Why is China justifying their bullying and policies by saying the US does it too? Is China trying to be like America?

China isn’t try to be like America; It already is like America.

But how can that be? Don’t Chinese people pride themselves based on the fact that their country isn’t the mess of chaos and instability that the Trump era USA is?

Well, yes – and no.

See, the biggest difference that China has with America is that their political leadership is much more stable. That’s pretty much it.

In every other way, China is basically the USA of the East. Let’s take a look at a few points:

-China and USA are the world’s two biggest economies

-China and USA are *both* (depending on whether some disputed areas are counted) the third largest country by area in the world

-China and USA are both very diverse countries; China by its historical interbreeding with other Asian ethnicities and USA by immigration.

-They are each other’s largest trading partners

-They each control their respective half of the world. All other Asian countries are massively affected by China’s policies, just like how all other Western countries are massively affected by USA’s policies.

-They are ‘frenemies’ with their smaller, less populated neighbors (South Korea and Canada, respectively). Both of these smaller countries are often the target of bullying by China and USA, respectively and have no choice but to yield due to the size of their power.

-Chinese state media is biased against Westerners/Americans. American state media is biased against Chinese. (see Tong Zou’s answer to Does Western media fairly report the news in China?)

-Chinese have a lot of nationalistic pride in their country and do not hesitate to let the world know how great their country is. Americans – I would say most used to be like this – but with the Trump administration being so divisive, less so these days.

-Both countries have leadership systems based on meritocracy. This stands in contrast to Japan and Korea where leadership is based on seniority

-Both place a high priority on security – the USA especially ramped this up after the 9/11 attacks – the immigration borders for both countries are amongst the strictest in the world.

-China is one of the most capitalistic countries in the world, probably even more than the US. This is demonstrated by the large income inequality gap that exists – the rich people are thousands of times richer than the poor people – the USA and China have probably the largest income inequality gaps in the world – a sign of unfettered capitalism.

-Another aside is that Chinese people dress like Americans. No, really. Hasn’t anyone else noticed this? Whereas neighboring Korea/Japan tend to dress up more and sometimes wear their traditional outfits (Hanbok/Kimono) for special occasions, Chinese people dress in the same casual style as Americans and do not wear their traditional outfits (Hanfu) for any occasion anymore.

-Again, deviating from the Confucian work principles and social cues of their neighbors Korea/Japan, more and more Chinese companies are adopting American style work culture. This includes more perks, time off, leadership systems governed by meritocracy rather than hierarchy, and none of the strict social cues that Korea/Japan has (for example, you don’t bow when you greet people, and your life isn’t controlled by your boss).

-China also lacks the other Confucian traditions such as the traditional ceremonies where the women would prepare all the food and worship their ancestors. This was all done away with by the Cultural revolution and essentially wiped China’s slate clean for a fresh start with their culture more and more influenced by the West.

So it follows naturally that China tries to be like the US more and more by ramping up their military, ramping up their nationalistic propaganda and using their economic influence to bully both allies and enemies. I’ve noticed that many Chinese people try to justify this by indeed saying that ‘Trump/America does it too’ and thus China is allowed to behave this way because America behaves this way. I’ve noticed Chinese tend to exaggerate and generalize how Americans behave (see Tong Zou’s answer to What do Chinese people misunderstand about America? ) but I think this is a symptom of a growing superpower.

Simply, the answer to the question is that China is evoking the US for its economic bullying tendencies because that is their right as a growing superpower, and it is their goal not only to catch up to the US, but to surpass it.


What do Chinese people misunderstand about America?

  • Americans != White people

almost 30% of Americans are not white. But whenever Chinese (or other Asians) think of ‘American’ they think of a ‘white’ person. You cannot generalize all Americans as this or that, since America is one of the most diverse countries in the world, even more so than China is.

  • Americans do not directly elect the President and they do not elect by popular vote. They elect their President using an archaic system called the United States Electoral College – Wikipedia which is quite different from any other democratic country. The Electoral College can in fact be quite undemocratic in that a minority of people (NOT the majority as in a democracy) can actually elect the President and this has indeed happened in 2016 with Clinton getting more votes but Trump becoming President. Furthermore, the votes for President are cast by electors, not by the people. The people merely decide who the electors *should* vote for, but in many cases like in 2016 the electors don’t actually vote for who they are supposed to vote for. It is more about who wins more states, not who wins more votes. So next time Chinese people want to talk about Trump being a result of the ‘failure of democracy’, it is incorrect because Americans did not directly elect Trump by popular vote, like in other countries.
  • Americans are not as nationalistic as Chinese think. In fact, more than half of Americans disapprove of the job President Trump is doing. How Popular Is Donald Trump? 54% disapprove of the President. Every mainstream news channel (except Fox News) and late night talk show constantly derides and mocks the President. This is in my opinion, one of the major differences between America and China. You will never hear about Chinese state media or a Chinese talk show mocking the President of China, Xi Jinping.
  • Americans are not ‘brainwashed’ by the media. In fact, the vast majority of Americans don’t even believe their own media. ‘Fake News’ Fears: 95% of Americans ‘Troubled’ by Current State of Media, Poll Finds
  • Not all Americans have an unfavorable view of China. Yes the number is higher now than before due to the trade war, but many Chinese believe that all Americans are brainwashed to hate China, and that’s just not true. In fact at one point (2006) the majority of Americans had favorable views of China. It is due to the recent trade war + increasing nationalism and hostility towards America from Chinese people themselves, that has caused this unfavorability to grow

  • Not all Americans own guns. There are a lot of guns in the US, but this is due to a large number of people owning multiple guns. What Percentage of Americans Own Guns? 30% of American adults own a gun. This is not a small number – but it also means 70% of American adults do not own a gun.
  • America != Western countries. Chinese people like to use America as a proxy for ALL Western countries, but it’s not true. All the above I just mentioned makes America quite different from Europe, or Canada, or Australia. I really dislike it when as a Canadian, our country gets grouped together with America as the same type of country, what a broad label and brush to apply to millions of people.

I just want to clear these things up. I see many Chinese people on Quora (obviously either overseas or using VPNs since Quora is not accessible in China) claiming that ‘Americans are like ___’ ‘America is ___’ American news is biased and brainwashes Americans to hate China etc. You cannot generalize Americans as this or that.

Yes there are a lot of questions on Quora that are basically trolling Chinese people or insulting China. You know what you should do? Ignore those trolls and move on. Don’t be a hypocrite and start insulting or generalizing Americans/America back. America is a very diverse country, that particularly prides itself on individualism, which means that everyone is going to be very different from one another and have very different opinions from one another. I don’t think its fair to take some online trolls as an example and extend it ALL Americans + ALL Westerners. That’s over a billion people on 3 continents (Australia is considered a Western country and is its own continent). That’s just ridiculous.


Does Western media fairly report the news in China?

No, but Chinese media doesn’t fairly report the news in Western countries either, so it goes both ways. There’s a series of finger pointing by Chinese people and American people each accusing the other of being brainwashed. Truth is there is no neutral media out there, a media, whether owned by the government like in China or owned by corporations like the West, all have their own agendas. They all put their own spin on the news to control their people via propaganda. That each side likes to accuse the other of being brainwashed is in fact, a sign of being brainwashed themselves. They aren’t being open minded to what the true purpose of media really is.

Also I have to say another point, which is that Westerners are not as uniformly ‘brainwashed’ as Chinese people think; if you look on Quora you’ll find many answers by Westerners who praise China, many Westerners who dislike their own country and/or head of their country (in particular Trump, which you’ll find that *some of the most upvoted answers in the US Politics section are negative towards Trump*). In contrast, you will never find any Chinese on here criticizing their country or Xi Jinping. Never.

‘Fake News’ Fears: 95% of Americans ‘Troubled’ by Current State of Media, Poll Finds In fact how can Westerners all be “brainwashed” by the media when the vast majority of them don’t even believe their own media?

As for biased Chinese news, here is one example ‘A cop said I was famous’: China accuses foreigners in Hong Kong of being ‘agents’ where Chinese state media accused foreigners who were just regular people trying to live their daily lives and just happened to be at a protest site when images were taken – of being Western agents.

Chinese people, please tell me: why do you think that Chinese media is fair and unbiased when it is controlled directly by the government? Said government obviously has incentives to twist the media so that Chinese people can act in the benefit of China; i.e being anti-Western, boycott goods etc to uplift the Chinese economy and take down opposing economies.