Not a Clash of Civilizations, but a Clash between the Civilized and the Uncivilized

By Jie, Yu | Comparative Civilizations Review, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

Not a Clash of Civilizations, but a Clash between the Civilized and the Uncivilized


Jie, Yu, Comparative Civilizations Review


Since the late Harvard University political science professor Samuel Huntington published the theory of a "clash of civilizations", the Chinese Communist Party has been using it to explain China's relationship with the West. This theory has become the Chinese Communist Party's best shield.

The Chinese Communist Party has skillfully transformed the difference of two systems, Chinese autocracy as opposed to Western democracy, into to a clash of civilizations ~ the conflict between the Chinese civilization and Western civilization. But as a matter of fact, the Chinese Communists cannot represent the Chinese civilization. Communist China's ideology and way of ruling are learned from the West, especially from the radical tradition rooted in the French Revolution and the Marxist - Leninist - Stalinist system.

Unfortunately, many scholars outside China have mistakenly believed that China has a unique cultural tradition which inevitably corresponds to autocracy. The fact is that South Korea and Taiwan both belong to the so-called "Confucian cultural circle" Yet, both have successfully transplanted the western democratic system into their countries.

Through public relations and publicity, the Chinese Communist authorities have camouflaged themselves so that they look entirely different from the former Soviet Union. This causes the democratic world to relax its vigilance and defense.

The Chinese Communist regime's penetration of the West far exceeds that conducted by the former Soviet Union. In the Cold War era, the Soviet Union was blocked behind the Iron Curtain; there were few links between the Soviet and Western economies. An average American family would not be using products "made in the USSR." Today, China is deeply embedded within the globalized system. A book by an American journalist published recently detailed a year of the author's refusal to buy products that were "made in China" and the many difficulties she encountered as a result of this decision.

On the surface, the West has profited from its trade with China. Western consumers can buy vast quantities of cheap Chinese products. However, fundamental values of the West are quietly being eroded: Who knows if the American flag flying outside your home was manufactured by inmates in Chinese prisons or by child labor?

In January of this year, I was forced to leave China. When I arrived in the United States, I thought I had escaped the reach of Beijing. However, I soon came to realize that the Chinese government's shadow continues to be omnipresent. Several U.S. universities that I have contacted dare not invite me for a lecture, as they cooperate with China on many projects. Thus, if you are a scholar of Chinese studies who has criticized the Communist Party, it would be impossible for you to be involved in research projects with the Chinese-funded Confucius Institute, and you may even be denied a Chinese visa. On the contrary, if you praise the Communist Party, not only would you receive ample research funding but you might also be invited to visit China and even received by high-level officials. In this way, western academic freedom has been distorted by invisible hands.

I believe that China is a far greater threat than the former Soviet Union ever was; unfortunately, now the West lacks visionary politicians like Ronald Reagan to stand up to this threat. …

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