The Reason I Can in no Way Trust China
Da Nang, Vietnam, April 23rd, 2024.

Southeast and Northeast Asia don’t feel like a foreign environment to me. The only country I haven’t been to in that area of the world is Laos.

Among the SE and NE Asian countries that I've been to, the ones that have the most affinity between them in terms of similar ethnicity, traditions and religious beliefs are China, South Korea, Japan, and Vietnam and among them, the friendliest people toward Westerners are the South Koreans, closely followed by the Vietnamese.

The Japanese tend to be a bit distant and it is not easy to establish meaningful communication with them, while the Chinese are a mixture of characters. Some Chinese are easily approachable and responsive, some couldn’t care less about relating to foreigners, and some others can even be a bit hostile toward English-speaking visitors.

But there is one very important trait that the Chinese have that most other Asians don’t. Once you have established a certain minimal trust with them, most Chinese end up telling you that one day China will tell the rest of the world what to do.

Chinese civilization is one of the oldest in the world, dating from before the year 2,000 B.C. They used to call themselves “The Middle Kingdom”, or Center of the Earth, as their civilization was preponderant over the minor civilizations in their vicinity. But then, around the 1630s, the English started coming to China and in a matter of decades showed the Chinese that English civilization was much more advanced than theirs.

Meanwhile, the Japanese, with their superior military capabilities, prevailed over the Chinese in the first Sino-Japanese war of 1894-95 and then took control of the Chinese Northeastern Region of Manchuria in 1931. By that time, the German Second Reich (1871-1918) had already established some minor enclaves in mainland China, as had the French and the US too. Those near-colonialist situations made the Chinese feel utterly disrespected, even insulted culturally. For that reason, the Chinese still carry today a large chip on their shoulders.

Now, China is the 2nd economy in the world and their technological and military capabilities only keep growing as time unfolds.

Overall, Sino-American relations are not clouded with much hostility, but don’t involve much trust either. And we all know of the very thin separation, if any, between the Chinese State and the general population. While teaching at the University of Nanning, Guanxi province, a few years ago, I witnessed how the young Chinese are indoctrinated into the so-called “Communist Party” ideology, which basically consists of instilling in them a blind obedience to the Party.*

The US State Department is quite aware of that too, which explains why since July 2021, Chinese individuals studying at Yale, Harvard and other major US universities have been subjected to interrogations, searches, and even deportation whenever they come back to America from China. There is very meaningful scientific and technological research conducted by the students in those Universities, including in the field of AI, and it is imperative to know how deep and collaborative is the relationship between those Chinese students and their government back home.

Recall that the one thing that the Chinese excel in, is in stealing and copying ideas and technology from wherever they can, particularly from the United States, so, all these precautionary measures appear perfectly appropriate to guys like me, who have lived in China long enough to have experienced first-hand the tight control the Chinese government exerts over all activities that take place within their borders.

Enough already of all that legal and illegal transfer of information and knowledge to the Chinese so that they can end up using it against us and against the Western world at large.

So, what's the reason I cannot in any way trust China? That the Chinese still carry a huge cultural chip on their shoulders and that they intend to someday prove to the world that they have always been “The Middle Kingdom”, meaning, the center of the world (Fat Chance) To read an article that elaborates on the subject, please click here.

* NOTE: Quite contrary to popular mythology, China is not a "Communist" Country. China is a Capitalist country (2nd economy in the world) governed under a non-democratic, one-party, authoritarian system quite similar to the system of government MAGA Republicans would love to put in place in the United States.