US push to strip China’s developing country status an attack on development itself

The following article by Danny Haiphong, first published on his blog CGTN, discusses the unanimous vote in the US House of Representatives in favour of the ‘PRC Is Not a Developing Country Act’, which directs the State Department to seek the removal of China’s status as a developing country.

Noting that China’s developing country status is very much consistent with its per capita income (five times lower than the US) and overall development level, Danny demonstrates that this action is yet another component of the US’s broader strategy to contain China’s economic rise and geopolitical influence, and is driven by the US’s inability to compete with China’s rapidly advancing state-led economy. Other components of this strategy include the attempt to ban TikTok and the ban on semiconductor exports to China.

As Danny points out, the ‘PRC Is Not a Developing Country Act’ is an attack on development itself. “It is a warning to nations around the world that they risk economic warfare should their success be perceived as a threat to US hegemony.”

On March 28, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “PRC Is Not a Developing Country Act” by a unanimous vote of 415-0 in yet another demonstration of the solid bipartisanship that exists in the United States when it comes to containing and isolating China. Under the terms of the bill, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken would be directed to seek the removal of China’s status as a developing country from international organizations and institutions.

The United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank all recognize China as a developing country for good reason. China’s GDP per capita, while rising, is $12,700 or about five times smaller than the U.S.’s. China’s Human Development Index is 79th in the world. It’s committed to improving living standards for all people and has taken its commitments to the international community seriously. Of course, the “PRC Is Not a Developing Country Act” has nothing to do with facts and everything to do with curbing China’s development.

Ending China’s developing country status prematurely would come with consequences. The World Bank and IMF could rescind tariff preferences and low-interest loans. China’s carbon emissions target may increase and the time-frame for meeting them decrease. In other words, China’s development path would become more difficult, which is exactly what the “PRC Is Not a Developing Country Act” hopes to achieve.

The legislation represents just one example of where the U.S. has sought to rig the rules of economic development against China. In late 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden announced an export ban on China’s semiconductor industry to slow down its tech sector. 

Both the Biden administration and U.S. lawmakers are pursuing a McCarthyist witch hunt against TikTok with the hope that TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, can be forced to sell its shares to a U.S. corporation. This would further legitimize the U.S.’s demonization of Chinese tech over the past several years and eliminate a key competitor to U.S. tech monopolies such as Meta.

The U.S.’s attack on China’s tech sector sends a clear message: If the U.S. cannot compete with China, then it must violate every rule of the “free-market” to undermine the latter’s economic rise. A “China threat” narrative has been repeated ad nauseum by the U.S. political establishment to justify the economic sabotage and Cold War aggression necessary to pursue this goal. 

Ending China’s developing country status would give a much-needed public relations boost to what most in the Global South view as a purely fictitious narrative. China’s economic miracle has been peaceful and massively beneficial to the world. China enjoys robust economic relations with all nations around the world, and its leadership role in facilitating South-South development through the Belt and Road Initiative, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and other multilateral institutions has been widely embraced.

The “PRC Is Not a Developing Country Act” is thus an attack on development itself. It is a warning to nations around the world that they risk economic warfare should their success be perceived as a “threat” to U.S. hegemony. The world has become quite familiar with this warning. It has been sent not only in the U.S.’s economic aggression against China, but also in the use of unilateral sanctions against Russia and dozens of other nations.

However, the U.S. faces a major problem with its strategy to undermine development. The more it attempts to aggressively curb China’s economic rise, the clearer it becomes that the U.S. is the one taking a wrecking ball to human progress. Sanctions and economic war produce only poverty and instability. They compound the historical problems of underdevelopment imposed by the Western-led imperial order, now under the leadership of the United States. As economic instability has increased from U.S.-led sanctions, trust in the U.S.-led “rules-based international order” has also declined.

China, however, has gained the trust of nations in the Global South by developing robust mechanisms for South-South development. No U.S. law can change this fact. The proof is everywhere. Saudi Arabia is joining the SCO and eventually, BRICS. Brazil and China have agreed to trade in their own respective currencies, bypassing the U.S. dollar. These are just two examples in recent weeks of China’s leadership in developing a multipolar world.

China and several other nations are making concerted decisions to write a new story of development, one that respects the sovereignty and the right of nations to peaceful development. The “PRC Is Not a Developing Country Act” represents the latest attempt to keep the book of U.S. hegemony open at the expense of development itself.

One thought on “US push to strip China’s developing country status an attack on development itself”

  1. I am from Vancouver,Canada and i wanted to say that for a long time now the countries of China,Russia, DPRK,Cuba, Nicaragua,Venezuela and many more have been demonized and sanctioned to prevent them from having food, Housing, Health Care and other necessities of Life. many People who don’t have a good Political Conscience believe that these countries don’t care about their citizens. This is far from the truth and it is the US Gov’t with its Unilateral Sanctions and lies that make these countries unable to get the goods and food that they need.
    That will change with the Multi-Polar world which is been made at the present time. When countries work together there will be no Unilateral Sanctions or Threats against other countries.

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