This newsletter was originally published in Chinese on the Chinese-language edition of Meizhong Report. It covers the period of May 30, 2022 to June 5, 2022.
After U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave his China policy speech on May 26, the Chinese government accused him of having misperceptions about China, the world, and U.S.-China relations. In other words, perceptions shape views and views determine decisions. Grasping and understanding perceptions of one’s rival from the top leadership to the people at the bottom is particularly important in deciphering that country’s intensions and plans. From today, Meizhong Stories will produce a weekly newsletter designed to track China’s perceptions of the U.S. This newsletter covers commentaries on the U.S. by the Chinese government, select state media outlets, think tanks, and social media platforms.
Chinese Foreign Ministry
Since Blinken’s China policy speech on May 26, 2022, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has launched a coordinated attach. On May 27, Spokesperson Wang Wenbin declared that the sole purpose of Blinken’s speech “is to contain and suppress China’s development and maintain the U.S. hegemony. ”
On May 30, during a press briefing, Zhao Lijian said that Blinken’s speech “misrepresents facts with a long list of lies. The attacks on China mirror exactly what the U.S. has been doing. It is no other than the U.S. that poses ‘the most serious long-term challenge to the international order’. The ‘rules-based international order’ it touts is actually the ‘U.S. rules-based international order’, a hegemonic order to dominate the world with its own house rules.”
On May 31, Zhao told reporters, “The U.S. should earnestly respect China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests, and stop fabricating and spreading lies and rumors of all kinds to smear and denigrate China, and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs in the name of so-called human rights issues. The U.S. should face squarely to its deplorable human rights track record, stop acting like a condescending lecturer, and keep its own house in order.”
A day later, Zhao advised that how the U.S. increases its capacity for innovation and competitiveness is the U.S.’ own business. But “it’s ill-advised to make China an issue, still less to use this as an excuse to suppress and contain China, interfere in China’s internal affairs, and harm China’s interests.” He went on to say, “The three-point strategy is merely a rehash of its previous ‘trichotomy’ of competition, confrontation and cooperation. Essentially, it is about using all the internal and external resources of the U.S. to encircle, suppress, and contain China. As China-U.S. relations stand at an important crossroads, the U.S. must make the right choice.”
Zhao’s fifth criticism of Blinken is on the real relationship between the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) and the Chinese people. He said that Blinken’s speech is a “sinister attempt to sever the strong bond between the CPC and the Chinese people”. He goes on to say, “Any U.S. politician who knows the basic facts about China knows that our Party is founded for the people and nurtured by the people. Over the course of just several decades, China has completed a journey that took Western developed countries several hundred years. The CPC has grown into the largest governing party in the world. Its membership has expanded to over 95 million from just over 50 when it was founded. What is the secret code of the CPC’s long governance success? It puts people first and believes that ‘the country is the people and the people are the country’.”
Official Media Outlets
On June 1, Xinhua International Times published a commentary titled “What Have We Learned from Commemorating Kissinger’s Birthday“. It quotes from a song in an anti-American movie: “When a friend comes, there is good wine; when a wolf comes, there is a hunting rifle.” The authors says, “The Chinese people are sincere, honest, and open; they know what to love and when to hate; and they are not intimidated by oppression. China-U.S. relations are at a critical juncture, and the ball is in Washington’s court.”
On June 3, Xinhua published an article by Xinhua’s correspondent in the United States, Xu Jianmei, titled “Chinese ambassador to the U.S. asks three questions about the ‘original intention’ of U.S.-China relations.” Ambassador Qin Gang posed three questions to Blinken at an event in Houston: “What kind of world are we living in today? How should China and the United States, as two great nations, build their own countries and contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world? What is the right way for China and the United States to get along with each other?”
On the same day, Xinhua also published an article entitled “No attempt to contain China can succeed.” The article says, “All the uncertainties in the current Sino-U.S. relations are rooted in the U.S.’ perception of China. The U.S. should effectively ‘open its eyes to the world’, get out of its misunderstanding, rationalize its view of China’s development, and deeply understand that mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, cooperation, and win-win strategies are the right option in its long-term strategic interests, and move in the same direction as China to jointly benefit the people of China, United States, and the world, and jointly promote the noble causes of peace and development.”
On June 4, CCTV’s “International Review” published a commentary entitled “American politicians who claim to ‘respect’ the Chinese people should stop talking nonsense with their eyes wide open!“. The commentary says, “Blinken and others have ignored history, violated the facts and defied public opinion, engaged in ‘ideological line drawing’ and maliciously distorted the flesh and blood ties between the CCP and the Chinese people. How can they talk about ‘respecting’ the Chinese people? Their deliberate denigration of the CCP is tantamount to standing in opposition to more than 1.4 billion Chinese people.” The commentary cites a Harvard poll conducted over more than a decade in China. According to the poll, over 90% of the Chinese people are satisfied with the CCP and the government. It also refers to a report by Edelman, the world’s largest public relations consulting firm, which shows that 91% of Chinese people trusted in their government in 2021, the highest in 10 years and the number one in the world for a second time. This is strong proof that CCP is the people’s choice.
On May 31, Zhong Sheng of the People’s Daily published the sixth article in the series “The U.S. Should Deeply Review Its Human Rights Deficit”, “Letting Power and Capital Collude, Private Prisons Breed Human Rights Tragedy“, and on June 2, Zhong Sheng published the seventh article in the series, “Inaction in the face of ‘modern slavery’ highlights the lack of government responsibility”.
On June 4, Guangming Daily published an article by Liu Ming of the Human Rights Research Center of Nankai University titled “No one has human rights under U.S. hegemony,” saying, “The U.S. forced export of American-style democracy has brewed unrest in many countries and the biggest ‘refugee wave’ of the century. The U.S. has forcibly exported American-style democracy to other countries despite the huge differences between different countries in economic, political, and cultural aspects. It even instigated regime change, leading to lasting unrest in many countries.”
The Global Times is the platform that publishes the largest number of commentaries on the U.S. Here are the titles of some articles from last week:
1) Qin Jian: If the U.S. is wise, don’t try these things on China before it’s too late (May 30)
(2) Editorial: UN OHCHR should launch investigation into U.S. mass shooting (May 30)
(3) Zhai Kun, Rui-Chen Yuan: The U.S. economy gets cold but Southeast Asia takes medicine (May 31)
(5) Editorial: To engage in “critical dialogue” with China, arrogance or inferiority complex? (June 1)
(6) Wang Youming: What does it mean when Latin American countries unite to say “no” to the U.S.? (June 2)
(7) Yu Wei and Liu Huan: U.S. politicians still pretend to be asleep as “epidemic tragedy” plays out (June 2)
(8) Zheng Tao: The U.S. has created an “Indo-Pacific” quagmire, and it is better for EU not to get involved (June 2)
(9) Huaqiu.com: Whose veil of shame has Bachelet’s visit to China tears off ? (June 5)
(10) Huaqiu.com: There is no market for this kind of U.S. trick (June 5)
Chongyang Research Institute
On May 30, the Chongyang Research Institute, a think tank affiliated with Renmin University, released a research report, “The Great Siege: An Assessment of U.S. Policy Toward China and China’s Response Since the Russia-Ukraine Conflict”. The report said, “The Russia-Ukraine conflict has not slowed down the trend of full-scale U.S. competition with China. Recently, the U.S. has proposed an ‘integrated deterrence’ against China, and the pace of comprehensive strategic containment of China is accelerating. As of May 16, the U.S. has taken roughly 24 repressive actions against China in trade, finance, ideology, military science and technology, and geopolitics.”
On May 31, the day after the report was released, the Chongyang Institute organized the virtual China-U.S. Forum. Many scholars who study China-U.S. relations made online presentations, including Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges. The China Youth Daily published her remarks titled “It’s Fantasy for the U.S. to ‘Remove’ China from the World Stage“.
Social media outlets
Guancha.com’s reporting of and commenting on U.S. foreign policy and domestic development issues is one of the most intense and in-depth in China. This past week, it published the following articles related to the United States.
1) Shao Shanbo: “China has not used the leverage the U.S. is most fearful”
3) Shao Shanbo: “The essence of U.S. policy toward Taiwan from Biden’s speech”
4) China Think Tank Research Report: “The U.S. imposes a “great siege” on China. How can China prevent It?”
5) Tian Feilong: “Blinken’s speech and the fluctuating “addiction of the hegemonic power”
WeChat public platform
WeChat is probably the most influential platform in shaping Chinese people’s views of the United States.
The WeChat forum “Zhanao”(占豪) published a commentary on June 2 titled “Two Big Moves by the US and Taiwan!” The article states that the situation is dangerous, saying, “If the main goal of the U.S. in the past was to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, after the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian war, Washington will work to provoke military conflicts and even large-scale wars around China, so the United States will certainly accelerate provocations in the Taiwan Strait in the future.”
On June 3, “Zhanhao” recycled the report that “The U.S. Department of State Website Has Quietly Changed its Factsheet on Taiwan” and commented, “This change shows two things: First, it reflects a dilemma: the U.S. desires to change the status quo but is afraid of offending China. Second, the U.S.’ substantive support for ‘Taiwan independence’ has actually been very clear, and this will not change, so we should now have a very clear understanding of this.”
On June 9, POLITICO’s China Watcher newsletter released the following quote in response: “The State Department quietly walked back the recently adjusted wording on its Taiwan page and inserted the statement: ‘we do not support Taiwan independence.’ Zhao responded on Monday to the change by urging the U.S. to ‘stop using Taiwan-related issues to engage in political manipulation.’ The State Department didn’t respond to a request for comment and Taiwan’s diplomatic representatives in Washington, D.C. declined to comment.”
On May 30, the WeChat public platform “China-U.S. Focus” published an article by Professor Jia Qingguo of Peking University titled “As the Russia-Ukraine Conflict Continues, Is There Room for Cooperation Between China and the U.S.?” In the article, Jia Qingguo said that although it is very difficult for China and the U.S. to develop practical cooperation, there is still room for it. “First, both sides can urge Russia and Ukraine to cease fire and negotiate as soon as possible. Second, the U.S. could encourage China to play a greater role in mediating peace, rather than politicizing China’s actions in this regard. Indeed, China has a unique role to play in coordinating relations between the two sides because of its friendship with both Russia and Ukraine. Third, once the conflict is resolved peacefully, both China and the U.S. can play the role of guarantors, as both are capable of doing so.”
On June 4, “China-U.S. Focus” also published a commentary entitled “Blinken’s China Policy is a Flawed One.” It says, “The brilliance of Blinken’s speech is that it avoids conflict, emphasizes people-to-people diplomacy and joint development, and reaffirms that the U.S. is not seeking to change China’s political system. With the pandemic raging for two years, the war in Russia and Ukraine continuing, prices soaring, and economic development becoming sluggish, these words are more than capable of pleasing allies and the public and enabling the U.S. to gain a more favorable position in international public opinion. But linguistic embellishments do not conceal the essence of the U.S.’ intention to seek maximum containment of and change in China. Biden’s expressions of military involvement in the Taiwan Strait in Japan can no longer be explained by a ‘slip of the tongue’. It is naked provocations. The reference that Taiwan is cannon fodder for U.S. to contain China has nothing to do with the choice of tens of millions of Taiwanese people. It has everything to do with American interest.”
The WeChat forum on Political Science and International Relations republished an article by Professor Wu Xinbo of Fudan University, “A ‘Resonance’ between U.S. Sanctions against Russia and Strategic Competition with China” (this is also Wu’s presentation at the China-US Forum organized by the Chongyang Research Institute). He said, “The Biden administration has expressed its non-recognition of mainland China’s sovereignty over Taiwan by revising its website’s factsheet on Taiwan. This means that the U.S. is no longer pursuing a One China policy, which is the most significant and serious setback in U.S. policy toward Taiwan since 1972. After the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, ‘the defense of Taiwan’ has become the main driver of U.S. policy toward Taiwan. The Biden administration also feels that dealing with China on a one-to-one basis does not work, so it has proposed a so-called ‘strategic environment’ for reshaping China. This is pressuring China from the outside.”
On June 4, the WeChat forum “Niutanqin”(牛弹琴) published an article titled “The U.S. is upset because its conspiracy did not work!” The article, which was reposted by Xinhua on its website on the same day, said the U.S. hoped to turn the visit by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to China into an attack on China over the Xinjiang issue, but China was “really resourceful” and ultimately crushed the U.S. plot. However, the struggle continues because, “for the U.S., by not allowing Bachelet to visit China, the U.S. can attack; by allowing Bachelet to come to China, the U.S. can still attack; no matter what Bachelet says, the U.S. can attack ……”
On the same day, the WeChat forum “Buyidao”(补一刀) released “Exclusive! U.S. Consulate Official in China Said This in Private“. The report, which went viral in WeChat forums and groups, said, “Sheila Carey, then head of the Economic and Political Division of the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, and Consul Andrew Chira, told guests at a reception in 2021 that the U.S. government wanted American businessmen to ‘understand’ that focusing on Xinjiang’s forced labor, genocide, and violation of human rights is a ‘wrestling match’ and an ‘effective tool’ with the ultimate goal of getting the Chinese government to ‘completely sink into a quagmire.’”
On June 9, POLITICO’s China Watcher newsletter released the following quote in response: “The U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Tuesday protested the Chinese government’s amplification of allegations circulated on Chinese social media that U.S. diplomats in the city of Guangzhou described U.S. allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang as a tactic ‘to fight against the Chinese government.’ An embassy spokesperson urged Beijing to ‘stop attributing false statements to US officials or taking other actions that might subject our diplomats to harassment.’ The Foreign Ministry’s Zhao responded on Tuesday by decrying ‘despicable moves of smearing Xinjiang with political manipulation.’
What can we say?
First, over the past week, from official media outlets to private media platforms to social media, China has been “bombarding” the U.S. with criticism of not only the absurdity and shamelessness of U.S. foreign policy, but also the corruption and dirtiness of U.S. domestic affairs.
Second, most of the authors of the articles have an uncontrollable indignation and are over-confident.
Third, scholars have a rather negative view of the U.S. With the exception of Professor Jia Qingguo and Chen Wenling, few have seriously discussed how the U.S. and China should cooperate in these difficult times. Chen’s article talks about cooperation, but it is titled “It’s Fantasy for The U.S. to Remove China from the World Stage”.
Fourth, private media outlets are much liberal in commenting on America than their official counterparts. This is evidenced by the two articles “The U.S. Department of State Website Has Quietly Changed its Factsheet on Taiwan ” and “Exclusive! U.S. Consulate Officials in China Say This in Private“.
Fifth, of course we are merely presenting these outbursts, and the readers are entitled to their own analyses and observations.