Mr. Power is a social science teacher in an american high school. He happens to be assigned to teach a class with lower performance students who shied away from AP classes. In his class, he raised the topic why people can be brainwashed easily, the students poh-pohed his idea and did not believe him. Then he raised a bet with the class that he could prove his point within one semester provided the class would recognize and respect him as a teacher. The students agreed. Then the teacher began his process, first he requested that all students should address him as Mr. Power and answer him with yes-sir standing up straight. The students agreed and they began addressing him respectfully and answered with yes-sir.
Then a week later, he asked the class to stand up and stump their feet so the ashes would fall on the AP History class directly below them downstairs. The students started sporadically but with Mr. Power’s encouragement, the whole class engaged the stumping more rigorously and more synchronously. The AP History teacher came to the social science class to see Mr. Power. Mr. Power greeted him outside the class and shoved him away simply saying I gave them permission to do an experiment. Next, Mr. Power told the class that they were very exceptional and gained respect from other teachers and students. He urged them to pick a name for the class and pick a theme color for their clothing. The students enthusiastically obliged calling themselves Raging Hippos (RH4HR for Human Rights) and picked their theme color of all blue or all red. The class by “shame and blame” made every classmate to conform to this color code and a common behavior. Mr. Power then encouraged the class to show their presence by putting the RH (and hippo) logo all over the campus. The class did it vigorously and happily.
Mr. Power then praised the class for their unity and encouraged them to enter all class competitions to demonstrate their ability and power. The class did, they won in tug of war, they triumphed in water pollo and took the trophe of lacrosse using all means, rage and cheat included. The class dressed in the same color, spoke in same language and tone, and viewed others as an inferior class. Then, Mr. Power addressed them in class and congratulated them for getting a passing grade for the entire class, but he then said: “you had all been brainwashed! I had proven my point that the mass could be easily brainwashed.” A raging student, Tiger, jumped up and said: No, Raging Hippo will go on, you can not stop us, we will change the entire school. One student sheepishly stood up and said, we should listen to Mr. Power, but Tiger punched him on the nose and pulled out a gun and asked Mr. Power to agree with him. Mr. Power refused then Tiger shot him and then himself (a very sad ending!) Or Mr. Power agreed and the RH group went to the Administration building forcing the school superintendent to accept their demands (a truly dangerous scenario!).
The above story was fictitious but drawn from many facts to illustrate the phenomenon we are observing in our society and in our international relations. Think about it, the mass media have been able to change the mood of our society with their story reporting. Over a few events in a short period, masses could be raged to conduct violent riots. Think about Black Lives Matter and police brutality, was there any brainwashing? Yes, I do believe so. Look at our international relations, the mass media (with government coercion perhaps) can build a hate attitude against another country (and her people) with persistent fake news and twisted stories. Do recall how easily people can be brainwashed like the above story in a social science class. It is amazing in the real world, our China policy could be so easily and quickly changed by a few China haters occupying our government policy positions. What do they have? A few hate-China books written years ago with authors never setting foot in China.
The current US-China relations are so twisted and biased leading to a dangerous war scenario. Many old timer China experts are “shamed and blamed” if they did not conform to the current brainwashing wave. A few who would speak out would not be given opportunities. There was no honest and open debate on the U.S. China policy among scholars and citizens. When such ‘hate China’ bias being applied to academic world targeting Chinese scholars and students, the protesting voice is ignored or silenced. This is a dangerous phenomenon which should not happen in a democratic nation, but it is happening which may result in a sad ending or a dangerous scenario: Posing a danger to our nation and to the world!
Our current Secretary of State, Mr. Mike Pompeo, is like Mr. Power trying systematically to transform his students. With his experience as Director of Central Intelligence Agency, he admitted in a speech at Texas A & M University: “We lie, we cheat, and we steal.” And yet as our top diplomat now, he is declaring a “war plan” against China at a recent speech at the Nixon library with a purpose to white wash Nixon’s strategy of opening and allying with China to combat the expansionary Soviet Union (which was accomplished by the Reagan Administration!) Pompeo's another purpose was demonizing the CCP leadership in China. He tried to separate the Chinese people from the CCP, yet CCP is having a much higher approval rating from Chinese people than any of our Republican or Democratic Party ever received from American citizens.
Perhaps, Pompeo believes he can brainwash the American citizens easily, but it is a wishful assumption that he can brainwash the Chinese citizens to revolt against their government. The Chinese lives have never been better before. The Chinese people have more freedom than ever before. The Chinese citizens have traveled to more foreign countries than ever before. It is ignorant to think that brainwashing will work to collapse China.
China might have 'cheated' in business, trade or technology, but which country didn't? Just review the history of industrial revolution to the present, the Western powers cheated and looted in the worse way (including the U.S., U.K., Germany, France and others) and Japan cheated and looted just as badly. If Pompeo insisted on using brainwashing to establish a 'hate-China' policy, I could predict that it would not succeed. This is simply because that American citizens as well as Chinese citizens can do better than high school students by using factcheck when needed. The Americans and Chinese will not be fooled for too long. Therefore, I may conclude that a China policy based on brainwashing will not work but put the U.S. and the world in danger.
Ifay Chang. Ph.D., Inventor, Author, TV Game Show Host and Columnist (www.us-chinaforum.org) as well as serving as Trustee, Somers Central School District.