First, virulent racism and eugenics heavily inform Chinese perceptions of the world. United States decision-makers must recognize that China is a racist state, much closer to Nazi Germany than to the values upheld in the West. Most often, the Chinese do not even recognize their racism as a problem. They believe that racism is a Western phenomenon and that Westerners are obsessed with race. This obsession is seen by the Chinese to be a strategic vulnerability of the West, whereas China is not affected by racism.
Second, racism informs their view of the United States. From the Chinese perspective, the United States used to be a strong society that the Chinese respected when it was unicultural, defined by the centrality of Anglo-Protestant culture at the core of American national identity aligned with the political ideology of liberalism, the rule of law, and free market capitalism. The Chinese see multiculturalism as a sickness that has overtaken the United States, and a component of U.S. decline.
Third, racism informs their view of international politics in three ways. First, states are stable, and thus good for the Chinese, to the degree that they are unicultural. Second, Chinese ethnocentrism and racism drive their outlook to the rest of the world. Their expectation is of a tribute system where barbarians know that the Chinese are superior. Third, there is a strong, implicit, racialist view of international politics that is alien and anathema to Western policy-makers and analysts. The Chinese are comfortable using race to explain events and appealing to racist stereotypes to advance their interests. Most insidious is the Chinese belief that Africans in particular need Chinese leadership.
Fourth, the Chinese will make appeals to Third World states based on “racial solidarity,” that is, the need of non-white peoples to unite against Western imperialism and racism. Racial solidarity claims are easy for Chinese to accomplish since the Chinese can make strategic racist claims. For example, they can frame international politics in terms of a “racial balance of power,” and cast appeals to the Third World along the line of: now is the time for non-whites to dominate international politics.
Fifth, Chinese racism retards their relations with the Third World. Chinese racism makes it difficult for China to advance a positive message in the Third World, especially Africa, but also in Latin America and the Middle East. The Chinese have a hierarchical representation of looking at other groups, darker skin is lower class, and race matters. In this sense, the racial stereotypes of the Africans commonly found within Chinese society suggest that this population is backward and dirty, and prone to crime, particularly violent crime. These beliefs surface regularly in China’s relations with the Third World and these beliefs, coupled with clannish and ruthless Chinese business practices, generate enormous resentment in the Third World.
Sixth, Chinese racism, and the degree to which the Chinese permit their view of the United States to be informed by racism, has the potential to hinder China in its competition with the United States because it contributes to their overconfidence. This overconfidence is a result of ethnocentrism and a sense of superiority rooted in racism. The Chinese commonly believe that they are cleverer than others, and so may shape events in an oblique manner or through shi, the strategic manipulation of events. This conceit among the Chinese that they can manipulate others is supremely dangerous for Asian stability. At the same time, it is a great advantage for the United States to play upon that overconfidence. An overconfident China will continue to make the mistakes it is presently in the South China or East China Sea disputes. That is, making threats, issuing demands, heavy-handed shows of force, are generated by China’s overconfidence.
Seventh, as lamentable as it is, Chinese racism helps to make the Chinese a formidable adversary. There are three critical consequences that result from this. The first is the sense of unity the Chinese possess. Second, it allows the Chinese to have a strong sense of identity, which in turn permits them to weather adversity, and to be focused and secure confidence that the rest of the nation is with them. Third, China is not plagued by self-doubt or guilt about its past.
Eight, the Chinese are never going to go through a civil rights movement like the United States. This is because, first, they have no freedom of the press, freedom to petition their government, freedom to assemble, all of which are necessary to support a civil rights movement. Second, there is no political drive or consciousness for equality in Chinese thought. Equality is associated with Maoism and rejected in today’s China, where inequality is accepted and celebrated. In addition, there is no notion of civil rights in Chinese political thought or, practically, in jurisprudence.
Ninth, China’s treatment of Christians and ethnic minorities is poor. The government recognizes that religion is able to do many positive acts in a society, and they do see the need for people to have a moral, religious grounding provided by religion since a moral framework may be lost in the demands of a market economy. The current debate is an echo of the one they had in the 1800s, how do they preserve the essence of what is Chinese in an era dominated by Western ideas. Yet, the government is fearful of religion in the sense that uncontrolled religion may be a threat; a challenge to Beijing’s authority. Not surprisingly, the treatment of ethnic minorities is equally bad.