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Scaremongering about China, as usual

排行榜 收藏 打印 发给朋友 举报 来源: 日本《日本时报》   发布者:TOM PLATE
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LOS ANGELES — It might almost seem like a game of geopolitical chicken: How far can we go in creating monstrous new fears about China?

We only have to turn the clock back to realize what is happening. The year was 1999, when the Cox Report on Chinese Espionage made red-letter headlines in the United States. The Chinese allegedly were spying everywhere, stealing U.S. technology for warheads and nuclear weapons. That China-born (or maybe just Chinese) lab assistant is probably working for Beijing intelligence. Better get an FBI man on him!

It was a pretty good gig for the U.S. news media. It took longer than I expected for cooler heads to prevail. Today, thankfully, even some of the marquee members of the Cox Commission sadly realize that they were being used for crass political purposes and that the whole deal was the hype of all hypes.

Yes, "Red" China spies on us — and we spy on them. The French spy on us, and we spy on the French. Israel has been known to spy on us, and we spy on Iran. And every nation in the world is spying on someone or other. Let's grow up.

The latest China scare has been of a less technological and a more family-oriented nature. People can easily understand toys lathered over with lead paint. Then there's foul seafood that isn't fit to be eaten even by fish. And then there are allegations about Chinese tires that are bummers and toothpaste that's not fit for human gums — and so on.

Alas, we haven't arrived at the end of the allegation-stream yet. Just the other day came reports of Chinese hacking into Pentagon computers. Exactly who the alleged hackers were in China and what the hack attacks were designed to garner remains vague, to say the least.

And what else are they hacking into these days? Your very private e-mail to a loved one, or our Visa and Mastercard accounts?

The thing about a scare is that it almost always provides very little fact or perspective. Whether it's the red scare under Joseph McCarthy, or the Cox Commission spy scare, or the seafood and Mattel scare today, there is so much media smoke, you can barely breathe, much less think clearly.

Before long, sensible observers will point out that every country tries to hack into the computers of perceived enemies and even friends. We should accept as a fact that the Pentagon and/or the National Security Agency has been doing a nifty number on Chinese military and government computers. (If they haven't, someone should be fired tomorrow!)

Don't get me wrong: Product safety and national security are important issues, not jokes for a comedy show. Every effort — on both sides of the Pacific — must be made to ensure acceptable quality standards. But tension always exists, especially in market societies, between the manufacturer and the place of sale. Safety specialists want quality as high as possible. Big companies want the profit margin as big as possible. There is always going to be a conflict of interests between these two goals.

That's where government should come in. The private sector — the retailers in the U.S. and the manufacturers in China, for example — should practice ethical business conduct, and many of them do. But not all will. What's essential therefore is good governance; we will always need it, for there is no bargain toy or free lunch if the toy is going to give up little parts that your kid can choke on or if the lunch is inedible.

Price is not everything. The Chinese, in their enormous export efforts of the past 10 years, have made a significant contribution not only to their own economy (by creating jobs) but to ours (by keeping prices and thus inflation down). Now is the time to add quality control, and that entails new costs.

There is no free government inspector, there is no free lead-free paint, and there is no nicely priced catfish if it is unfit to eat. The Chinese, for their part, seem to have recognized the grave stakes involved in looking unconcerned. They are reacting, but they could use more help, more sympathy and more cooperation from the U.S.

This means less politicking, less hysteria, less hack politics. It would be very sad to see the superpower of the 20th century and the potential next superpower of the 21st century going separate ways because of yet another unneeded China scare.

UCLA professor Tom Plate is a veteran journalist and author, most recently, of "Confessions of an American Media Man."
译文:日本时报 美国如常散播关于中国的谣言

  这几乎就像是地缘政治的“比胆大(game of chicken)”博弈:我们在制造新的中国恐惧方面会走多远?

  我们只需回过头去,就可以发现到底是怎么回事。1999年,在那年,关于中国间谍活动的考克斯报告(Cox Report)在美国制造了红色的大字标题。据说中国到处刺探,窃取美国的弹头及核武技术。那位在中国出生(或者只是华裔)实验室助理很可能为北京的情报工作。最好让中情局的人对付他!


  没错,“红色”中国侦察我们——而我们也侦察他们。法国人侦察我们,我们也侦察法国人。人们知道以色列人(译者估计此处的“Israel”或是“Iran 伊朗”的笔误)侦察我们,我们侦察伊朗。而且世界上每一个国家都在刺探某人或其他。让我们成熟点吧。



  关于恐慌的事情,总是很少提供事实或透视。无论是约瑟夫·麦卡锡(Joseph McCarthy)的红色恐慌,还是考克斯委员会的间谍恐慌,或者是今天的水产品和美泰恐慌,都放了很多媒体烟雾,你几乎无法呼吸,更别说是清晰的思考了。






  这意味着少些政治活动、少些歇斯底里,少些黑客政治。看到二十世纪的超级大国和二十一世纪的下一个潜在超级大国因不必要的中国恐慌而分道扬镳,这真是非常令人难过。(作者 TOM PLATE,加利福尼亚大学洛杉矶分校教授,是一位经验丰富的新闻从业者和作家,最近的新作为《一个美国媒体人的告白》(Confessions of an American Media Man))

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