Overwhelming China

Overwhelming China


From fear of the so-called “Yellow Peril” at the turn of the 20th century to the evil face of Fu Manchu, via Dr No dressed up in Chairman Mao-style gear to current concerns about China’s global economic power, we Brits have not enjoyed a very healthy relationship with China.

In this insightful exploration of why we seem to have been living in a state of sinophobic trauma for over one hundred years, the broadcaster Philip Dodd traces the roots of Britain’s concerns. And he has personal experience of this, having set up an agency called Made in China to develop projects — some cultural, some business — between the two nations. He points out that we despised China when it was Communist but our feelings have not much changed since it became a capitalist force to reckon with.

Will our fears ever be quelled or is the “Yellow Peril” an incurable condition?


Philip Dodd investigates how anxieties about China have haunted British intellectual life for decades. He highlights the way modern-day worries about the global super-power's commercial enterprises and cyber attacks mirror concerns in Britain in the 1950s and 60s over the perceived Maoist influence on the Western counter-cultures of the mid-20th century, and traces these sentiments back to 1904, when anti-imperialist JA Hobson wrote of his fears about China's role in the worldwide economy.