Photo taken on Jan. 20, 2019, shows former U.S. ambassador to China Max Baucus delivering a speech during a celebration marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-U.S. diplomatic relations, in Los Angeles, the United States. (Xinhua/Qian Weizhong)
"They knew it was wrong, but they didn't stand up and say anything about it. They felt intimidated."
WASHINGTON, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Former U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus said that the U.S. government's anti-China rhetoric reminded him of the McCarthy era.
"The administration's rhetoric is so strong against China. It's over the top. We're entering a kind of an era which is similar to Joe McCarthy back when he was red-baiting the State Department, attacking communism," Baucus said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.
"A little bit like Hitler in the 30s. A lot of people knew what was going on was wrong. They knew it was wrong, but they didn't stand up and say anything about it. They felt intimidated," he said.
Photo taken on April 19, 2019, shows Max Baucus, former U.S. ambassador to China, speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Penn Wharton China Summit in Philadelphia, the United States. (Xinhua/Yang Chenglin)
"And now in the United States, if anybody says anything reasonable about China, he or she feels intimidated, afraid his head is going to be chopped off. And back in the 30s in Germany is very similar. People who were responsible in the U.S. and especially responsible in Germany couldn't speak up," the former U.S. ambassador continued.
"I worry that some of that's happening now, and it's very dangerous. And I think it's in part because the Republican administration, Donald Trump, realizes that the economy is not doing well, probably because of the coronavirus and therefore they have to pivot, they have to blame somebody and they're blaming China. And it is very difficult to get back on track after the election, whoever's elected," he added.
Photo taken on Jan. 28, 2014, shows U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) testifying during his confirmation hearing to be the U.S. ambassador to China before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the United States. Max Baucus, President Barack Obama's pick for the new American ambassador to China, earlier promised to work hard to improve Sino-U.S. relationship, which he called as "one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world." (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
When asked about if his comparison between the current atmosphere in Washington and that in Germany in 1930s was "provocative", Baucus clarified that "I think we're moving in that direction, and I'm not saying we're there yet, but there are a lot very responsible people in America who know that this China-bashing is irresponsible, and we're going to pay a price the more it continues."
Baucus served as U.S. Ambassador to China under the Obama administration from 2014 to 2017. Before that he was a Senator from Montana for nearly 36 years.
As COVID-19 deaths continue to increase in the United States, some individuals in the Trump administration have tried desperately to deflect criticisms about their blunders by blaming China.
A screenshot of Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai's opinion piece published on the website of The Washington Post on May 5, 2020. (Xinhua)
In an opinion piece published Tuesday by The Washington Post, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai called on some U.S. politicians to end the blame-China game and focus on tackling the COVID-19 pandemic that killed over 74,000 Americans as of Thursday afternoon.
"It is time to end the blame game. It is time to focus on the disease and rebuild trust between our two countries. As President Abraham Lincoln called for 'the better angels' in his inauguration speech, I hope that the wisdom of preceding generations will guide us to choose the right side of history and work for our shared future together," Cui said. ■