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 Again with America?’. The English name of the newsletter is the ‘China View Newsletter’. Issue #4 covers the period from June 20 to June 26, 2022.
Government (Foreign Ministry)
On June 20, in response to a Bloomberg reporter that said, “the Biden administration officials are increasingly worried that the vague new assertion by China on the Taiwan Strait could result in more frequent challenges at sea for Taiwan” and “the organizer of the Qatar World Cup has changed ‘Taiwan’ to ‘Chinese Taipei’ in its application system,” Wang Wenbin said: “Taiwan is part of China. The one-China principle is a basic norm governing international relations and the shared consensus of the international community.”
On June 21, Wang Wenbin said, “On the basis of equality and mutual respect, China is ready to conduct human rights dialogue and exchanges with all other parties. However, we do not need patronizing lecturers or double standards, still less interference by using human rights as a political tool.” The term “human rights teacher master” is a term used by the Chinese media to refer to and satirize the U.S. and European countries. It has been used repeatedly in the context of Chinese media reports criticizing the “double standards” and “hypocrisy” of the U.S.-led Western countries. For related reports, see: “Foreign Ministry: Human Rights in the World Will Be Better if the U.S. Side Removes the Old Fault of ‘Human Rights Teacher’” (March 22); “‘Human Rights Teacher’: The U.S., a Collapsing ‘Beacon of Human Rights’” (June 22); “‘Teacher of Human Rights’: Canada, a ‘Model of Human Rights’” (June 23); “The True Face of the ‘Human Rights Teacher’: Britain, the ‘Human Rights Flag Bearer’ Who Has Removed his Makeup” (June 24).
On the same day, in response to a Bloomberg reporter’s statement that ““the U.S. government assumes that anything made even partially in Xinjiang is produced with forced labor and can’t be imported unless companies can prove otherwise”, Wang Wenbin said, “The allegation of ‘forced labor’ in Xinjiang is a huge lie made up by anti-China forces to denigrate China. US’s Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is built on lies and designed to impose sanctions on relevant entities and individuals in Xinjiang. This move is the furtherance of those lies and an escalation of U.S. suppression on China under the pretext of human rights. The U.S. move is against the trend of the times and bound to fail.”
On June 22, in response to questions about the investigation into the source of the Covid-19 virus, Wang Wenbin said, “The so-called “lab leak in Wuhan” is a lie created by forces against China. It is politically motivated and has no scientific basis. If there has to be a study into the role of labs, then highly suspicious ones at Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina must be examined first.”
On June 23, in response to an Eastern China TV reporter that “a recent poll in the U.S. shows that 49% of respondents believe the US will ‘cease to be a democracy in the future’ and half of the surveyed think the country has ‘poor’ values,” Wang Wenbin said, “Those U.S. politicians who seek personal gains and advance US hegemony in the name of democracy have betrayed the true spirit and values of democracy. They have thus made themselves the enemy of democracy, and will be opposed by the people in the U.S. and the world.”
Official Media Outlets
On June 23, Xinhua published a report titled “Chinese and Foreign Scholars Discuss and Analyze ‘the Roots and Effects of Structural Racism in the U.S. and the West'”. The report centered on a seminar called “The Roots and Effects of Structural Racism in the U.S. and the West” held in Changsha, China, on June 22. Referring to a presentation by Chinese scholars at the conference, the report noted that “racism is a comprehensive, systematic and persistent presence in the U.S.. America is heavily indebted to race, reflecting the deep-rooted institutional and structural flaws in its society, and profoundly revealing the hypocrisy of ‘American-style human rights’ and piercing the false veil of the so-called ‘human rights defenders’. “
On June 25, Xinhua published a report titled “U.S.-Style Human Rights Bullying Firmly Repudiated in Geneva.” According to the report, the Chinese delegation in Geneva resolutely countered the actions of “the U.S., the Netherlands and other countries in rehashing lies and using groundless allegations to smear China on issues related to Xinjiang.” The report said: “The U.S. and other Western countries claim to be the ‘teachers of human rights’, but their own human rights situation is appalling and deliberately avoided by the Western mainstream media. The international community should continue to pay attention to human rights violations by the U.S. and other countries and hold them accountable.”
People’s Daily Overseas website
From June 20 to June 26, People’s Daily Overseas published a total of 136 reports, including 56 reports involving the U.S., accounting for 41.18% of the total number of reports, second only to those involving China, reflecting the high level of attention paid to the U.S. by the official Chinese media. Among them, there were 36 special reports on the U.S., except for two articles on “Tips for Writing Good Recommendation Letters for Studying Abroad” and “Embassies and Consulates in the U.S. Remind Chinese Citizens to Prevent Extreme Weather Such as High Temperature, Mountain Fires, and Floods.” The rest of the reports were critical reports on the United States,including topics such as: hegemonic politics (5), gun violence (4), abortion rights (4), border issues (4), environmental issues (4), inflation (3), racial issues (2), Taiwan Strait (1), collapse of the judicial system (1), drug abuse (2), privacy violations (1), traffic accidents (1), crime cases (1), and refugee issues (1), reflecting to a certain extent the tendency of Chinese official media to guide public opinion on the Chinese public’s perception of the United States.
Critical, specialized coverage of the United States can be found at:
RUC Chongyang Research Institute
On June 22, RUC Chongyang Research Institute published an article by Liu Zhiqin entitled “Does the U.S. Want to Provoke a ‘New Chinese Civil War?’” Liu, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute, said that the U.S. and Western politicians are trying to provoke two “civil wars”. One is the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the other is to use the Taiwan Strait to instigate “a new civil war” in China. The last “Chinese civil war” was “a civil war with the U.S. supporting the Nationalist Party and a civil war “that caused the U.S. to lose control of mainland China” and “helped new China complete its ‘rite of passage’ transition”. The author asked the U.S. to immediately abandon its adventurous behavior of using Taiwan to control China, and the world will see the great practice of peaceful reunification of China.” The world will see China’s great practice of peaceful unification with Taiwan. The author also wrote that “China will exercise administrative jurisdiction over Taiwan and not allow Taiwan to act in such a reckless manner” and that “the U.S. conspiracy to provoke a new civil war in China will never succeed.”
On June 24, Chongyang Institute published its executive director Wang Wen’s article titled “The Stronger China Is, The More Stable U.S.-China Relations Are – Transcript of Speech at the 35th Anniversary Alumni Forum of the China-U.S. Center”. Wang Wen wrote, “China must continue to promote national strength, sustain its economic development, and enhance its influence in all aspects of the economy, finance, trade, and military. China is the force that sustains peace, civilization, and tolerance.” At the same time, Wang pointed out that “there is also an anti-China force in the U.S. that has launched the so-called ‘Great Translation’ campaign, unilaterally intercepting individual radical comments on Chinese social media platforms, translating and posting them on overseas social media platforms, inciting anti-China sentiment, distorting public view of China and destroy China’s relationship with foreign countries.”
Social Media Platforms
On June 20, WeChat’s public forum”Mending a knife” (补一刀） published an article titled “In the next 10 days, the United States Will Make a Series of Big Moves.” According to the article, the U.S. will next form ties with Taiwan in three important areas: strategic interaction, military security, and economic, trade and technology. These are highly sensitive areas in Sino-U.S. relations. According to the article, in terms of strategic interaction, despite the Biden administration’s ostensible “One China policy,” the U.S. continues to choose a political, military, and economic strategy of “supporting Taiwan and resisting China,” and upgrading its relations with Taiwan in practical terms. In terms of military security, the U.S. will take into account the experience of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and give Taiwan a “weapons procurement list” to undermine reunification by force. In terms of economic, trade and technology, the Biden administration is targeting the “Belt and Road” and plans to launch global infrastructure projects that can hedge its influence. Although the Biden administration has once again released the message of “cutting tariffs on China” in an attempt to curb the severe inflation in the U.S., there is still disagreement within the U.S. government on whether to adjust tariffs on China, and no final decision has been made.
On June 23, the WeChat public forum “Knights Island” (侠客岛，which is certified as a government public forum and operated by the editorial department of the People’s Daily Overseas Edition) published an article titled “What’s Behind the U.S. ‘Evil Law’ Taking Effect?” The article points out that the new law stipulates that all products grown and manufactured in Xinjiang as using forced labor and are therefore banned in the U.S. The intention of this law is to “politically discredit China” and to deprive the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang of their labor rights and right to development. This will lead to social unrest in Xinjiang and even the resurgence of terrorism.” According to the article, the Biden administration’s signing of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act demonstrates “the U.S. government’s sinister intentions on Xinjiang-related issues, namely ‘using human rights as a pretext to divide China and contain its rise.’”
This week’s Chinese media coverage of U.S.-China relations centered on Taiwan Strait and Xinjiang-related issues, with criticism of the U.S. government including “human rights bullying” and “double standards.” The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s 39,000-word “diatribe” on the “fallacies and truths in U.S. perceptions of China”, published on July 19, was rare and highlighted Beijing’s concern over Washington’s sharp criticisms of its domestic and foreign policies. Washington’s claim that “the Taiwan Strait is part of international waters” on July14, and the taking effect of the Uhghur Forced Labor Prevention Act on July 21 have been the subject of strong Chinese condemnation. This endless bickering, either over interests or ideological differences, have undoubtedly added to the already strained U.S.-China relationship. The two governments have long been in a public opinion standoff over “who is right and who is wrong.” In the face of the U.S. side’s policies and actions that continue to “cross the line,” the Chinese government and media have gradually escalated and intensified their discontent and protests. Chinese government decision to publish the long essay detailing U.S. “deception, hypocrisy, and harm” gives the world the impression that Beijing has lost its patience in waiting for the relationship to recover. In any case, the U.S.-China relationship can hardly return to the good old days of “engagement.”
Chinese media outlets have repeatedly referred to the “manipulation of public opinion by the U.S. and Western countries”. For example, many in China believe the popular “anti-China sentiment has been driven by the U.S. on social media”. Therefore, it is crucially important for China to better use its own media outreach and make China’s narrative stick. Wang Wen, director of the Institute, pointed out that in the work related to the Russia and Ukraine conflict, the Institute should make its voice heard on CCTV, Phoenix TV, and other media outlets to guide public opinion. This reflects the growing importance that Chinese media are placing on cyber sovereignty. Putting aside national power and ideology, public opinion will also be a key factor affecting the direction of U.S.-China relations.