In today’s political climate, countries like the US, UK, and Europe have their policies and ideas communicated by their leaders through many different lenses. We all listen through various news channels on TV, political commentators on YouTube, or even through the analysis of policy “experts” in a number of different fields, whose job it is to give further insights into exactly what the leaders meant and the effects that these policies may have.
For a long time, though, we have also been subjected to the idea that we should be concerned about what happens in far-away countries. We are told that these countries are oppressive and ran by malevolent dictators, that they have cops on every street corner taking away people’s freedoms and ability to move. We are explicitly told that the actions taken by these “tyrants” are condemned by the 20+ countries in the “free world”, as well as by many human rights organisations, which are almost always directly funded by the aforementioned countries. We are consistently bombarded with videos and testimonies that, we are told, are “100% credible” every day for weeks, months, even years; until it doesn’t leave our minds that these countries are 100% evil, oppressive regimes that are a threat to the freedoms which we allegedly enjoy in the west. As we reach our most disgusted and angry that we aren’t able to support the people “suffering” under the iron fist of these authoritarian leaders, the policymakers begin to manufacture consent for international imperialist involvement, either economically or militarily, so that we can “liberate” the people from their evil rulers. This is how the malicious propaganda machine of the west operates.
China in the last few years has been viewed as an existential threat to the people of the west, even more so by the US in 2019 & 2020 over concerns of security risks from Huawei, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, and of course the Coronavirus pandemic, despicably named the “China Virus” by President Donald Trump. While North Korea has recently taken the backseat of news relating to the so-called aggression towards the United States, and Russia shrugged off the accusations of rigging the elections and helping Trump to win the presidency, all the while assisting Assad’s government to combat ISIL and the HTS in a three-way battle; China has taken the number one spot for the imperialist’s propaganda focus.
The thing is the western media leaves out a lot of details whenever reporting on China in what can only be described as a hysterical attempt at propaganda. For example, in 2019, when the Hong Kong protests started out in protest of the extradition bill, they frame the bill as a violation of Hong Kong Chinese’ rights. They say that the people of Hong Kong could be taken by the Communist Party of China be charged in China under Chinese law for crimes committed in Hong Kong, however; there are already existing extradition agreements with other countries, but not with Taiwan, so when a Hong Kong murderer Chan Tong Kai murdered his pregnant girlfriend Poon Hiu Wing, there were no extradition mechanisms in place to put him back to Taiwan to be charged for this murder, despite already admitting his guilt. This allowed him to walk free in the midst of the destabilization of the rule of law in Hong Kong, of which destruction and mayhem were taking place, whilst giving Tsai Ing Wan, the Taiwanese President, the precedence of calling Hong Kong an example of poor governance.
Another reason China is regarded as authoritarian is that it has blocked Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. This is presented by the west as a belligerent action and limiting freedom of speech in China, but again this omits the truth. After the riots in Urumqi back in 2009, the Chinese government turned on the Great Firewall. Many press activists from the west called it the loss of internet freedoms, lamenting it as the emergence of censorship against China’s citizens as well as the Uyghur minorities. But this logic is farcical, Twitter, for example, has effectively banned 170,000 accounts from China who have crossed over the great firewall in 2020 that deemed to be posting misinformation for the Chinese government. This is just one example that proves that the west can have every authoritative right to remove anyone’s right to speech, with the excuse that since Twitter is a private entity, it does not realistically have to protect the rights to free speech.
“In general, this entire network was involved in a range of manipulative and coordinated activities. They were tweeting predominantly in Chinese languages and spreading geopolitical narratives favourable to the Communist Party of China (CPC), while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong,” the blog said.
What is interesting about this is that they are allowed to dictate what is real and what is deceptive. Whichever way you look at it, it seems anything pro-China is seen as deceptive, and anything anti-China is real. For example, hyperreactive “pro-democracy” accounts which have pushed narratives about the Chinese government’s crackdown on Hong Kong protestors, which never once happened during the 2019 riots. The PLA soldiers picking up bricks from the road left by rioters, for example, was not really an invasion, it was summoned by the Hong Kong government for assistance. In fact, the entire police brutality narrative regarding Hong Kong must be seen as “deceptive”, since not one protestor was killed by police. The portrayal of this narrative is particularly ironic coming from the United States, which we know is plagued by police brutality.
Never mind that Hong Kong has consistently ranked higher than the US in terms of freedom and economy, the problem is that the development of Hong Kong has been choked by the 4 Big Family tycoons that have a monopoly in terms of land grabbing and therefore dictate the terms and prices of property, as well as retail, electric, gas, and transportation.
In short, Hong Kong is the smaller sized New York, with hyper capitalistic policies that caused the Gini coefficient to be going upwards, which again somehow the rioters blamed on China or the lack of political representation and universal suffrage. This is despite rejecting the one that was proposed by the National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2017 since many people worried that it only gave concessions to people who are “Pro-Beijing”, while “Pro-Democracy” politicians could be left out of the electoral process with the push for reform. The fact is, the parties that supported the riots pushed for independence of Hong Kong, thereby wanting to split Hong Kong from China which could potentially destroy the continuation of Deng Xiao Ping’s proposal of 1 Country 2 Systems, which Hong Kong people have benefitted from since the end of British colonialism in Hong Kong.
Nevertheless, the discussion and the framing of the riots has more sentimental reactions from western media and pundits including the NYT, The Guardian, WAPO, and the other western-based publications. They praise “activists” like Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, and Denise Ho, who have talked to senators like Pelosi, Schumer, Rubio, Cruz to push their bipartisan bills that sanctioned those who have “oppressed” the protestor’s rights for freedom of expression. However, looking the other way around at examples like their country having one of the highest incarceration rates per capita, at the Flint water crisis, the Black Lives Matter movements, the problems with inequalities of the rich and the poor, the staggering low wages of the working class, ridiculous healthcare policies, various political mistrust between political parties, etc – then the coverage is quite different.
That was around the same time when other parts of the world were having their own riots but received significantly less coverage than Hong Kong. This includes countries that had genuine protests due to the poor economic structures, neoliberal policies by the IMF, and World Bank which siphoned millions and millions of dollars into the hands of the rich elites. Even the overthrowing of leaders, including in Ecuador, Haiti, Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela, even France, a country that had the yellow vest campaign for over a year, have had protesters receiving much more brutality than the Hong Kong rioters.
The west has built a scheme that allows the media pundits and Human Rights organisations, which favour suspicious actors like the so-called China experts with low-level understanding of Chinese linguistics, to be seen as opinion leaders when it comes to China, despite how wrong they have been in several cases. Examples of this include China’s military presence being described as aggressive under their China Threat Theory, or to re-define China’s actions when it comes to their economic advancements and achievements against COVID-19 as malevolent, projecting the problems that their countries have that has included austerity measures, human rights abuses onto foreign countries, and the awful treatment of minorities.
This of course also allowed bad faith actors like Trump and Secretary of State, and Ex-CIA director, Mike Pompeo to openly push for partisan attacks against China and also pushing the idea that many Chinese in America are spies for the Communist Party of China in what is borderline McCarthyism, all while letting Trump and billionaires like Bezos getting small to no tax payments while their own people are forced onto the streets or into food banks. China is deemed a threat to the economic dominance that America has enforced since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and when you understand this, then you can begin to understand the tactics used by the west when reporting on China.