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This article appears in the September 10, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]

China Briefs

‘China Is Not the USSR,’ New Chinese Ambassador Tells U.S.-China Council

Qin Gang, China’s new ambassador to the United States, held a discussion on Aug. 31 with the board of directors of the National Council on U.S.-China Relations and other prominent China-watchers, including Henry Kissinger and Susan Thornton, an Assistant Secretary of State for Asia under Trump. He said that U.S.-China relations were at “a historical juncture.” “The extreme China policy of the previous U.S. administration has caused serious damage to our relations, and such a situation has not changed. It is even continuing.”

He said that the United States should not treat China as a rival or push the situation toward a “Cold War.” “China is not the Soviet Union. Some people in the U.S. believe that America needs to deal with China from a position of strength. They think America can win the new “Cold War” against China, just as it defeated the Soviet Union. This reflects a serious ignorance of history and China. China is not the Soviet Union. China has learned from this part of history that hegemonism will only lead to decline. Under the leadership of the CPC [Chinese Communist Party], China’s socialist democracy keeps improving. The people are the master of their own country. The nation enjoys economic development, social stability and better livelihoods for the people.”

China is not intent in surpassing the United States, he added; it is only competing with itself, trying always to do better, to create a better future for the people of China. Trying to paint China as an enemy, he said, is like Don Quixote jousting with the windmills. He said that it would be a big mistake to think of decoupling from China. He noted that when the Soviet advisers withdrew from China in 1960, it caused great problems as well, but China survived.

The two sides should observe each other’s “red lines” and use the opportunity for cooperation on issues like COVID and climate change in order to find further areas of cooperation. “At the same time, we need to jointly remove obstacles for cooperation. It is hoped that the U.S. will stop political manipulation on the origins tracing of the virus and stop deliberating and passing China-related bills that will seriously hijack China-U.S. relations.... The historical mission of upholding and promoting our relationship in the new era has come to us.”

On World War II Memorial Day Chinese Leaders Laud Russia-China Relations

Sept. 3, the 76th anniversary of the end of World War II, is an important memorial day for both China and Russia. President Xi Jinping made note of this important memorial in a speech to the Russian Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Sept. 3, referring to his recent phone call with President Putin in which the two reaffirmed their commitment to moving their relationship forward.

Xi called for deepening the cooperation between the Belt and Road and the Eurasian Economic Union, and working to “build a joint force in maintaining regional peace and stability.”

Foreign Minister Wang Yi underlined the same message in a speech Sept. 3 memorializing the end of the war. The speech was shown at a memorial service at a museum at the Dongning Fortress, in China’s northeast Heilongjiang Province along the border with Russia, where the last battle ended, just days after Japan had surrendered.

“The Battle of Dongning Fortress was the last battle of the Second World War and an important witness of the Chinese and Russian people fighting side by side. The victory of the battle shows that any invincible reactionary fortress will be crushed by the forces of peace and justice.” He said that China and Russia should work together against those who try to deny history. “At present, the combination of a century of change and the global epidemic have greatly resonated in the world, and the fate of the people of all countries in the world is once again closely linked. The commemorative event held today will arouse people’s yearning for and persistence in peace, and let people from all over the world join hands to maintain peace and share tranquility.” He said that China was willing to work together with the world community, along with Russia, in defending the right view of history, the international order, and multilateralism.

Propaganda Dept. Calls for Closer Management of Culture and Entertainment

In line with the crackdown on the independent operations of the tech industry, the Chinese government is also concerned about some of the chaos and anarchy in the field of culture and entertainment. While many Hollywood and other liberals are going to freak out over the increased control over the flow of entertainment, a primary concern of the latest “Notice from the Central Propaganda Department” of the CPC is the deleterious effects of a lot that goes under the name of “popular culture,” much of which is an imitation of pop culture in the West. The Notice also calls for increased management of the “fan club support groups” that often lead to absolute hysteria, similar to the “Beatles fad” in the West; and managing the internet gaming industry. It also aims at monitoring the tremendous amount of funds that flow through the entertainment “industry,” and will target issues such as sky-high wages, “yin-yang contracts” (a form of tax evasion), and abnormal aesthetics. “Some employees,” the Notice reads, “have low political literacy, weak legal awareness, declining moral concepts, and illegal and unethical words occur again and again, which have a negative impact on society, especially on young people, and seriously pollute the social atmosphere.” The Notice calls for establishing “a correct aesthetic view” and strengthening “the aesthetic guidance of literary creation.” It would be useful to see such rigor in the West.

President Xi Jinping, in a speech at the Central Party School, said that the current situation required greater rigor and moral strength on the part of party cadre to weather the coming storms. “The risks and challenges we face have obviously increased. We must abandon our illusions, fight bravely, refuse to give way on an inch of principle, and safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests with an unprecedented quality of will.”

Kerry Continues His Green Crusade in Visits to Japan and China

U.S. President Biden’s Climate Envoy, John Kerry, visited Asia in early September in an effort to bring Japan and China closer to the Green utopia—namely, to a “carbon-free world” by 2050. The Japanese government of Yoshihide Suga went along fully, but such a policy is strongly opposed by the Japanese business community, and Suga’s stand contributed to his subsequent resignation as Prime Minister on Sept. 3. Kerry had no such luck with his Chinese counterparts. China has already made major commitments for its own reasons on the climate issue, promising to reach “carbon peak” by 2030 and “carbon neutrality” by 2060. But Kerry is pushing for more, using the latest bogus Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report (AR6) as a cudgel, a report which has received a rather low-key response in the Chinese media. State Councilor Yang Jiechi made it clear to Kerry that China will follow its own path in this regard, and upbraided the Biden Administration for continuing the anti-China campaign initiated by the Trump Administration.

Kerry also held a video discussion with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Wang Yi indicated that the U.S. would not have much success in achieving an agreement with China on climate if the rest of the relationship remained one of hostility toward China. Wang said that climate cooperation “cannot sustain without an improved bilateral relationship,” urging the U.S. to “stop viewing China as a threat and a rival” and “cease containing and suppressing China all over the world.”

Astronaut Liu Inspires Hong Kong’s Youth with China’s Space Venture

“Hello friends from Hong Kong!” Chinese astronaut Liu Boming called to the crowd gathered at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on September 3. Liu, one of the three astronauts now on the Chinese space station, Tiangong, was speaking to youth gathered in the Center. “The distance between Heaven and Earth is far,” he said, adding, “as a space guide, let me show you around on this space tour,” which elicited a peal of laughter from the audience. Liu showed them his sleeping quarters in the space station, with a picture of his family and a self-portrait he had done while on the station. He also showed them through the window a view of Earth from the station. There were many questions from the audience. “How do you exercise up there?” was one of them. Mission commander Nie Haisheng then jumped on his bicycle upside down and pedaled with his hands, to everyone’s amusement. The event was also livestreamed so that many more Hong Kong students could view it. It has now become a major topic of discussion among Hong Kong’s youth.

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