Last week a report from the US based media outlet Bloomberg stated that the Chinese military had implanted a small chip in the circuit of servers belonging to major American tech firms with operations in China. Among the 30 companies reportedly being spied on by Beijing, the US tech giants Apple and Amazon were among the most notable. According to Bloomberg the small chip was able to digitally spy on and steal the trade secrets and private data belonging to American corporation. There was just one problem with the story – both the accused and the alleged victims have stated that it is totally false.
Amazon published a lengthy statement by the company’s Chief Information Security Officer Steve Schmidt that refuted the sensationalist story in totality. Amazon’s statement called Bloomberg’s report “erroneous” while also stating “There are so many inaccuracies in this article as it relates to Amazon that they’re hard to count”. Apple issued an even lengthier statement listing the multiple items that Bloomberg “got wrong” in respect of both Apple’s corporate/security operations and its activities in China. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing also vehemently denied the allegations and expressed regret that China should be defamed so outrageously.
Even before the allegations were debunked, the timing of the infamous story’s publication by Bloomberg was immediately suspect as it coincided with US Vice President Mike Pence provocatively claiming that China is meddling in US elections. Thus, the entire barrage of Sinophobic allegations, none of which were substantiated by any evidence, speak to a new alliance between certain corporate US media outlets and elements of the US government with a clearly provocative agenda aimed at demonising China in the eyes of the American public.
But while for the last two years the world has witnessed a barrage of unsubstantiated allegations against Russia deriving from a combination of the US government, US corporate mass media and even the American tech sector, when it comes to the tech sector and other vital parts of America’s large private sector, the proverbial and literal buck stops at China. This is the case for the simple reason that while US corporations have comparatively few meaningful attachments to the Russian market, China represents a bedrock of modern American business dealings. This is the case because as China now represents a market with the world’s largest purchasing power parity (PPP), the Chinese consumer base is now more important to international businesses than the American consumer base. As China’s GDP will gradually outflank that of the US, the importance of China’s internal market for global businesses will become even more important in future years. Furthermore, China remains an important production base for scores of US manufacturers while China’s exponentially growing research and development sector is becoming an invaluable resource for innovative companies throughout the world.
Because of this, while many US tech companies have jumped on the Russophobic bandwagon, when it comes to jumping on the Sinophobic bandwagon of Trump and Pence, it is certain that the White House will face a great amount of pressure from the US corporate sphere to cease with these economically and ethically unsound provocations. Not only does the US Chamber of Commerce oppose Trump’s trade war with China, but recent events have shown that America’s big tech corporations have little appetite for indulging anti-Chinese conspiracy theories involving cartoonish allegations of corporate espionage conducted by the People’s Liberation Army.
Furthermore, US air carriers Delta, United and American Airlines have all defied Washington by modernising their references and codes for flights into Taipei in order to accurately reflected the One China Policy. Beyond the United States, other western corporations are also finding that having good relations with China is essential for business. In February of this year, the large German car marker Mercedes-Benz published an advertisement aimed at Chinese car buyers which quoted an India based anti-Chinese separatist. Quickly realising the offensive this had caused to their potential customers in China, Mercedes-Benz rapidly issued an apology and vowed to take better care to understand Chinese cultural characteristics.
Thus, while the current US administration is saying about China what the US opposition has for years said about Russia, the response from the American business community could not be more diametrically polar. Because US corporations have little to lose in alienating a Russian consumer base that they have always been distant from, companies like Apple, Facebook and Twitter have helped to stoke the flames of Russia hatred. But because US corporations would risk losing billions of Dollars by alienating Chinese regulators, Chinese customers and Chinese developers, researchers and scientists, the US private sector cannot afford to join Mike Pence and Donald Trump in heaping scorn on China in the absence of any evidence to prove a single malicious act on the part of Beijing.
Because of this, the anti-China campaign of the current US administration has already hit a major road block. To put it bluntly, while certain politicians think that the US can survive and prosper by pursuing unilateral policies of hostility directed towards China, America’s business community knows better – America’s business community knows the truth.