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Losing Friends
Educated Chinese are increasingly incensed by America's rising antipathy

Retired official Liu Anyi admired America in his youth. Stephen Shaver--AFP for TIME

Leafing through an album of faded photographs, Liu Anyi recalls how much he admired America in his youth. As a student at Beijing's Qinghua University in the late 1930s, Liu fell under the spell of several American and U.S.-educated teachers. He and his friends poured over Western books, enjoyed Western classical music and even began to opt for Western-style toilets over Chinese ones. He went on to translate biographies of Hollywood luminaries like Ingrid Bergman and Clark Gable into Chinese. Bring up the U.S. these days, however, and the mild-mannered former government official turns livid. "Americans have gone muddle-headed," snorts Liu, now 84. "If you treat China as a friend, he will treat you well and will never betray you. Treat him like an enemy and he'll fight back without hesitation."

The anger and suspicion that many Americans harbor toward China is abundantly evident. U.S. Congressmen and newspaper columnists regularly bash Beijing, and special-interest groups hold noisy protests whenever a Chinese leader comes to town. Less well-known is the growing anti-American sentiment among China's foreign-policy-minded élite. And rising with that is a palpable sense of national pride. Says a Chinese journalist in Beijing: "The nationalistic sentiment is growing directly proportional to the demonization of China in Washington and the U.S. press."

In the view of many Chinese intellectuals, the U.S., with its vibrant economy and sole-superpower status, behaves like a swaggering global bully--brow-beating countries that refuse to toe Washington's line on trade, security and human rights issues. "When they can't get their way," says Liu, "they resort to sanctions or military attacks." Increasingly, Chinese view such American muscle-flexing as a direct threat. Niu Jun, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' American Studies Institute, writes in CASS's monthly publication, Pacific Journal: "Chinese decision-makers have practically concluded that the U.S. intention is to Westernize or dismember China." From the Chinese perspective, America can be not only arrogant but ignorant about the world beyond its borders. "Washington often overestimates its leverage on Beijing," says a Chinese political scientist. "They don't realize that on critical issues, the behavior of China's leaders is more conditioned by domestic issues, not to please the Americans."

PAGE 1  |  2


April 12, 1999

Difficult Mission
When Zhu Rongji arrives in the United States, he will have to traverse the minefield that Sino-U.S. relations have become

Madman or Messiah?
China's Prime Minister has always skated the thin line between success and disgrace

Line of Fire
Beijing would do well to admit its wrongs

China Button

This edition's table of contents | TIME Asia home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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