Published On: Thu, Feb 2nd, 2017

Sinophobia

Jacob Gelt DekkerSince Mao Zedong (1893-1976) turned Maoism, his personal flavor of communism, into an export product, his “comrades” have been all over the world and especially in developing economies to preach the new gospel. Mao’s belief was that only peasants were able to be the revolutionary class in China. Therefore he did not hesitate to exterminate more than 60 million intellectual elites in China during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

Mao's export model became a total disaster. For instance, Ethiopia under dictator Mengistu ( 1977-1991), leader of the Derg, adopted Maoism as its ideological, political inspiration.  During the same period as the Cultural Revolution in China, over two million people were assassinated by Mengistu’s regime in Addis Ababa, especially the intellectual elite, leaving the country to uneducated peasants. Ethiopia has yet to recover from the Chinese-inspired holocaust.

French-speaking Mali, following the same Maoist ideology and introduced Chinese reading and writing in schools to a population that was predominantly illiterate. A small community of about 3,000 Chinese ex-pats ran the show through about 20 state-owned companies and extracting whatever they could from the country. Eventually, it led to massive demonstrations and riots in Bamako, in 2005. The Chinese plunder of the poor and destitute country of Mali caused chaos causing local tribes to revert to religious fanaticism. Countless deaths from famine and violence resulted.

Deng Xiaoping reforms in the 1970s brought some change to the political and military ideology of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with a renewed emphasis on commerce and trade. In Sudan and Ethiopia, the Chinese became the most important players in the construction of infrastructure, mostly in exchange for oil.  Chinese are always insisting on their Chinese workforce and refusing local contractors.

It is no surprise that the dismal Chinese track record of over seventy years arouses deep suspicion in emerging economies, where China has found a new playground. Consequently, pure Xenophobia or Sinophobia, fear discrimination of Chinese based on their culture and race, sweeps the Caribbean islands and South America. For hundreds of years, the colonial history rooted deep-seated emotions of racism and generated a long legacy of discrimination and prejudice. Also, Sinophobia's underlying racist idea remains that humans can be subdivided into distinct groups that are different in their innate capacities and that can be ranked as inferior or superior.

Fascism, authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, is just around the corner.  The revival of fascism in the USA under Trump seems to give new life to these old demons that dimmed the lights of humanity in the 20th century.

We may have said, “ never again,” but it is already at your doorstep.

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