El Preocupante Nacionalismo de China

Los sentimientos nacionalistas han estado creciendo en China durante una década. Esto quizá no esté a la vista del presidente Bush cuando visite China el mes entrante, pero está ahí de cualquier forma.

De 1993 a 2001 una serie de encuentros abrasivos envenenaron la atmósfera: el abordaje forzado de un barco mercante chino (del que se sospechaba erróneamente que llevaba componentes químicos bélicos a Irán) en el Golfo Pérsico; los esfuerzos estadounidenses por bloquear la postulación de China como anfitrión de los Juegos Olímpicos del 2000; tensiones crecientes por Taiwán; el asunto de Wen Ho Lee (cuando se implicó falsamente a China en el robo de secretos nucleares estadounidenses); el bombardeo accidental de la embajada de China por aviones estadounidenses durante la guerra de Kosovo; y la colisión en vuelo de un avión espía estadounidense y un caza chino el año pasado.

Por acumulación, esos eventos evocaron amargos recuerdos del imperialismo occidental del siglo XIX, cuando los "diablos extranjeros" subyugaron y humillaron a China, tiranizando a un pueblo alguna vez orgulloso. Los ecos de pasadas humillaciones fueron claramente evidentes en un aguacero de populares libros antiestadounidenses publicados a finales de la década de 1990 con títulos inflamantes como "China no puede ser intimidada", "Los esquemas maléficos de Estados Unidos" y "Una China que puede decir NO". En esas y en otras publicaciones altamente vendidas se invocó el concepto gouchi -"humillación nacional"- del siglo XIX para expresar la justa indignación de China con los intimidantes imperialistas.

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