(AS PUBLISHED IN SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST 30.09.20)
"Why a US senator’s attack on Chinese writer Liu Cixin and Netflix smacks of nationalistic double standards"
senators, including Marsha Blackburn, have called Netflix out on Liu
Cixin’s comments on the Chinese government’s policies in Xinjiang. Yet
Blackburn, a supporter of Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’, is no friend of
Muslims in Xinjiang or anywhere else
In one orbit, you have a politician from Tennessee, in another orbit you have a science fiction writer from Shanxi. Though their lives have followed very different trajectories thus far, each has begun to perturb the movement of the other due to the dark tug of nationalism.
Marsha Blackburn, a US Senator from Tennessee, nominated US President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize, denies climate change and rejects the science of evolution.
Enter Blackburn, stage right.
Clearly, Liu’s view of his country doesn’t conform to the highly politicised negative narrative currently wreaking havoc with US-China relations.
Liu’s revulsion of terrorism, and his willingness to embrace strong measures to combat it, should not be unfamiliar to Americans in the post-9/11 era. Absent the play of nationalism, his law-and-order stance does not differ as much from Blackburn’s as it might appear at first glance
The real dispute is not in the realm of ideas but nationality.
For a Chinese to talk about China much in the way an American might talk about America is too much for an American supremacist like Blackburn to digest.
Blackburn’s jeremiad against China makes a specific mention of “involuntary medical testing, and forced sterilisation and abortion”, which is not surprising; one of her political ads falsely accused Planned Parenthood of being in the business of selling “baby body parts”.
Liu’s stated support for China’s one-child policy, elsewhere in the interview, and his implicit support for abortion gives the US senator all the ammunition she needs.
A master at manipulating indignation, Blackburn is playing the China card to rile up a depressed and confused electorate in favour of Trump.
Philip J. Cunningham is the author of Tiananmen Moon, a first-hand account of the 1989 Beijing student protests