The West has never understood China. Since Marco Polo, it has shrouded China in Orientalism and otherizing mystique. Centuries of the Chinese Empire ended with the overthrow of the Qing; civil wars erupted; the Japanese invaded; and a communist state rose from the ashes. America, threatened with the near-continental communist blocs of the People’s Republic and the Soviet Union, grew increasingly anxious about its status as the leader of the free world and fanned the flames of McCarthyist paranoia.
Seventy years later, a strong stance toward China still seems to be one of the few positions that crosses the partisan divide. Democrats and Republicans agree, for example, that Chinese companies have short-circuited the traditional route to economic development by aggressively stealing innovation from US corporations and research institutions.Continue reading “America, keep your China witch hunt out of academia”