with the events of history, or you chose to omit parts of them. China has never owed anything to the United States, and has always been full of goodwill.
Historically, cooperation between China and the United States has always been beneficial to world peace, and especially to the United States. When China was invaded and carved up by the big powers, the United States got a share of the spoils, despite having an abundance of land and resources back home. The United States later transferred its concession to the British, having been too lazy to manage it themselves.
Your speech touched upon the Boxer Indemnity. When the eight-power allied forces marched into the Forbidden City and plundered China, the country was forced to pay the exorbitant amount of 450 million taels of silver, equivalent to five years of China's fiscal revenue. The United States received 7.32 percent of this “compensation”. This was a knife to the back of an already decaying China, and represents the blood and tears of millions of its people.
The vision of the United States is far reaching. After it ended its territorial expansion, it started to seek economic and political influence. The President of the University of Illinois Edmund J. James wrote to Theodore Roosevelt: "If the United States had succeeded thirty five years ago…… in turning the current of the Chinese students to this country…… we should today be controlling the development of China in that most satisfactory and subtle of all ways, – through the intellectual and spiritual domination of its leaders."
The 1905 Chinese Exclusion Law caused Chinese citizens to boycott American goods. Within three years, American exports to China fell from 55 to 25 million yuan. The United States envoy to China suggested returning part of the Boxer Indemnity to China to appease the anger of the Chinese people. The refund was actually what the United States conceded to be an excess payment. China still had to pay full reparations, on schedule, before the United States returned the excessive amount to a designated fund to sponsor Chinese students educated in the United States and to set up the Tsinghua School. In this way it made sure the indemnity was still largely spent in the United States. Its long-term influence in China was increased, the image of the United States was promoted in China, and more importantly, the issue of China's boycott of American goods was addressed.
Even when China was facing its most perilous moment, following the invasion by Japan during World War II, the United States maintained its supply of strategic materials to Japan. It was not until Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor that Washington declared war against Tokyo. And in the Yalta Agreement, the United States was among the countries that betrayed China: Unlike Taiwan, the Diaoyu Islands were not returned to China after the war; instead, the United States put them under its trusteeship and later handed their administration to Japan. Washington even kept silent for decades about the horrific activities of the Japanese Army’s "Unit 731" in exchange for the results from its experiments.
Only after overcoming invasions, a civil war, and various mistakes did China gain a foothold in the world. But it's yet to be reunified, and we are still lagging far behind in many areas. But the prosperity brought to its 1.4 billion people by the policy of Reform and Opening Up is truly unprecedented in human history, and worthy of being cherished.
China didn’t achieve its prosperity and stability today by invading or colonizing other countries, but by relying on the wisdom, sacrifice, and diligence of its people. And the United States has gained further benefits from China's endeavors and growth. For example, Chinese consumers have bought 30 percent of Apple’s iPhones, but China only earns 10 U.S. dollars from assembling an iPhone that is sold for 300 U.S. dollars, leaving the United States with more than 200 U.S. dollars.
Human civilizations have different paths towards development. Of all the nations that have once been invaded by stronger nations, why is it that China has managed to achieve prosperity in its own unique way? The road towards achieving democracy needs to be walked carefully with steady steps. Enough countries have suffered from chaos and war in the pursuit of so-called democracy. These countries are good mirrors to use - mirrors made of blood and tears.
Today, there are still huge gaps between China and the United States. We'll intensify our efforts to ensure our people live better lives and that our nation prospers. And the benchmark for evaluating China should not be left to the United States to set. We understand that, due to its desire for global hegemony, the United States holds a negative attitude towards China's rise, and has tried to contain China, which is rather unwise.
God is unlikely to be pleased with hegemony and oppression by the United States, or any other country for that matter. By comparison, God would likely much prefer China's way, which addresses both its own development and the benefits of other countries - a philosophy that is surely better for human society.