Most Of What We Hear About China Is Red Scare, Yellow Peril Propaganda
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Most Of What We Hear About China Is Red Scare, Yellow Peril Propaganda

Western news outlets have been repeatedly slandering China, using a tried and true combination of Cold War cliches and Orientalism. What's true, what's false, and what's their agenda?

14723
Most Of What We Hear About China Is Red Scare, Yellow Peril Propaganda
Tyler Burns

With an ongoing trade war, tensions rising in the South China Sea, and the growing esteem of President Xi Jinping, China has been the subject of a significant amount of our twenty four hour news cycle. If, like me, you've subjected yourself to any of it then let me be the first to say: I'm sorry. Also, you've been lied to.

The outpour of completely baseless, biased, and unresearched horror stories is astonishing. Tales of aggressive military expansion, neocolonialism, torture, human rights violations, and massive unrestrained surveillance systems have made headlines again and again. Besides the obvious hypocrisy of decrying the very same things these companies praise western countries for doing, what's most concerning about these stories is their glaring inaccuracies. To help unmask Sinophobia and propaganda in the media, let's take a closer look at some stories which have made headlines recently.

"Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens"

China's social credit system, unveiled June 14, 2014, has made a lot of headlines recently as the government moves to implement it in its entirety across the whole country. Thousands of articles have been written comparing the system to Black Mirror and 1984, crying over Chinese citizens with bad social credit having been denied access to schools and transit. And, indeed, these half-truths sound horrifying and tyrannical. What is left out, however, is that social credit is determined exclusively by a citizen's business practices. Unlike in the US where unethical companies like Bain Capital are allowed to buy, gut, and ruin companies before declaring bankruptcy for profit, in China, bad business is punished. Hou Yunchun, former deputy director of the development research center of the State Council, said: "If we don't increase the cost of being discredited, we are encouraging discredited people to keep at it." Further, discredited people have full and equal access to all public services, including public schools and public transit. They can only be barred from using luxury travel options such as first-class flight and access to private schooling. Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said: "How the person is restricted in terms of public services or business opportunities should be in accordance with how and to what extent he or she lost his credibility." Minor offenses only yield minor punishments, major offenses, major punishments. "Discredited people deserve legal consequences," Zhi continued. "This is definitely a step in the right direction to building a society with credibility." Companies known to be in violation of the law and ethical business practices have also been publically exposed by the government. This is all part of China's ongoing anti-corruption campaign.

"Muslims forced to drink alcohol and eat pork in China’s ‘re-education’ camps, former inmate claims"

Omir Bekali, a Uighur, a minority from the autonomous region Xinjiang, made headlines across the world after he came out with a shocking and bizarre story of hellish re-education camps where Muslims were allegedly forced to drink alcohol and eat pork. He claims also to have been shackled and beaten. His account is brutal and depicts a world of harassment, religious and ethnic discrimination, and slightly milder torture than the methods used on prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. His vivid and emotional account would likely inspire real international outrage if even a single person reported anything remotely similar. The story is nonsense. He claims to have been kidnapped, tortured, and forced to violate Islamic code of conduct and yet not one person besides Mr. Bekali has reported so much as Islamophobic harassment by Chinese authorities in Xinjiang, or anywhere else for that matter.

Xinjiang is home to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a violent separatist group of religious extremists who have killed over 100 in multiple terror attacks across the region. Uighur Islamic extremists have been found among the ranks of ISIS and have vowed to "make your [China's] blood flow in rivers, by the will of God." These extremists claim to be oppressed by the Chinese government despite enjoying regional autonomy, receiving significant developmental aid from Beijing, and China's ongoing policy to promote religious freedom and harmony. In China, freedom of religion is protected in the constitution, anti-Islamic content was recently banned in social media, and Islam is experiencing a revival.

Bekali's account is completely without foundation in reality. He directly contradicts himself in other interviews, like this one from the Daily Mail. The account here is even more outlandish and tells of farcical chanting and hourly oaths of loyalty to the Communist Party. This particular account puts ol' Joe McCarthy himself to shame with its overuse of tired, Cold War era anti-communist cliches. The entire story, which was largely reported on, seems to be wholly false. Xinjiang's GDP has grown steadily at a rate far exceeding the national average and Uighur members of the Communist Party have expressed the growing desire for unity between Xinjiang and China, as well as among the regions many ethnicities and religious groups.

"Emperor Xi Jinping: China enters a new era under just one leader"

This racist, rambling tirade by News.com Australia's Jamie Seidel is perhaps the most egregious, orientalist thing I've ever read. When talking about the amendment to the Chinese constitution which abolished term limits, he sarcastically writes: "The glory of [the] Middle Kingdom will be restored again." He also describes Xi Jinping as an emperor and makes countless references to imperial China (or, rather, his image of imperial China which is basically just an amalgam of every traditional Asian stereotype). This is Orientalism. Rather than writing about this modern nation as a modern nation, Seidel prefers to crack jokes and reduce China to an inaccurate and racist caricature. This same Orientalism is mirrored in articles like those by the BBC and CNN, among others, which talk of "heirs" and "emperors"; and is especially evident in the constant reference to the DPR of Korea as "the hermit kingdom."

The reality is that China has democratized. Term limits were added to the constitution after the chairmanship of Deng Xiaoping to ensure that the massive economic reform that was underway would not become stagnant or stalled under one leader. It ensured that China's leadership would be focused on the present conditions, rather than future elections. With the reforms having proven an objective success, and China's efforts now focusing on the move towards socialism, there is no longer a need for such an undemocratic and arbitrary amendment. There will still be elections and Xi Jinping still is not guaranteed a third term. Plenty of western leaders have been serving for a lot longer with a lot less support, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is currently in her fourth consecutive term.

"Eight countries in danger of falling into China’s “debt trap“

Chinese influence overseas has been questioned again and again, often by the same people who consistently support western military adventures overseas. The above article by Quartz laments the plights of Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, the Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. What a tragedy it is that they must be subjected to infrastructure and factories at the hands of powerful and super forgiving Chinese developers. It is a testament to Quartz reporter Tim Fernholz's shamelessness and hypocrisy that he readily admits that the US' largest military base in Africa is in Djibouti, one of the countries supposedly at risk of falling into Chinese "imperialism." He says this in the same sentence which attacks Chinese involvement in the nation. Only an aggressively ignorant western chauvinist could write that Chinese airports are a threat but American soldiers aren't. One can only imagine the indignation Fernholz would feel if China began "waging a massive shadow war" in Africa like the US has been doing. One has to ask, is Fernholz aware of this? Is the great reporter aware of the colonial taxes Frances continues to impose on the African nations they once directly colonized? Why, Mr. Fernholz, are roads, schools, and power plants the big danger?

These are just a handful of the mass of vitriolic propaganda aimed at China. And that's just from private companies. The US Embassy in China claimed to have been the target of "sonic attacks." These unexplained science fiction weapons China's supposedly using against Americans sound eerily similar to those the US Embassy claimed to have been attacked within Cuba which were determined to be completely made up.

So why the lies and the slander? Why all the hate? Perhaps they're overcompensating. China’s president, Xi Jinping, is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant statesmen of the 21st century. And over 80% of Chinese polled said they supported him, had faith in their government, and were optimistic about their country’s future. By contrast, optimism has been severely lacking across Europe, Canada, Australia, and the United States. The crisis of confidence in the United Kingdom resulted in one of the longest hung parliaments in British history, with the hugely unpopular Theresa May just barely clinging onto her majority. Even the monarchy is becoming increasingly unpopular. Two-thirds of the population said they didn’t care about the Royal Wedding, a huge decline since the last one. It seems that the royal family's obscene waste of taxpayer money has finally caught up to them. The violent removal of homeless people before the wedding didn't help endear them much either. “Fuck the Royals” parties were held in pubs across the country. In Spain, when large portions of the population aren’t trying to secede, the government is struggling to deal with a growing labor movement which held mass protests this May Day. In France, the May Day protesters were decidedly more hardcore, clashing with riot police. And when protesters aren't setting cops on fire, they're burning effigies of President Emmanuel Macron in protest against his uneconomic reforms which resulted in the loss of over 120,000 jobs. Justin Trudeau can't stop embarrassing himself every time he steps outside of Canada. Julia Gillard leads the most unpopular government Australia's had in forty years. And I don't think I even have to mention how much people hate Donald Trump both inside and out of the US.

I mean just look at these idiots...

The truth is, they're afraid. China has beaten the West at its own game. The emerging superpower has outpaced and outdone them. They have a larger, more educated workforce, a more robust economy built on actually producing things, and a plan for the future. The West doesn't seem to have a plan for the present. As China marches toward the horizon, united and prosperous, so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past, unable to afford basic necessities like food and rent.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

My obsession with country music is easily one of my best personality traits.

I've grown up on country music, and it's always been a huge part of my life. I remember the day that my mom bought me my first country CD. Since that day, I've been hooked. I still watch the Country Music Awards faithfully each year. My fun fact for syllabus week is almost always related to my love of country music.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

The Definitive List Of 6 Cartoon Animal Men You Can Find Attractive Without Being A Furry

And no, Kovu isn't on this list because "The Lion King II" shouldn't really be a movie.

47708
Disney

It's the age-old question: why did they make this cartoon animal so attractive?

OK, so maybe not age-old, but if you claim haven't been attracted to at least one of these characters (and you're attracted to men), you're lying. Each one was given a personality and characterization that makes viewers at home reevaluate their standards. But then comes the follow up: cartoons aside, does this make me a furry? And girls, gays, and theys I am here today to relieve you of that question, because if he is on this list, your answer is simply no, you are not.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. When I'm craving something sweet in the morning, my go-to is Ethan's vegan pancake recipe.

Keep Reading... Show less
Adulting

Ask Your BFF These 20 Questions To See If They Know You As Well As You THINK That They Do

Ask your best friend these basic questions to see just how well they know you.

19247

My best friend has been in my life since we were 3 years old, now that we are adults now, I'd like to ask her these questions to see how well she knows me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

8 TV Shows To Binge On Netflix Over Thanksgiving Break

These 8 shows will make your Quarantine-Friendly Thanksgiving break fun!

13032

As assignments are piling up and stress is getting to everyone, thinking of the silver lining of Thanksgiving Break looms in the distance. A time to recharge, eat some good food, and get those Black Friday sales (online of course) is just what we all need right about now. And since the pandemic is spiking again people are going to need to find something to do while not going out. So, since I've watched an unhealthy amount of television I thought I'd compile a list of some of my favorite Netflix shows that you can binge over break!

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Let's Not Let Black Friday Overlook Thanksgiving

Oftentimes, Thanksgiving gets overpowered by Black Friday sales. This year, let's make an effort to appreciate what we are grateful for.

9302

November 26 is a day dedicated to being grateful for the things in your life that you appreciate. It can be easy to forget the true meaning of holidays since the decorations and events are fun yet distracting nonetheless.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

77 Questions To Ask The Other Person Before Getting Into A Relationship With Them

Know what you're getting yourself into first. You won't regret it.

6669
Photo by René Ranisch on Unsplash

Surprises are great in a relationship. They keep things interesting. For example, when your partner says, "Surprise! There's a warrant out for my arrest," or "My crazy ex sent me a death threat and drained my bank account," or "I wake up at 5 am... every morning. "

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments