Blasted for likening China to Nazi Germany

Former top aide Stephen Bannon is known for his anti-China rhetoric and spreading the China threat theory.
Former top aide Stephen Bannon is known for his anti-China rhetoric and spreading the China threat theory. PHOTO: NYTIMES

BEIJING • Chinese political watchers have slammed the comparison of China to Nazi Germany made by US President Donald Trump's former top aide Stephen Bannon in the controversial book, Fire And Fury: Inside The Trump White House.

The experts said Mr Bannon's comments that China is on the verge of becoming a new Nazi Germany betrayed the anxiety felt by the US elite towards a rising China, according to a report on Sunday in the Chinese state-run tabloid the Global Times.

"China is where Nazi Germany was in 1929 to 1930," Mr Bannon was quoted as saying in the book. "The Chinese, like the Germans, are the most rational people in the world, until they're not. And they're gonna flip like Germany in the '30s. You're going to have a hyper nationalist state, and once that happens, you can't put the genie back in the bottle."

Mr Bannon also called China "the real enemy" of the United States and "the first front in a new Cold War".

These comments were roundly criticised by experts in China.

"Bannon's extremist expression shows that the elite in the US regard China as a big threat to the US-led global order," Associate Professor Diao Daming at Renmin University of China in Beijing told the Global Times. "They treat China as a potential destroyer of world prosperity and stability and distort China's diplomatic policies."

Prof Diao added that such comments reflected the anxiety felt by the elite in the US who are concerned about the rise of China.

Mr Bannon, former editor of Breitbart, the right-wing news website, is among those who favour the US taking a tougher position on trade with China. They believe that Beijing is exploiting America's openness while keeping its own markets closed, according to previous reports in the New York Times.

Mr Bannon is known for his anti-China rhetoric and spreading the China threat theory, the Global Times said, quoting Professor Li Haidong at China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations.

For decades, the US has been providing investment and technologies to China. But as China rises to become a major global power, the elite in the US policy community are starting to call on their government to define China as a strategic rival, Prof Li told the Global Times.

Mr Bannon had previously urged the US and its East Asian allies to unify to constrain China's "frightening", "audacious" and "global" ambition. He made those remarks last December, during an event in Tokyo hosted by the American Conservative Union, Breitbart reported.

In his speech at the event, Mr Bannon also compared China to Nazi Germany and said that "all the high value-added manufacturing had essentially been taken by China". He also said that the US was really just a "tributary state" to China, according to Breitbart.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2018, with the headline 'Blasted for likening China to Nazi Germany'. Print Edition | Subscribe