Anti-China propaganda is intended to indoctrinate Americans with fear and hatred and gain support for war against that country and against socialism itself.
This is an edited version of remarks given by the author at the Friends of Socialist China’s webinarentitled, Propaganda War Against China, held on October 9th.
Friends of Socialist China formed out of what we saw as a dire need to gather all information, original and otherwise, to counter the misinformation being spread about China. We didn’t include the word “socialist” in our title for gimmick or display but rather to send a firm message of respect and admiration to the Chinese people’s socialist path. In many ways, the propaganda war against China possesses a dual mission: the ramping up of a dangerous U.S.-led New Cold War against China and the demonization of the socialist mode of development.
We at Friends of Socialist China have identified an immense gap in the political development of progressive forces in the Western world. Progressive forces in the West reside in the most propagandized societies in the world when it comes to China. For example, majorities of people in the United States view China as a “threat” to their interests . This includes many so-called “progressive” organizations and even those who identify as socialists. Thus, we see it as our duty to not only stand against the dangerous war provocations at the root of anti-China propaganda but also to engage in the process of educating the masses of people about China and the socialist world.
The debate about propaganda in the West is generally confined to an idealistic framework of make-believe. Abstract concepts of “good” and “evil” fit comfortably within a capitalist order that privileges the profits of wealthier, mainly white individuals at the expense of the vast collective of humanity. Good and evil can be easily manipulated and repurposed to serve powerful actors within the Western media, political, and military industrial complex. For the first decade of the twenty-first century, “evil” was defined as terrorism. Any country that was labeled a harbor of terrorism became an instant target for war and regime change. Now these same neocon actors led by the United States tell us that China is the latest “evil” that the world should worry most about.
Built into this war is the fundamental quest to keep China and the rest of the world in a state of dependency on U.S. hegemonic interests.
Billionaire investor George Soros’ op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last August represents a good example of the 21st-century’s version of Yellow Peril. Soros specifically targeted President Xi Jinping, calling him the “greatest threat to the Chinese state.” The wealthy titan of investor capital claims that China under Xi has become authoritarian, war-like, and aggressive. China can do no good and we should all be very, very afraid.
Just a few weeks later, Soros penned another op-ed, this time for the Financial Times, claiming that China’s lack of understanding of the “free market” placed foreign investors at risk. In both articles, Soros drops major hints of his strong belief that rich, private capitalists speak for all of humanity. He laments that Xi Jinping is seeking to “destroy the geese that lay the golden eggs.” This is metaphoric speak for private Western investors such as himself who see recent efforts to promote common prosperity in China as a direct threat to their dream of the socialist country becoming a Western-style “democracy.” Soros goes on to demand that US Congress formulate legislation that prohibits asset managers from investing in Chinese companies unless they have “transparent” structures amenable to foreign stakeholders. In other words, China must allow foreign corporations to dictate its economic affairs or be punished accordingly.
George Soros’ seemingly unhinged anti-China screeds are important because they expose the underlying basis for the propaganda war against China. Capitalist investors such as Soros have never forgiven China for waging a successful revolution and placing the sovereignty and dignity of the Chinese people above their own narrow and profit-driven interests. China’s economic reforms beginning in the 1970s offered lucrative opportunities for foreign investors to benefit from the Chinese market but this has not satisfied those in the U.S. and West who want to own the Chinese market entirely. At the root of the propaganda war is a motivation to bring about a second “century of humiliation” in China where the nation is once again subservient to the exploitative dictates of the Western capitalist order. This is particularly fitting for George Soros since it was his speculative activities as head of the Quantum Hedge Fund that helped facilitate the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s.
The propaganda war against China intentionally ignores history in an effort to satisfy the narrow interests of a minority of imperialist countries, mainly the United States. But history is our greatest tool for understanding the present, and history says that the U.S. and its imperialist allies in the West are guilty of the very crimes they misattribute to China. China has not committed anything that could be called a genocide in Xinjiang but the United States has committed several. This includes the near extermination of Indigenous nations which served as a material foundation for the development of the U.S. capitalist economy. China does not employ slave labor but slave labor was crucial to U.S. development. Prison labor, which has been compared to slavery, remains a major component of U.S. political economy.
Worse than hypocritical are claims of Chinese military aggression given that the United States spends more on its military than the next eleven countries combined and has been at war for more than 90 percent of its history. Preposterous characterizations of China’s political system as a repressive dictatorship which “covered up” the COVID-19 pandemic minimize the fact that the United States leads the world in COVID-19 cases and deaths and possesses a government that is increasingly mistrusted by majorities of its population and indeed much of the world . This just scratches the surface of the intense hypocrisy that plagues the U.S.-led propaganda war against China.
U.S. hypocrisy exposes a fatal flaw in the designs of the propaganda war. Built into this war is the fundamental quest to keep China and the rest of the world in a state of dependency on U.S. hegemonic interests. But the U.S., once proclaimed “the leader of the free world,” is now in a state of decline. Internally, living standards for the vast majority of people are worsening and racial cleavages exacerbating amid runaway privatization and inequality. U.S. foreign policy is increasingly defined by “might makes right” to compensate for the economic contraction of the U.S. capitalist system. Since neither the U.S. nor its allies are in a position to provide an example to the world worth following, China and any other country that seeks to assert an independent path of development has been targeted for containment—a euphemism for the New Cold War.
It is massively important that we call the propaganda war against China what it is: an imperialist and racist set of fabrications wielded in the interests of U.S. unipolar hegemony. More than this, the propaganda war denigrates the achievements of socialism and erases the immense sacrifices of the Chinese people. People living within an aggressor country such as the United States have been stripped of their right to learn from China’s massively successfully response to COVID-19. China’s defeat of extreme poverty last year raises important lessons for increasingly poverty-stricken Western societies but these have gone unheeded in a climate of Cold War-like hostility. As disillusionment in the false promises of so-called Western democracy grows, the fact that more than 95 percent of Chinese people trust their governance system deserves deep study rather than the skepticism offered by the U.S.-led New Cold War.
We at Friends of Socialist China reject the premise that the propaganda war can be fought solely by exposing the criminality of its architects. Friends of Socialist China is a tool for progressive forces everywhere to build mass opposition to imperialist aggression and solidarity with China’s right to peaceful socialist development on terms determined by the Chinese people. The reality is that the former cannot exist without the latter. Luckily, the achievements of the Chinese revolution and the world socialist movement can teach us this important lesson so long as they are defended from the slander of imperialism.