March 31st, 2014
11:28 AM ET

Osnos: Playing with Chinese nationalism a dangerous game

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos about China's response to the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Watch the video for the full interview.

What do you make of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the nationalism – people worry about the belligerence. Do you think this is part of a kind of a new China, or should we look at the Malaysian Airlines response as a one-off, a very unusual situation?

I think what we see here is an evolving toolbox that the Chinese government is using. Xi Jinping, the new president, has used it very effectively. When he feels trouble and tension at home, it’s convenient for him to push it onto some of the political issues that they've identified overseas. And Southeast Asia, these territorial conflicts – with the Philippines, with Vietnam, and, of course, with Japan in the East China Sea – are hugely sensitive, and they can rally the public easily around those issues.

It's worrisome because the truth is this is a dangerous game. When you get the public mobilized around these issues, it can move in all kinds of different directions. So it may be targeted at Japan one day, but it can easily come around and start to focus on the Chinese the next day.

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Topics: China • GPS Show

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Joseph McCarthy

    Has Evan Osnos any notion of Chinese history, especially between 1835 and the present day? These people suffered tremendously and the West has no comprehension of this as they themselves never went through such terrible times.

    March 31, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Reply
  2. John Smith

    Oh boohoo, Joseph! So...1835 to the present day? I guess you're implying Western imperialism in China, hmm? Oh, they suffered soooo much, but not as much as the tens of millions of Chinese that died under the reforms of Mao and Deng. Oh, for that matter, let's (Western nations) rally around the fact that the Black Death wiped out over a third of Europe's population in 1347-48... and the bubonic plague originated in, you guessed it, China. Sounds ridiculous, eh? Back to your cave, ignoramus!

    April 1, 2014 at 12:06 am | Reply
    • Maersk

      Just how do you know that tens of millions of Chinese died under the reform of Mao and Deng? Were you kwok zucking in China at the time when it happened? I bet you had zucked tens of millions of Chinese kwoks and that is exactly why you are full of kum.

      April 2, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Come on John, have you any notion as to how the Western countries have made the Chinese suffer up to the time of the 1900 Boxer Rebellion? And how the West brutally put it down? I strongly suggest that you learn more Chinese history!

      April 2, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Reply
  3. marc

    Yes lets not hope they stir up nationalism, after all we never do that and wouldn't pick on them for these kind of things constantly.... maybe they'll drum up such a nationalist fervor that they'll invade a sovereign country and kill hundreds of thousands and throw everything into chaos based on some fabricated charges like WMDs! Gosh I hope they don't do that, that would be inexcusable, we would never do that.

    April 1, 2014 at 1:06 am | Reply
  4. No China

    USA should not play with Asia, as it did in the past. Asian nations, Chinese, Koreans, ..., have very strong industries, bigger corporations than USA, very dangerous enemies intelligence networks, ... what we got was: lost US jobs, 'dead Americans in korean coffins', bankrupted US industries, racial-profiling wars, and last but not least lost HONG KONG to Chinese ... that's why USA needs new Foreign Policy orientation: away from Asia – back to NATO and NAFTA core markets.

    April 1, 2014 at 2:41 am | Reply
    • Flip

      No China, Better get your facts straight. The U.S.A. Didn't lose Hong Kong. Those were the same folks that lost the U.S.A..

      April 1, 2014 at 8:13 am | Reply
  5. jeng

    Another rubbish and ridiculous so called expert from the west. Idiot talk and news from CNN

    April 1, 2014 at 5:19 am | Reply
  6. Wu

    China under the Communist Party is a hell hole. Nothing the West has ever done to China can compare to the crimes against the Chinese people by the CCP. The Chinese people need to wake up and break their chains.

    April 1, 2014 at 5:35 am | Reply
    • Wayne

      Western imperialism caused huge loss of life in India and China.

      When Mao took power in China, the Chinese people stood up, shook off the shackles of Western imperialism that had pauperized them, and now in the blink of an historical eye, China is on the verge of displacing the US as the most powerful country in the world.

      Under Mao the Chinese people doubled life expectancy, raised literacy to very high levels for a developing country, and regained their national pride through defeating US bullies in Korea, and then helping the Vietnamese people drive out US imperialism.

      April 1, 2014 at 6:33 am | Reply
      • RT

        Don't forget the tens of millions of Chinese that died under Mao's retarded policies. I am not sure how life expectancy could double with approximately 50 million Chinese being killed by the CCP. Let alone the millions of forced abortions. But, yay, the Chinese have propped up North Korea. What an great achievement for China!

        April 1, 2014 at 8:12 am |
  7. Wu

    Me no eat egg rrrolls. Me eat pepperoni pizza.
    Siyonada

    April 1, 2014 at 6:18 am | Reply
  8. Wayne

    This Evan Osnos is just making stuff up out the top of his head. Can't believe he gets paid for a few sound bites that anyone could come up with.

    April 1, 2014 at 6:34 am | Reply
  9. ✠ RZ ✠

    Wonder what our resident expert, Maersk, would have to say about this guy.

    April 2, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Reply
    • Maersk

      Maersk would have said that this kwok zucking kwok zucker is the same like you making a living on kwok zucking and swallowing kum.

      April 2, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Reply
      • ✠RZ✠

        There's a shock!

        April 4, 2014 at 3:06 am |

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