US hack leads the charge against China

  • Economist Jeffrey Sachs who told of American hypocrisy in the Huawei affair is helpless against hatchet journalism and is feeding himself to the wolves
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2019, 9:57pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2019, 11:07pm

With the American prosecution – or persecution – of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and its chief financial officer, facts matter far less than optics. Noted US economist Jeffrey Sachs practically provoked a lynch mob in his own country after he penned a widely distributed opinion piece pointing out the obvious hypocrisy and double standards of the American government.

He listed 26 major financial institutions, both American and non-American, which have been fined for breaching US sanctions against North Korea and/or Iran since 2010: “In all of these cases, the corporation – rather than an individual manager – was held accountable.”

But, at a time when both the American liberal and right-wing elites have turned against China, Sachs is feeding himself to the wolves. And who is leading the pack?

“Did Huawei pay you for that? If so, do not you think you should disclose that?” wrote journalist Isaac Stone Fish in a tweet to Sachs.

Sachs may have advised many countries on reforms to lift millions out of poverty, but against hatchet journalism, he is helpless. Stone Fish has built a career on an anti-China journalism that is heavy on insinuation and low on factual content.

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Here’s one typical “guilt-by-association” op-ed in The Washington Post where he accused the Brookings Institution, the Washington-based liberal think tank, for being in the pay of Huawei. Brookings praised a piece of Huawei’s technology that was used by Chinese security forces. How nefarious! But in this case, it was actually real-time camera monitoring of a Chinese river that had become a major tourist attraction to prevent drownings and illegal rubbish dumping!

Formerly Asia editor of Foreign Policy, not to be confused with the more scholarly Foreign Affairs, its pages have been filled with supposed exposés of China’s influence operations such as – hold the presses – donations made by our very own Tung Chee-hwa’s China-United States Exchange Foundation to various US universities and think tanks. Well, what did the foundation do? It provides funding for research in the US – that’s guilt enough.

If the Hong Kong government were to adopt Stone Fish’s standard of guilt, we ought to label the Asia Society, of which he is a “senior fellow”, as an agency of foreign influence in our city. How ironic that the society whose laudable mandate is to promote East-West understanding has someone like Stone Fish among its ranks. And he is writing a book – on China’s influence in the US. What else?