Editor’s Note: On May 29, 2022, Meizhong Stories began to publish a weekly compilation of written commentaries on the U.S. from the Chinese government, official media outlets, think tanks, and private media platforms. It is intended to present China’s perceptions of the U.S. and U.S.-China relations in order to better understand China’s diplomatic rhetoric and policies toward the U.S., and to provide possible entry points for improving U.S.-China relations. The Chinese name of the newsletter is “What’s Up with America?”.
Government (Foreign Ministry)
On June 13, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin pointed out that, “although Defense Secretary Austin stated at the Shangri-La Dialogue that the U.S. position on the One China policy remains unchanged, the U.S. has shown inconsistent actions and words on the Taiwan Strait issue by spreading false information to smear China in its rhetoric and condoning support for ‘Taiwan independence’ forces’ persistent secessionist activities in its actions.” Wang Wenbin described the U.S. government’s actions as “ill intention to sow discord” and “the true nature of its hegemonic practices and exercise of power politics.”
When asked about the International Labour Organization’s call for a review of China’s labor policies in Xinjiang, Wang emphasized that “we protect the equal right of workers from all ethnic groups to seek employment, to participate in economic and social life, and to share the dividends of socioeconomic progress.” At the same time, he pointed out that, “The US and a handful of other countries falsely alleged that there is ‘forced labor’ in Xinjiang. Historically, it was in the US that the notorious slave trade thrived. Today, it is also in the US that human trafficking and forced labor have gone rampant.”
On June 14, in response to a Reuters reporter’s comment that “a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the US said on Monday that they have agreed on a proposal that would give the US government sweeping new powers to block billions of US investment into China,” Wang Wenbin said that “China has always opposed the U.S. side’s generalization of the concept of national security and the continuous strengthening of unreasonable investment reviews, which create difficulties and obstacles to normal economic, trade, and investment cooperation among enterprises of various countries, including Chinese and U.S. enterprises.”
At the same time, Wang stressed that “China is a most vibrant, huge market with the greatest potential. China will not waver in its commitment to expanding high-level opening-up, and will only open its door even wider. To invest in China is to invest in the future. By proposing misplaced curbs on normal trade and business ties with China, the US politicians will not succeed in blocking China’s development. Rather, they will be surrounding the US with walls and costing the US itself opportunities to grow.” In response to a Bloomberg reporter’s question on whether the Chinese and U.S. heads of state will meet or speak soon, Wang Wenbin said “both sides agreed that it is necessary and useful to maintain open lines of communication.”
On June 16, an AFP reporter said “the US State Department spokesperson expressed concern about it and said nations that side with Vladimir Putin will ‘inevitably find themselves on the wrong side of history.’” Wang Wenbin said, “On the Ukraine issue, China has always independently assessed the situation on the basis of the historical context and the merits of the issue. We always stand on the side of peace and justice.” At the same time, Wang Wenbin said that “the US reneged on its word, pushed NATO expansion eastward and brought conflict and confrontation back to Europe.” He noted that “China is committed to dialogue and cooperation for common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security and called for a balanced, effective, and sustainable European security framework. China has firmly opposed attempts to politicize, instrumentalize, and weaponize the world economy.”
On June 19, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a report entitled “Fallacies and Facts in U.S. Perceptions of China.” According to the report, with carefully calibrated language, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sought to promote the “China threat” narrative, interfere in China’s internal affairs, and smear China’s domestic and foreign policy, all in an attempt at full-blown containment and suppression of China. It said that “what the U.S. has constantly vowed to preserve a so-called international order designed to serve the U.S.’s own interests and perpetuate its hegemony. The U.S. itself is the largest source of disruption to the actual world order. Moreover, despite its claims that it doesn’t seek to block China from its role as a major power, nor to stop it from growing its economy, the U.S. is actually deploying its domestic and external resources to unscrupulously contain and suppress China.”
On June 16, the PLA Daily republised a Xinhua international commentary titled “China Has Enough Self Control Not to Fear American Provocations.” The commentary condemned U.S. Secretary of State Blinken’s recent speech on China policy, in which he attacked China’s domestic and foreign policies and made a lot of noise about the “China threat.” The commentary pointed out that “although Blinken took great pains to soften the tone of his speech with such rhetoric as ‘not seeking a new Cold War’ and ‘not against China,’ his true intentions of interfering in China’s internal affairs and trying to hinder China’s development were on full display. U.S. politicians continue to denigrate China, and their ‘ulterior motive’ is well known to all. By attacking China, they want to preserve the declining U.S. hegemony and relieve their ‘hegemonic anxiety’; by attacking China, they want to ‘shirk the blame’ for the endless domestic problems; by attacking China, they want to slow down China’s development and obstruct its rejuvenation.”
On the same day, the PLA Daily published a report entitled “Meaningful Practice and Important Achievement of China’s Military Diplomacy in the New Era.” According to the report, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe noted that the current U.S.-China relationship is at an important juncture and that a stable U.S.-China relationship is in the common interest of both countries and the world. He further stated that both sides should implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, for which the U.S. and Chinese militaries should make positive contributions to the stability of the relationship. “China hopes to establish a healthy and stable development of great power relations with the United States, and will also firmly defend its national interests and dignity.”
On June 17, the PLA Daily published a report titled “Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin Hosts Regular Press Conference on June 17, 2022.” The report quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin’s question-and-answer session, pointing out that “the bitter fruits of the U.S. politicians’ selfish interests, broad securitization of bilateral interaction, and unreasonable suppression of specific Chinese enterprises through government intervention will eventually be swallowed by American enterprises and people. Practice has proven time and again that the U.S. continues to politicize, instrumentalize, and weaponize economic cooperation, bully and coerce other countries to stop using Chinese enterprises’ equipment and create the so-called ‘high fence and small yard’ approach to protect its technological supremacy. This damages not only the interests of Chinese enterprises, but also seriously harms the U.S. own interests and seriously affects the stability of the global manufacturing chain supply chain. China resolutely opposes this American endeavor.”
On the same day, the PLA Daily published a commentary titled “Unmasking the Hypocrisy of U.S. ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’: It Wants to Divide Asia and Provoke Trouble.” It said that during the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, in his speech at the conference, grandly declared that the U. S. wanted to maintain “regional peace and prosperity” through a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” He tried hard to put a shining veil over the “Indo-Pacific Strategy,” but it is difficult to hide the evil intention wrapped in hypocritical rhetoric. There is a sinister backdrop under the disguise of uniting regional countries that the U.S. “Indo-Pacific Strategy” is actually dividing Asia.
On June 13, Xinhua published an international commentary entitled “The U.S. Poor ‘Show’ Can’t Fool Asia-Pacific Countries.” The commentary pointed out that “the participating U.S. officials tried to conceal their intention to create division and incite confrontation in the Asia-Pacific region by talking about the adoption of the so-called ‘Indo-Pacific strategy’ to maintain regional security and prosperity. They kept talking about the so-called ‘trilateral security partnership’ and ‘quadrilateral mechanism’ and groundlessly accused China of posing a threat to regional security and stability. But this was a lie and the so-called ‘trilateral security partnership’ and ‘quadrilateral mechanism’ are all U.S. efforts to form blocs and factions with a view to manufacture new channels of confrontation.”
On June 14, Xinhua once again published an international commentary on the latest U.S. policy toward China, entitled “An Irresponsible America Will Not Only Harm the World but Also Hurt Itself.” The commentary pointed out that “U.S. Secretary of State Blinken’s China policy speech once again exaggerated the ‘China threat’ and emphasized ‘strategic competition’ with China. This speech is full of lies, prejudice, and Cold War mentality and it shows the current U.S. administration has not only failed to correct the wrong practices that have damaged Sino-U.S. relations in the past, but also pushed the deterioration of relations with China further and further. As the world’s first and second largest economies, the bilateral relationship between the United States and China is pivotal to the world. In order to maintain hegemonic interests, the U.S. is constantly besieging and suppressing China and recklessly denigrating China and inciting confrontation. The U.S. is not assuming responsibility for the world nor does it assume responsibility for its own people.”
On June 17, Xinhua published a commentary entitled “The ‘Black Hand’ of American Hegemony is Extending to Global Cybersphere.” The article exposes the penetration of the U.S. into the world cybersphere. It cites a report that shows that the U.S., in conjunction with Five-Eye countries and some European nations, conducts global eavesdropping and cyber theft globally. In addition, the U.S. government has asked its American Internet companies to develop attack tools against Chinese telecommunications equipment. The U.S. ambition to maintain its hegemony in global cybersphere is clearly evident.
Minzhi International Research Institute
On June 13, Minzhi International Research Institute published a report entitled “Live from Shangri-La: How the U.S. and China are Gaming Each Other.” The Shangri-La Dialogue, officially known as the Asian Security Summit, is a multilateral forum initiated by the British Institute for International Strategy and supported by the Singapore government since 2002. Against the backdrop of the Sino-U.S. game and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, this year’s conference, which attracted national defense “top leaders” from dozens of countries worldwide, has drawn much attention. China’s Defense Minister Wei’s speech first expounded on China’s concept of “maintaining and practicing multilateralism and promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.” Second, it demonstrated the tremendous contribution made by the Chinese government and military to world peace and development. China firmly pursued a defensive national defense policy. The Chinese military has always been a force for peace and will resolutely defend national sovereignty, security, and development interests. Third, Wei explained China’s position on Taiwan, the South China Sea, Sino-U.S. relations, and the Ukraine crisis.
On the same day, Minzhi International Research Institute put out another commentary entitled “China and U.S. Defense Ministers Meet in Singapore, World Bank Downgrades Global Economic Growth Expectations.” During the summit, China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe pointed out that “the United States should view China’s development and growth rationally” and “China is opposed to simply using the word ‘competition’ to define Sino-U.S. relations.” Wei reminded the U.S Defense Minister that had the U.S. viewed China’s development rationally, they could have set a secure “guardrail” for Sino-U.S. relations. In addition, Wei pointed out in the meeting that the Chinese government and military will resolutely smash any “Taiwan independence” attempts and safeguard Chinese reunification, saying, “if anyone dares to split Taiwan, the Chinese military will not hesitate to fight.”
On June 15, Minzhi International Research Institute published a commentary entitled “Why Does American Hawkish Scholar Suddenly Advocate ‘Deep Engagement’ with China?” The commentary said that Neil Ferguson, a well-known hawkish scholar in the U.S., published an op-ed, A Taiwan Crisis May Mark the End of the American Empire, on Bloomberg this March. The column called for the U.S. to ease its relations with China and follow the example of Kissinger to achieve a united front with China again. Ferguson advocated for the U.S. to adopt a “deep engagement” strategy with China in the next decade. Specifically, it includes: first, end the trade war with China; second, jointly impose pressure on Russia with China; third, the U.S. and China together put pressure on Arab oil producers to increase production, rather than allowing them to take advantage of the two countries; fourth, reduce the possibility of confrontation with China, lest South Korea become the next Ukraine. Ferguson’s attitude towards China has changed several times. In his 2011 book Civilization: The West and the Rest, he pointed out that as long as the U.S. has a good relationship with China and achieves “coevolution,” it could continue dominating other regions and maintaining its hegemony. However, since 2019, he has advocated a strict policy toward China. In 2022, Ferguson’s views on China appear to be returning to a moderate stance. The report said that this recent column by Ferguson might represent the direction of the future U.S. strategy towards China. The reasons for the change may be: first, the Russian-Ukrainian war has caused severe inflation, and the U.S. economy is facing threats; second, the U.S. trade war with China has not achieved the desired goal; third, China’s neutrality maintained and its lack of economic and military assistance to Russia show that China and the U.S. still have substantial common interests in the future; fourth, China’s self-restraint in the Taiwan Strait has marginalized some American Warhawks.
On June 16, Minzhi International Research Institute published an article entitled “The United States and Western Countries Can Never Stop Their Global Hegemony from Coming to an End.” The report quoted French President M. Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the Ambassadors’ Conference in 2019: “We are probably in the process of experiencing the end of Western hegemony over the world. We were used to an international order that had been based on Western hegemony since the 18th century – probably French hegemony in the 18th century, inspired by the Enlightenment; probably British hegemony in the 19th century thanks to the Industrial Revolution, and American hegemony in the 20th century thanks to two major conflicts and the economic and political domination of that power. Things change. And they have been deeply affected by the mistakes made by Westerners in certain crises, by American decisions over the last several years (not just decisions made by the Trump administration).”
On June 17, guancha.cn published a report entitled “Sullivan Claims that U.S. Policy Towards Taiwan Has No ‘Bugs.'” On June 16, U.S. President’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan remarked at an event that the administration’s policy toward Taiwan has not changed. He added that its “One China” policy is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiques, and the “Six Assurances”. Sullivan said that he does not regard that as a bug in the Taiwan policy but rather as a feature, and it is a feature that has served the U.S. relatively well in terms of managing a difficult relationship. Sullivan blamed Beijing for being “increasingly engaged in activities threatening peace and stability” in the Taiwan Strait.
On June 19, guancha.cn published a report entitled “Biden Responds to ‘Whether to Lift Tariffs on Chinese Goods’: ‘I am about to make up my mind.'” The report said that, according to the Associated Press, President Joe Biden said Saturday that he plans to talk to Chinese leader Xi Jinping soon as he considers whether to lift some Trump-era tariffs on Chinese goods. His national security and economic aides are completing their review of U.S. tariff policy and making recommendations to the president. Still, there are clear divisions within the Biden administration: Treasury Secretary Yellen and Secretary of Commerce Raimondo have advocated for a push to ease tariffs to fight domestic inflation.However, others in the Biden administration, including U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, have sought to maintain tariffs to keep pressure on China.
On June 13, the WeChat official account “Niu Tan Qin” published a commentary entitled “Waking Up to Confront a New Financial Turmoil.” The commentary said that “there are big problems in the U.S. economy, and the biggest problem is inflation” and “the stock market is ‘bleeding,’ and the hearts of American investors are ‘bleeding’ too.” The commentary cited a survey by Financial Times that indicated the U.S. economy will fall into recession next year. The commentary stated that the reasons for its decline include the Russia-Ukraine War, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the backlash from the U.S. trade war with China. As of June 20, the commentary had more than 100,000 views. Among the selected comments that have survived China’s internet censorship, the most popular comment from the readers is, “We attach importance to food production and stabilize the fundamentals; attach importance to anti-Covid-19 policies, and stabilize the society; maintain moderate growth and rational expectations for economic growth, and protect people’s livelihood, China will sure to survive this hard time!”
On June 14, the WeChat official forum “Bu Yi Dao” published a report entitled “Is a China-U.S. Reconciliation in the Works?” It said that on June 13, Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, held a four-and-a-half-hour meeting in Luxembourg with U.S. National Security Advisor Sullivan. China and the U.S. almost unanimously used “frankness” and “constructiveness” to describe this meeting. Citing readouts of the meeting from Xinhua and the White House, the report pointed out that China and the U.S. had conducted in-depth exchanges on Sino-U.S. relations and regional and global security issues. The report pointed out that striving for a stable external environment for China is conducive to peaceful development. The Biden administration is besieged by foreign and domestic issues. If the two countries get into a fight at this time, it will make things worse. At the same time, the report claimed that “the U.S. and Western sanctions have bottomed out. Although Russia has become the country with the most sanctions globally, the U.S. has not been able to overthrow the Putin government or even to get it to withdraw from Ukraine.” The report further claimed that “An American economic crisis is inching close,” and that “Since the long trade war (with China) began, Americans have been hurt the most.” Finally, the report notes that “Sino-US relations are indeed facing opportunities for a stable turnaround. However, simultaneously, as the U.S. has stepped up its manipulation of the Taiwan issue, the two countries are also facing great strategic risks.”
On June 16, the WeChat official account “Bu Yi Dao” published a commentary titled “Behind Their Ugly Performances of ‘Congratulating Each Other.” In response to the news that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Bachelet recently announced that she would not seek re-election, the commentary pointed out that “she visited China but did not criticize Chinese human rights. Bachelet’s attitude towards China greatly disappointed Western anti-China forces, especially those ‘human rights activists.'” Meanwhile, the commentary said that the U.S. and Western countries “spare no effort to fabricate the stories of China’s violation of human rights” but forget to reflect on their own evil deeds in the field of human rights.” It said the West has no right to act as a “human rights preacher” in other countries. The commentary mentioned the U.K.’s controversial deal with Rwanda to relocate certain asylum seekers there and the shooting incident in the United States, saying that Western countries “do not know what ‘human rights’ are, but only use ‘human rights’ as a tool to put pressure on other countries, and make it highly politicized and ideologized.” Taking the debates caused by Bachelet’s visit to China as an opportunity, more people in the global community will understand China. American and Western demagogues and media outlets can never obliterate our achievements in human rights development.”
- This week, China and the U.S. met in Luxembourg. According to media reports, the meeting went well, and the two sides had in-depth, candid, and constructive exchanges for more than four hours. However, Chinese media outlets’ reports of or commentaries on the U.S are still very negative. Whether it is the long report Reality Check: Falsehoods in U.S. Perceptions of China, published bilingually by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 19, or the frequent news regarding “America’s dark side” and “doomsday prophecies on the brewing economic crisis” by the Chinese media, they have reflected confidence from the Chinese media over China’s national strength. This week’s reporting of the “U.S. stock market crash”, together with other stories about gun violence, secret prisons, child labor, once again present strong “evidence” of “a nation going bankrupt”. The “American Dilemma” also includes the issue of the wealth gap between the rich and the poor, racial discrimination, immigration, and moral corruption. Interestingly, most of the negative news cited in these reports comes from American or Western media outlets.
- This week, the main thrusts of the Chinese view of the U.S. and U.S.-China relations focus on the theme that the U.S. government’s policies toward China are “deceptive, hypocritical, and destructive.” The “deceptiveness” is that while “the U.S. has repeatedly emphasized its adherence to the one China policy in its leaders’ speeches and talks with China, they continue to spread fake news to smear China.” American “hypocrisy” is reflected by the fact that when Americans talk about international order, what they really have in mind is to serve the interests of themselves and maintain its global hegemony.” The Chinese official media claims that “the U.S. has long condoned and supported ‘Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet independence’ forces and separatist activities, with intentions to undermine China’s national security and stability.” Moreover, American “destructiveness” is “presented” by the uncontrolled social and political developments in the U.S. and the “incompetence” of the U.S. government. Some Chinese media outlets call this the “American dilemma.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that the U.S. should focus on its own problems: the U.S. does not need to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs and impose sanctions on other countries on groundless bases. This behavior cannot hurt other countries. It will only lead to “internal fragmentation and endanger its hegemony.” It obstructs American unity and depletes its means to contain China’s rise.