In a recent Pew Research Center poll, 73% of the U.S. respondents said they have a negative view on China, and 26% considered China as an enemy. Against the backdrop of an economic and health crisis caused by COVID-19, harsh China rhetoric utilized in the U.S. presidential election campaign, and media exposure given to instances of Chinese “wolf warrior” diplomacy, it is no surprise that public attitudes are hardening.
However, there have also been intense efforts at “educating” the U.S. public, media, politicians, and dissenting academics about the threat China – or rather, the Chinese Communist Party – poses to the United States. This seminar talk focuses on representations of threat: the means and rhetoric the “educators” utilize in order to induce threat perception. Besides China’s material capabilities, intentions, rhetoric, and actions, the educators tend to emphasize the differences in ideology and identity between China and the United States. In so doing, they often invoke the cultural memory of both the “Yellow Peril” and “Red Scare.”