On October 4, 2018, Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech on the administration's China policy at Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. His remarks were quite hostile towards China. It is unusual that such a speech comes from the nation's second highest office. He went back to historical events dating back more than a century (the Boxer Indemnity in the early 20th century). He also said the U.S. brought China into the World Trade Organization in 2001, and China's economy has grown 9-fold since. But to the disappointment of the U.S., China failed to change its political system to a democracy.
Were the contents of Pence's speech fair and accurate? Let us hear the response to Pence's speech from Ms. Huang Zhi-Xian, a political talk show host in Taiwan. The following is the English translation of what was published by China Times in Taiwan on October 7th :
Your Excellency Mr. Vice President, on the eve of the mid-term election, it is really regrettable that the United States is blaming and slandering China in disregard of the facts.
You are obviously not aware of the true and complete history, or deliberately not mentioning it. China has never owed anything to the United States, and it has plenty of goodwill for the United States.
In history, the cooperation between China and the United States has always been beneficial to the peace of mankind, and the United States has been benefited from it greatly. When China was invaded by the world powers a little over a century ago, it was almost carved up. Despite the fact that the United States was vast and rich, it was not absent. When the United Kingdom obtained the concession in Tianjin, the United States also got a concession. Too lazy to use it the United States privately transferred it to the United Kingdom.
You mentioned the Gengzi Indemnity. When the Eight-Power Allied Forces broke into the Forbidden City and looted everything, China was also forced to pay an extreme high compensation to the eight Allied forces, a total of 450 million taels of silver. This was China's five-year fiscal revenue. Although the United States did not send troops, it actually got 7.32% of the total compensation. The Indemnity was the deadliest knifing at the back of an already weak China, and it was the blood and tears of millions of Chinese people.
The United States had a great vision in that its land expansion had completed at that time and, therefore, what the United States wanted was economic and trade gains and political influence. The president of the University of Illinois, James, wrote to Roosevelt: "If the United States succeeded in attracting Chinese students... then culturally controlling China is undoubtedly the most ingenious." "The way to manipulate Chinese leaders with knowledge and spirit."
In 1905, the United States’ Chinese Exclusion Act allowed Chinese people to boycott American goods. Within three years, US exports to China fell from 55 million yuan to 25 million yuan. The US ambassador to China proposed to "return a portion of the U.S. portion of the Gengzi Indemnity to China" to calm the anger of the Chinese people. The "Gengzi Refund" from the United States to China was actually returning the extra portion of the Indemnity the United States obtained by mistake. Moreover, China still had to pay the full amount of compensation on time, and the United States would then refund the extra portion to the designated fund in installments. China as a result had Gengzi students in the United States, and the Tsinghua University. But the United States spent most of its indemnity in the United States, expanding its long-term influence in China. It also repaired the image of the United States in China and further soothed the emotions of the Chinese people in reducing boycott of the US goods.
In the Second World War, Japan invaded China, and China was isolated and helpless. The United States did not reach out to help. Even at the most critical moment in China, the United States supplied Japan with strategic materials. It was not until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor that the United States declared war on Japan. Even so, China still has not received reasonable treatment and assistance from the United States. The tens of millions of casualties of Chinese soldiers and civilians, and the blood and tears of a country almost totally destroyed, were not worth mentioning for other countries.
In the secret agreement signed by the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia at Yalta, sold out China. The Diaoyu Islands (Senkaku Islands, the Japanese name of the islands as Pence used in his speech) was the part of China since ancient times. However, after the war, it was not returned to China together with Taiwan. As the de facto occupier of the Island the United States gave the management right of Diaoyu Islands to Japan in 1971. Also, the United States maintained decades of silence about the extreme cruelty used by the Japanese 731 troops on live human experiments in Northeast China because Japan turned the experimental reports to the United States.
China suffered from foreign aggressions, civil war and various policy mistakes, and has only gained stability in recent years. The country has not unified yet. We still have many deficiencies in various fields. Since the reform and opening up, the gaining of wealth by the 1.4 billion people has been the first in human history. We treasure it very much.
China’s stability and security today is not acquired by aggression or colonization. It was the result of the wisdom, sacrifice and diligence of our people. The United States has also gained tremendous benefits from the hard work and rise of China. The Chinese bought 30% of the iPhones. Each iPhone is sold for hundreds of dollars. China took a mere $10 for the assembly of it while the U.S. takes the lion share of the rest.
Human civilization has different development paths. Among all the nations and countries that have been invaded by the Western powers, why can China embark on a unique road to prosperity? The road to democracy must be well planned to suit the country's unique conditions. The large number of countries that have been devastated in the name of democracy is a mirror of blood and tears.
Today China still lags the United States in many aspects. We will redouble our efforts to make the people happy and prosperous. But the measure of China's accomplishments should not be by the standards of the United States. We understand that the United States in maintaining global hegemony has viewed China's rise negatively. In order to suppress China, the United States has launched a three-dimensional, all-round containment against China. But this is unwise, because God is not pleased with the hegemonic domination and oppression by the United States or other powers. The Chinese-style "achieve oneself and benefit others" would not only be more beneficial to mankind, but also more pleasing to God.
*Editor’s note: Dr Wordman's article originally scheduled to be published in this issue is instead published on our website, US-China Forum.com.