英文

下一篇

Editorial﹕US white supremacy revealed in trade war

【明報專訊】THE Sino‑US trade war is becoming increasingly fierce, with the US increasing tariffs on Chinese goods and China announcing countermeasures and vowing to "fight to the end". As China has set courtesy aside and ratcheted up its rhetoric against the US, talks sprinkled with fights may become the "new norm". Diplomatic talks are volatile. Caution is needed to sort out the facts and guard against misleading superficial observations. The fact that the Sino‑US talks have reached a deadlock at the crucial moment shows Washington wants more than a reduced trade deficit. It is also aiming to restrain China's development, and under no circumstances will Beijing back down. The rise of China means there will be changes to the two‑century‑old world order dominated by the west. But it does not mean a "clash of civilisations" is inevitable. Rather, the problem lies in Washington's increasing tendency to view China's revival from the perspective of the clash of civilisations and even the racist angle of white supremacy. Such narrow‑mindedness will only drive the whole world towards an extremely dangerous situation.

The eleventh round of Sino‑US trade negotiations last week failed to produce any results. The silver lining was that it did not end in a breakdown. But it remains unknown when the talks will restart and one cannot rule out the possibility that we may have to wait until the "Xi‑Trump meeting" at the G20 Summit next month for a turning point. In response to increased tariffs by the US to 25% on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods, China imposed new tariffs of 10% to 25% on US$60 billion worth of US goods. China's state broadcaster CCTV released a hard‑line commentary emphasising that China is well prepared to fight. "Talk, the doors are open. Fight, we will persist to the end."

Trump and his administration have kept signalling that China "reneged on its promises". At the same time, Beijing emphasises that it has been "forced to promise" a lot, implying that the US's demands are insatiable — give it an inch and it will take a mile. After cross‑checking both sides' claims with reports by international media over the days, it is not hard to see the problem is that Washington wants to, by virtue of the text of the deal and the terms of the enforcement arrangement, bring China to its knees and force it to sign a humiliating treaty.

A report by Reuters said the US accused China of altering the text of the draft deal dramatically, deleting "pledges" that it will handle issues concerning technology transfer, intellectual property and so forth by way of legislation. However, if such terms were written into the draft by the US unilaterally, of course China had the right to demand their deletion. Regarding the arrangement of enforcing the trade deal, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer demanded a penalty mechanism similar to that against North Korea so as to review China's progress on making good its pledges, which is not the way "a typical trade deal" works. That demand is obviously a departure from the principle of equality and mutual respect. It reveals a hegemonic mentality of "I am entitled to punish you".

Kiron Skinner, Director of Policy Planning at the US Department of State, recently described the Sino‑US conflict as "a fight with a really different civilisation". She also said, by comparison, Russia is after all a member of the Western world. So the cold war between the US and the Soviet Union was only a fight within the family. The most provocative part of her remarks is not the observation that China and the west are from different civilisation systems, but that China is "the first great power competitor that is not Caucasian". That comment has in effect gone beyond the "clash of civilisations" thesis and turned the entire struggle into a rivalry between races. The racist overtones revealed remind one of the white supremacy theory that prevailed during the era of western colonialism in the 19th century and referred to coloured peoples disparagingly as "uncivilised, inferior races".

明報社評 2019.05.15﹕中美貿戰邊打邊談 白人至上態度堪憂

中美貿易戰愈演愈烈,美方向中國貨加徵關稅,中方亦宣布反擊措施「奉陪到底」,北京對美提高調門不再客氣,邊談邊打有可能成為「新常態」。外交談判風譎雲詭,需要小心梳理事實,慎防表面假象誤導。中美談判關鍵時刻鬧僵,折射美方不僅是為了縮窄貿易逆差,而是要遏抑中國發展,北京不可能退讓。中國崛起意味西方主導全球200年格局面臨改變,惟不代表「文明衝突」無可避免,問題是華府愈益傾向以文明衝突論,乃至白人至上種族視角,看待中國復興,這種狹隘觀點,只會將世界推向極危險境地。

上周的中美第11輪經貿談判無果,唯一好消息是未至於破裂收場,何時重開談判仍是未知之數,不排除要等到下月G20峰會「習特會」才有轉機。針對上周美方向2000億美元中國貨加徵關稅至25%,中方向約600億美元美國貨加徵關稅,稅率介乎10%至25%不等。央視發表強硬評論,強調中方準備充足,「談,大門敞開;打,奉陪到底」。

特朗普和美方不斷放風,指控中方「出爾反爾」;北京則強調中國「被承諾」了很多,暗示美方得寸進尺。若與外媒連日報道內容印證,不難看出問題在於華府想從協議文本和執行方面入手,企圖逼中方「跪低」簽城下之盟。

路透社提到,美方指控中國大幅修改協議草案文本,就技術轉移、知識產權等事宜,刪除以立法方式處理的「承諾」。惟若是美方一廂情願寫入草案,中方當然可以要求刪除。美方代表萊澤希特就貿易協議執行安排,要求採用類似制裁朝鮮的懲罰執行機制,「並非一般貿易協議」做法。這明顯已背離平等尊重原則,流露「我有權懲罰你」的霸權主義思維。

最近美國國務院政策規劃事務主任斯金納(Kiron Skinner)形容,中美之爭是一場「真正不同文明的對抗」,還說相比之下,俄羅斯終歸仍算西方大家庭一員,美蘇冷戰不過是家庭內鬥。斯金納最令人側目之處,不是她說出中國和西方是不同文明體系,而是她形容中國為「首個非高加索白人的強大競爭者」,這實際已經跳出「文明衝突論」,變成人種之爭,流露種族主義味道,令人憶起19世紀西方殖民主義時代的白人優越論,將有色人種貶為「未開化低等民族」。

■Glossary

renege (on sth)﹕to break a promise, an agreement, etc.

insatiable﹕always wanting more of sth; not able to be satisfied

hegemonic﹕showing control by one country, organisation, etc. over other countries, etc.

上 / 下一篇新聞