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 #5 covers the period from June 27 to July 3, 2022.
Government (Foreign Ministry)
On June 27, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian responded to the U.S. government’s announcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. He denied the existence of “forced labor” in China, claiming that it is a lie fabricated by the U.S. for the purpose of “using Xinjing-related issues to contain China” and curbing its industrial development in Xinjiang. Zhao Lijian also pointed out that the U.S. accusation is actually a reflection of its own evil deeds. Referring to the U.S. history of forced slave labor and still-rampant child labor problems, Zhao Lijian called on the U.S. “to see its own social ills and not just make up rumors about others”.
On June 28, Zhao Lijian commented on the establishment of the “China Center” by the Hudson Institute in May, saying that it has lost its essence as an academic institution to exchange and learn from each other, and has instead become a distribution center for lies. Zhao Lijian called on the media and the public to remain vigilant and not to be exploited by anti-China forces.
On June 29, Zhao Lijian responded to the communiqué issued at the 48th G-7 Summit. He once again condemned the U.S. and G-7 countries, saying they have “no authority to lecture others or use human rights issues as a political tool to interfere” on the issues of Hong Kong, Xinjiang and the Taiwan Strait, and for clinging to ideological bias and Cold War thinking. At the same time, Zhao Lijian said China has always adhered to peaceful development and fulfilled its international obligations, while those countries attacking China have their own poor human rights situation, but still try to interfere in China’s internal affairs and smear China. Such behavior is an exercise of “double standard” without responsibility and morality. Zhao cited the cultural genocide of Indians in the U.S., the death of illegal immigrants in Texas in May, the U.S. media poll showing that more than half of the American people believe that American democracy is founded on heaps of “money”, and the case of a French writer exposing fake news about China produced by a U.S. organization. The U.S. and Western countries should recognize the hypocrisy and conspiracy of the US and stand on the “side of justice and truth.”
On July 1, Zhao Lijian commented on the U.S. representative’s remarks on “disinformation” at the UN Human Rights Council. He said the U.S. itself is the creator of disinformation and the manipulator of false narratives. Zhao said the U.S. is good at using disinformation to cover up crimes and incite wars, and this kind of behavior reflects the “double standard” behavior and “hegemony” of the U.S.
Official Media Outlets
On June 30, Xinhua published a report titled “Defense Ministry: U.S. is a Veritable Empire of Hackers, Eavesdroppers and Thieves.” The report relayed a speech by Defense Ministry spokesman John Kirby at a press conference on the same day, saying that the U.S. has a long history of cyber theft, surveillance and attacks on governments and individuals, and that the militarization of cyberspace is another manifestation of U.S. hegemony.
On July 2, Xinhua published an interview titled “U.S. Lies about ‘Forced Labor’ Aim to Use Human Rights Pretext to Discredit China – Interview with University of Pittsburgh Visiting Professor Daniel Kovalik.” The interview says the U.S. Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is a lie designed to smear and suppress China under the pretext of human rights. The interview condemns the U.S. for not addressing its own problems of war of aggression, forced labor, and homelessness, but instead using human rights as an excuse to smear and harm China.
Global Times Commentary
On June 27, the Global Times published an editorial titled “Is the U.S. Trying to Paint a Big Pie to Hit China Again?” The editorial compared Biden’s promise of $600 billion in global infrastructure investment at the G7 summit to an illusory “pie,” pointing out that it looks good but is doomed to fail because the U.S. is currently mired in a debt crisis and such empty promises are just a way to counterbalance and undermine China’s Belt and Road initiative.
On July 1, the Global Times published an editorial titled “Warning against ‘RIMPAC’ Evoking a Cold War in the Asia-Pacific.” The editorial pointed out that the current U.S.-led RIMPAC 2022 joint military exercises are a product of the Cold War, and the U.S. move is an attempt to “gang up” on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as a pretext for the Cold War bluff. The editorial believes that most of the participating countries are “spectators” rather than having a directed military and political stake. The editorial stresses that China has no intention to expand in the Western Pacific, and points out that the U.S. behavior of setting up “pseudo-targets” is the real driving force to intensify regional conflicts and destroy the peace atmosphere.
RUC Chongyang Research Institute
On July 1, the RUC Chongyang Institute published an article entitled “Peace and Cooperation Needed to Resolve U.S. Economic Woes.” In the article, author Xu Lin pointed out that the U.S. is already facing potential economic pressure and hidden problems, and if the U.S. continues to instigate the Ukraine crisis and use the Russia-Ukraine conflict as a pretext to contain and suppress China’s development and move against globalization, it will not only intensify conflicts and undermine world peace, but also plunge itself into debt and make it difficult to get out of the economic crisis.
On July 2, RUC Chongyang Research Institute published an article titled “China-U.S. Rivalry Catalyzes Change in China’s Neighborhood Diplomacy.” According to Zhao Minghao, China faces many new challenges as a result of the U.S.’s ongoing Indo-Pacific strategy, such as hyping up the “China threat” through “tying up China to Russia” and “using the Russia-Ukraine conflict” to encourage Asia Pacific nations to settle historical account with Moscow and increase interaction with allies in the Asia Pacific region with a view to slow down China’s development. The article calls for China’s peripheral diplomacy “to be more sensitive to the anxieties, concerns and needs of neighboring countries, instead of looking at the periphery through the filter of the Sino-American game.”
Private Media Platforms
On July 3, guancha.cn published a report titled “How the ‘Color Revolution’ Has Destroyed Ukraine.” The report cited a speech by Fudan University Adjunct Professor Zhang Weiwei on the Chinese television program “This is China”. Zhang pointed out that “color revolutions” are the main way in which Western countries, represented by the U.S., manipulate the world. He went on to say that the U. S. has cultivated a group of “shallow-minded, low-taste, psychologically distorted ‘spiritual Americans'” in China who have extended their black hands to all areas of Chinese people’s lives, trying to bring down China through cultural infiltration. Zhang Weiwei believes that the American model has been taken off the “altar” in China, and that Chinese society is “maturing in the struggle against the ‘American forces.’”
On June 28, WeChat’s forum “Mending a Knife” (补一刀） published an article titled “After More Than Four Years, It’s Time for the U.S. to End the Trade War with China!” According to the article, the reason why the U.S. is so calculating about the tariff issue is its own poor economic condition. According to the author, the U.S. trade war against China has not achieved the desired effect of suppressing and curbing China’s economic and technological development, but has instead caused its own people to suffer from unemployment and inflation. The article calls on the U.S. to focus on its own domestic problems, and claims that attempts to divert conflicts and smear China in the economic and trade sphere will not hinder China’s recovery, nor will it stop America’s internal “political polarization and social tearing.”
On June 30, an article titled “China and the United States, Red Rose and White Rose” was published in the WeChat forum “Sisyphean Review”（西西弗评论）. The article compares China and the U.S. to the two roses in writer Eileen Chang’s novel The Red Rose and the White Rose, pointing out that the red rose and the white rose each have their own merits, and choosing between them is a very tangled and painful process. The article also mentions that the choice of “stepping on two boats” in Sino-U.S. relations has become unattainable because “the U.S. certainly does not want a second U.S. to appear in the world.” According to the article, although many countries are trying to cultivate a special relationship with China and the U.S. respectively, such days are now numbered. From a personal point of view, the author uses “hedging” and “taking sides” to show the tensions among the people facing the U.S.-China relationship, and takes a more pessimistic view of the future direction of the U.S.-China relationship from the perspective of a zero-sum game.
On July 2, the WeChat public forum “Cow Plays Musical Instrument” （牛弹琴）published an article titled “U.S. Self-Depletion of Soft Power Is Good for China.” The article reported on the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement to remove constitutional protections for women’s right to abortion and noted that French media saw the decision’s damage to the rights of vulnerable groups of women as a self-defeating erosion of its soft power that would benefit China. At the same time, the article cites UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s criticism of the U.S. denial of women’s reproductive autonomy, noting that the U.S. has violated international human rights law and caused a step backwards in history. According to the article, the internal divisions and conflicts in the U.S. have reached their highest point as a result of the successive events that have shocked the world in recent years. The author predicted that the world has seen “shocking events taking place one after another in the U.S. with internal division and conflict reaching their highest point” but “it is not just in the U.S.; the entire West will see more events beyond global imagination and of unprecedented nature in the coming years. The Western Roman Empire will not be lonely.”
- Chinese media coverage of the U.S. this week took on a consistently critical tone. Several media outlets refuted and criticized the U.S. claim that “forced labor” exists in Xinjiang and the “Prevention of Forced Labor of Uyghurs Act” that went into effect on June 21. Many commentaries cited U.S. human rights issues and war crimes. “The U.S. has its own human rights problems” is one of the most frequently used sentences in the Chinese media outlets.
- At present, criticisms of the U.S. by the Chinese government and media outlets mainly follow the same narrative as that of the article “Fallacies and Facts in U.S. Perceptions of China” published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which aims to “expose the hypocrisy, deceit and danger of U.S. policy toward China.” For example, “Zhao Lijian Says U.S. Politicians Should Not Talk About Human Rights in Other Countries” (June 27) and “Zhao Lijian: U.S.-Style Democracy is Fake Democracy” (June 30). In addition, this week’s coverage of the U.S. also repeatedly referred to the “China threat” as portrayed by the U.S., such as “Five Possible Scenarios for a U.S.-China War: What U.S. Scholars Think” (June 28) and “Warning against ‘RIMPAC’ Evoking a Cold War in the Asia-Pacific” (July 1). These commentaries are quite aggressive in both wording and style, with few articles offering constructive ideas on how to improve U.S.-China relations, and those that are willing to calmly analyze the pros and cons of the situation displaying a pessimistic emotional attitude, such as “Do We Have to Float on the Rafters if We Have Different Paths?”