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 #6 covers the period from July 4 to July 10, 2022.
Government (Foreign Ministry)
On July 4, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian responded to the U.S. statement that “China’s space program is a military space program and China might be planning a takeover of the moon” and that “China stole designs and technologies of other countries,” saying that the U.S. has repeatedly vilified China’s peaceful use of outer space, and that the U.S. is the culprit in “creating space junk, stoking space arms race, disrupting global strategic stability, and [is an] enormous threat to the peaceful use of outer space.”
On July 5, Zhao Lijian commented on the recent shooting in Ohio, saying that U.S. systemic and pervasive racial discrimination is getting worse, but the U.S. government has not been able to take effective measures to change it, and that the “injustice in the US epitomize the unfairness and injustice [the U.S.] has inflicted on the world.”
On July 6, Zhao Lijian responded to the Taiwan issue and Xinjiang-related issues at a regular press conference. He pointed out that the U.S. should abide by the provisions of the three U.S.-China Joint Communiqués, stop condoning support for “Taiwan independence,” and stop hollowing out and splitting China. On Xinjiang-related issues, Zhao said the so-called “forced labor” in Xinjiang is an “outrageous lie” concocted by the U.S. to contain China’s development, and urged the U.S. side to stop implementing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.
On July 7, a Reuters reporter commented at a regular press conference that China is exerting influence to pressure U.S. officials to push the U.S. government to pursue a more friendly policy toward China. Zhao Lijian responded that dialogue and cooperation between China and the United States are the people’s desire, and that the U.S. should “get rid of self-imposed bias” and work together to maintain the stable development of Sino-U.S. relations. Zhao said that some U.S. politicians have exaggerated the threat of China, fully revealing their “Cold War zero-sum mentality and ideological prejudice. He urged the U.S. government to “put things into perspective, see China’s development in an objective and reasonable light, stop spreading lies, and stop making irresponsible remarks.”
Official Media Outlets
From July 4 to July 10, the international page of People’s Daily published four consecutive “International Observation” commentaries, criticizing the U.S. from the perspectives of financial hegemony, military conflicts, social division, and humanitarian crimes. The four articles are as follows.
- “International Watch｜ ‘Bombs Left Behind by the U.S. Military Are Still Taking the Lives of Innocent People” (July 4)
- “International Watch｜’The U.S. Has Become a Destructive Player in the World'” (July 5)
- “International Watch｜The U.S. Should Confront its Own Systemic Racism Problem” (July 7)
- “International Watch｜’US Misuse of Sanctions is Not a Panacea for the World’s Problems'” (July 10)
On July 7, CCTV published a report titled “Technological Terrorism is Disturbing.” According to the report, the gun problem has become a social problem in the U.S., where there is nothing the government can do about rash shootings. Citing an article in Time magazine, the report said “America is slow to turn away from evil.” Using gun violence as the backdrop, the report said the U.S. continues to abuse its national power to impose a technological blockade and decouple technology from China when there is “no security” within the country. The report defines such behavior as “technological terrorism” to the detriment of others and points out that China should achieve technological independence as soon as possible.
On July 7, the Global Times published an article titled “The U.S. and Japan Have Made Their Move! China is Bound to Counteract.” According to the article, Japan and the U.S. military are conspiring to undermine peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The article points out that Japan’s assistance to the U.S. in deploying an intermediate-range ballistic missile force on Japan’s southwestern islands will lead to “greater U.S. involvement in China’s neighborhood” and reflects “Japan’s sinister intention to join the U.S. in confronting China.”
On July 8, the Global Times published an article entitled “Abe’s Assassination: What Chain Reaction Will It Trigger?” The article first reported the news that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died after being shot in Nara on July 8. Then, the article pointed out that Abe’s death will lead to a crisis in Japanese nationalism and be used by right-wing forces to accelerate the shift to the right in Japanese society. At the same time, the article suggests that the larger spillover effects of Abe’s assassination will include intensifying the Japanese right-wing’s collusion with the U. S., which will use the Taiwan Strait issue and the “nuclear sharing” rhetoric to exert more pressure on China and to contain China’s development.
RUC Chongyang Research Institute
On July 8, RUC’s Chongyang Institute published an article titled “History Hasn’t Ended, and There Are Four Critical Struggles Ahead for China.” The article’s author, Wang Wen, executive director of the Chongyang Institute, pointed out that Francis Fukuyama, author of “The End of History and the Last Man,” recently said in an interview that the “end of history” has come to an end. Wang believes that Fukuyama’s words are the best footnote to the fact that China is now on the right path of development, because “a new history has just begun.” According to Wang, the four important struggles for China’s strong national governance in the future include: the struggle for victory in the great power rivalry, the struggle for high-quality economic development, the struggle for high-level social governance, and the struggle for peaceful reunification across the Taiwan Strait. Wang says, “the political struggle against the U.S. in the great power rivalry is an external ordeal that China cannot avoid, but China is confident that it can deal with the U.S. as the biggest variable in the external environment.”
Social Media Platforms
On July 7, guancha.cn published an article titled “Canceling Only ‘$10 Billion Out of $370 Billion’?” According to the article, the U.S. government’s tariff elimination against China involves only a small portion of the $370 billion in consumer goods, while the Biden administration’s new round of tariff investigations against China involving the semiconductor industry may be more “strategically targeted.”
On July 5, WeChat’s public website “牛弹琴” published an article titled “China and the U.S. Talk Again, What Is Behind the 209 Word Readout.” According to the article, the inflationary problems caused by rising commodity prices and the food crisis in the U.S. prompted the U.S. to change its stance in the economic and trade talks with China in early July. According to the article, this posture was reflected in “pragmatic, frank, and constructive exchanges” between the two sides, and the U.S. put “pragmatism” at the forefront of the talks, apparently recognizing the urgency of solving its own problems. The article said that today’s U.S. is indecisive in internal governance and hostage to ideological and geopolitical biases, and “if (the U.S.) does not change its stagnant approach, the damage will be done to itself.”
On July 7, WeChat’s “China-U.S. Focus” published an article titled “Some People Always Want to Pull China and the U.S. into War, and the ‘War Between China and the U.S.’ Rhetoric Cannot be Expanded.” The article’s author, Wang Jisi, director of Peking University’s Institute for International and Strategic Studies, points out that it is necessary for China and the U.S. to “resume and enhance normal diplomatic exchanges and find ways to avoid war.” Professor Wang notes the recent decline in Sino-U.S. relations, and that the Taiwan Strait issue has exacerbated the tension. He says mainland China has always insisted on “peaceful reunification and one country, two systems,” but U.S. think tanks have repeatedly advocated that the Chinese government will unify Taiwan by force, which he claims is because “people who harbor evil intentions want to pull China and the U.S. into war.” In his article, Professor Wang also touches on the topic of the public opinion war between the U.S. and China. He points out that it is a reality that China and the U.S. are currently paying a lot of attention to each other, but there is no need for the Chinese media to focus too much attention on negative news about the U.S. every day.
On July 8, WeChat’s “China-U.S. Focus” published an article titled “The Core Issues of U.S.-China Cybersecurity.” The article argues that the U.S.-China cybersecurity issue has become one of the most confrontational, important, and impactful issues in the U.S.-China relationship. The article points out that cybersecurity between the U.S. and China has shifted from cooperation and technology to political issues such as online commercial theft, disinformation campaign, and data security, and that how to properly handle the relationship between cybersecurity and national security strategy will be an important issue in future U.S.-China cybersecurity dialogue.
- Chinese media coverage of the U.S. over the past week was not much different from previous weeks, with the focus still on Taiwan, Xinjiang, and negative news within the U.S. On the issue of Taiwan, influential media platforms, including the Foreign Ministry and several mainstream media, repeatedly reiterated their hope that the U.S. would strictly abide by the provisions of the three U.S.-China Joint Communiqués, as the “One China principle is the political foundation for maintaining U.S.-China relations.” On issues related to Xinjiang, the Chinese government and media have repeatedly emphasized that “there is no ‘forced labor’ in Xinjiang,” and that “the so-called existence of ‘forced labor’ in Xinjiang is an ‘outrageous lie’ from the U.S. side to smear and contain China” and will jeopardize “the livelihoods of people from all ethnic backgrounds in Xinjiang who have worked really hard to have lifted themselves out of poverty.” In terms of negative news in the U.S., several mainstream media and social media outlets published feature articles on gun violence, racial discrimination, and social polarization in the U.S., and called on the U.S. to “first take care of its own massive human rights violations.”
- The assassination of Abe on July 8 has created uncertainty about further U.S.-Japan political and geopolitical cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and there is concern in China that his death will pull Tokyo and Washington even closer. While China’s coverage of the U.S. last week continued its recent aggressive style, there is some reflection on the rational and moderate nature of the relationship. For example, during a panel discussion at the 10th Peace Forum, Professor Wang Jisi said that on the trade war, although some in the United States believe that “national security takes precedence over economic interests,” economic interests are actually part of national security, and that China and the U.S. should seek to develop economic and trade relations and scientific and technological exchanges to avoid a war of mutual destruction. Meanwhile, on the issue of influencing public opinion, Professor Wang Jisi also mentioned that think tanks and media outlets in China and the U.S. should seek to improve and actively speak out for the improvement of relations between the two countries. In the area of ideological exchange, both governments should offer clearer and more explicit statements of the official policies, both media outlets should cease to manufacture and disseminate false information, and both peoples should learn how to identify misinformation and disinformation. These efforts may provide new channels for the U.S. and China to stabilize and improve the bilateral relationship that is of utter importance to both countries.