The accusation that I, or anyone else, may be promoting a theory of ‘yellow peril’ has always struck me as odd. The implication is that the fear is routed in racism where, it seems to me, the absolute opposite. Fear of East Asian civilisation (really China and a number of satellites that owe her their culture) is an old one and the racial language that was in common use at the time gives us the phrase. When they used it, though, it could hardly be regarded as racism. There was never real thought of a ‘black peril’ in times gone by, precisely because those that would write such a thing were racist and never saw such a thing as possible. The Chinese, on the other hand, were regarded as formidable. Similarly to the attitude displayed towards Indians, but to higher degree, Westerners spoke regularly of their superiority to the Chinese but found it a difficult argument to defend when they saw the ancient civilisation in the flesh. That is the origin of ‘yellow peril’; a genuine respect that the East could prove a match for the West.
This was exemplified in the staggering rise of Japan. No nation in history has modernised at such a pace. No nation has faced such an insurmountable challenge and risen to it so formidably. The defeat of Russia by the Japanese in 1905 was shocking and eye-opening for an increasingly arrogant West. China, vast and populous as it has always been, had to be seen as the sleeping tiger. The Japan that could never be. If a Meiji-style reformation happened in China, the West would surely lose its dominance in the world. The ‘yellow peril’ was, really, a sign of surprising self-awareness. The accusations of racism against it, that is the fear of a resurgent China, seem to me based entirely on two points. Firstly, the fact that it existed in the past and was called yellow peril. The dregs of the left don’t need a great deal more than that to damn an idea for eternity. The second, and more important, point is that they reject the concept of cultural difference, almost wholesale. They couldn’t argue that China is unable to compete with us for dominance; considering the evidence to the contrary, the only motivation for an opinion like that would be racism. What they argue is that China’s dominance would be no different from that of the US, that the specific fear of China is due to Orientalist stereotypes; tyranny, collectivism, brutality.
The problem with that argument in the modern world, of course, is that all those things are absolutely and undeniably true when it comes to the current People’s Republic of China. They are run by a one-party state, headed with a dictator for life in the form Xi Jinping. Their society is run entirely by the state, down to their businesses, all for the good of the collective. And it would require a very ignorant observer to miss the brutality in their behaviour towards Hong Kong, the Uighurs, the Tibetans, the Falun Gong and many other groups or individuals that have got in their way. And that’s just over the last few years.
This is, of course, not a racial issue. But race and culture have now been conflated so that one must accept every people as exactly the same or one will be labelled a supremacist. The truth is that, if the issue was just the CCP, it is likely there would be major tremors of revolution in modern China. But there isn’t. Nearly everyone you speak to in China, even when the discussions are in private or in the West, support the government. They do not reject the characteristics of the CCP that we would. The longer that the West refuses to accept that cultures are different and that Chinese culture is not at odds with communist party policy, the longer we will be waiting for a revolution that will never come and the more powerful China will grow.
Ironically, I think the lack of concern has its origins in ‘racism’, or at least Western supremacy. Whigs and leftists believe so confidently in the superiority of the Western system they think that any thinking populace will instantly desire it. They call Western culture ‘modernity’, and they expect that, as countries get wealthier and more educated, they will automatically succumb to this modernity. This, of course, completely ignores the rather illiberal nations that are already qualified as developed and yet still seem to reject our values, like Singapore, that still sentences criminals to caning, or the UAE, where blasphemy is still illegal and apostasy holds the death penalty. The argument would undoubtedly be that these are newly developed countries - that they are in some way still ‘backward’. The only good argument against that is the continued illiberality of Japan, despite being industrialised for well over a hundred years. As time goes on, Westerners will begin to see how slowly these countries are ‘progressing’ socially, despite their rapid economic successes, and will finally realise that our values are not universal. The only way to protect them will be to protect ourselves.
At the moment, we are struggling with two disastrous handicaps that are preventing us from doing so. The first is, of course, fear of missing out on the cash cow. It is very easy to blame greed for this behaviour, and it will be the motivation for some, but one must remember that, when politicians are trying to govern, it is difficult for them to turn down business from a foreign country, especially when none of the other countries in the West are. The economy suffers, unemployment grows, consumers miss out on products they want. The government looks terrible and the media goes in for the kill. It is the electorate and the media that need to be convinced that China is dangerous and must be stopped, thus giving governments the power to act against them without risking catastrophe at the next election. A united front from the West would also help this transition.
The second handicap was the subject of this article. The insane racialism from the Western left has incapacitated us. Their ridiculous accusations of racism have helped to ensure that Western nations have been unable to hold China to task. This would be bad enough, if it weren’t for the fact that the Chinese government is currently engaging in an ethnic genocide. They are so caught up in their race-based sociology that they cannot see the wood for the trees. The power of this sect, though omnipotent in all other arenas of our lives, is starting to wain on this issue, and we must make sure it isn’t just weakened but buried. The idea of us tying our own hands for fear of offending a totalitarian superpower is so ridiculous that it may even cross into amusing. I’m sure Mr Xi believes it already has.