U.S. no longer 'shining beacon' for Chinese: scholar

Chinese people no longer look up to America, but solving some of the planet's biggest problems requires cooperation from China and the United States, a Chinese scholar wrote in an opinion piece published on the New York Times website on Wednesday.

"After years of watching America's wars overseas, reckless economic policies and destructive partisanship – culminating in last year's disgraceful assault on the U.S. Capitol, many Chinese, including me, can barely make out that shining beacon anymore," wrote Wang Wen, executive dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, a think tank at Renmin University of China, in the article titled "Why China's people no longer look up to America." 

Wang said when he was a university student in the late 1990s, he used to soak up American and world news by listening to shortwave broadcasts of Voice of America and flocked to packed lecture halls with his classmates whenever a visiting American professor was on campus.

But the idolizing of America began to wane when U.S.-led NATO forces mistakenly bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1999.

And the disenchantment went on when many Chinese watched on TV the wars America and its allies launched in countries including Iraq and Syria, let alone the trade conflicts between China and the U.S. when former U.S. President Donald Trump was in office.

In early August, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to China's Taiwan region also sparked strong protests from Chinese. Mentioning the visit, Wang wrote it "has only further disappointed many Chinese, who saw it as a violation of U.S. commitments on Taiwan."

He listed tragedies the U.S. has witnessed through the enormous COVID-19 pandemic toll and gun violence alongside its political divisions, but said "none of this is meant to gloat over America's troubles; a strong, stable and responsible United States is good for the world."

Acknowledging Chinese students still want to study at U.S. universities and many U.S. brand products are popular in China, Wang wrote, "China still has much to learn from America."

"Solving some of the planet's biggest problems requires that we work together," he wrote. 

(Cover via CFP)

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