Han Dongping

Professor, Warren Wilson College

Han Dongping is currently a political science professor at Warren Wilson College, USA. He teaches East Asian history, international politics of the Pacific, comparative government of the Global South, politics of developing states, Chinese government and politics, agriculture, community and the environment and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. His major works include: China through the eyes of an overseas Chinese (Chinese Social Science Press, 2019), “China’s rural reform and its impact on China’s food security” (Journal of Labor and Society, 2018), “Human Rights in a Realist World — A Review of Sino-U.S. Confrontation over Human Rights” (The Oriental Anthropologist, 2004) and “Impact of the Cultural Revolution on Rural Education and Economic Development” (Modern China, January 2001). He also wrote numerous commentaries for China Daily and other Chinese newspapers in both English and Chinese. He was guest professor at Hebei University, Wenzhou University, and Nanchang University.

Cyclists and vehicles wait at a traffic signal light in Beijing, China on 21 April 2021. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

No one in the world loves the US as much as the Chinese? Not anymore.

China is no longer as enamoured with the US as it used to be, with its realisation that the US will never allow it to reach to its level and stand on an equal footing. Freed from sentimentality towards the US, China may accelerate its search for new partners to ensure its survival, says Han Dongping.
Soldiers take part in a drill in a military base ahead of the Lunar New Year in Hsinchu, Taiwan, 19 January 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Will American soldiers lay down their lives for Taiwan?

History shows that whether it was the Korean or Vietnam War, or the later military campaigns in Iraq or Afghanistan, the US rarely won the war as it was simply not their war to fight. With little real skin in the game, their opponents fighting tooth and nail for their homeland often got the upper hand despite being much weaker. Can the Taiwan case, if ever any skirmishes break out, be any different?
A man rides a bicycle as snow falls in New York's Times Square on 18 February 2021.(Kena Betancur/AFP)

Is America falling apart?

The US is doing a re-evaluation of several problems long embedded in its class system, culture and history. Han Dongping says that amid sharp divides in values and beliefs, every individual has a role to play to help resolve issues in a peaceful manner, so that the US avoids the danger of descending into civil war. But are the two major political parties ready to lead and take on the challenge?
People walk in Times Square in Manhattan, New York City, New York, US, 14 February 2021. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

Has the US walked into China's trap?

Han Dongping calls out the weaknesses in US foreign policy, explaining that its foreign policy missteps have contributed to the deep-seated issues it faces today. If having to learn from the past is not enough, it is as if the US has walked into China’s trap, getting mired in interventions while China watches and waits as the US slowly exhausts its power. If nothing changes, the impact on the US and the rest of the world could be catastrophic. 
A worker plants an American flag along the National Mall in Washington, DC, US, on 18 January 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg)

The poor in the US and China live different lives

With the Biden administration in place, some fear that the generous social welfare policies Democrat governments tend to implement will further deplete the US’s dwindling coffers. Even as some Americans have a knee-jerk reaction to what they perceive to be socialism, can the Chinese example offer any learning points for the Americans? How were they able to industrialise so quickly and move towards poverty alleviation?
A supporter of President Donald Trump yells at counter-protesters across the street during a rally to protest against the election results outside the Georgia State Capitol on 14 November 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images/AFP)

Internal conflicts will be the downfall of the US

US academic Han Dongping notes that the US is no longer in the leading position it used to hold, and it is finding it difficult to handle the challenges from other countries, especially China, not least because of its own domestic contradictions that are getting harder and harder to reconcile. It can no longer rely on old ways of maintaining order domestically and internationally. It has to come up with new strategies — fast.
Women walk past a graffiti depicting US President Donald Trump, the Pachamama (Mother Earth) and Chinese President Xi Jinping, in El Alto, Bolivia, 16 October 2020. (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

There will be no hot war as the people will not allow it

China has already flexed its muscles and shown that it can retaliate if provoked. Hence, although the US continues to play the devil’s advocate and wades into issues pertaining to Hong Kong, South China Sea and Taiwan, China will not fall into the trap as both sides know that the stakes are too high to engage in a hot war.
Visitors wearing protective masks walk by Chinese national flags and red lanterns decorated to celebrate the National Day in Beijing, China, 4 October 2020. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

The US is helping to unite the Chinese people and the CCP by challenging China’s core interests

The US has been trying to delink the CCP from the Chinese people, thinking that this will give them a clear path to defining a tangible enemy. But they have forgotten that Western imperialists were abhorred by the Chinese and any form of neo-imperialism would be anathema to them. The US may have overlooked the uneasy truth that nationalism in China is a firm glue that binds the CCP and the people together.
US President Donald Trump is seen behind US flags as he speaks to supporters at a "Great American Comeback" event at Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee, Wisconsin, on 17 September 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

Trump or Biden, the US is on a path of decline

US academic Han Dongping says that electoral politics in the US seems to have deviated from its original intent, which was to elect a leader that represents public opinion. The quest for power is now a game of thrust and parry by the elites and the wealthy, and is rarely in line with what the man on the street needs or wants. Is the “Trump or Biden” toss-up then just a false choice?