In this week’s news, our first story is about the China-USA war of words and how China is fighting back. We read another COVID story supposedly (but with no verification) shedding light on possible origins of COVID. And finally, a balanced and reasoned arguments for both sides of Hong Kong society to learn more about each other.
The battle for global public opinion
A history of American development can be described as a history of Indians’ blood and tears, a history of black slave exploitation, and a history of humiliation of minorities. Nearly 120 countries have criticized the United States for squeezing minorities and other human rights abuses in the UN Human Rights Council.
This and other statements were made by the spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the United States. They covered topics like Xinjiang, vaccines, and Israel in recent days. Without exception, they are criticisms of the United States, and they are very direct.
China and the United States have begun a new round of public opinion wars. In the face of the United States’ accusations against China on Xinjiang and vaccines, while explaining its position, China is also pointing out the United States’ problems. These include the United States’ dark history on racial issues and the United States only caring about its own stockpiling of vaccines. Through these examples, China has shown to the outside world that the United States is not a perfect nation. The United States also has an appalling performance of standing on the high ground of morality when hypocritically criticizing others.
In the past, when the United States accused China on issues such as Tibet and human rights, China’s response strategy was usually to deny it. But now, China has not only defended, it has also taken the offensive. It has begun to talk about the United States’ shortcomings and pains.
Nowadays, China is also raising more and more issues, such as how to treat domestic racial issues in the United States, what role the United States should play as a major country on vaccines and Israel, and tracing the origin of the epidemic to the United States.
China cannot no longer be passive in the battle for public opinion. China is also exploring strategies to change the status quo, pointing out that the other party’s mistakes are just one example.
China’s attempts to win over public opinion also include a change in diplomatic style, which is what the West refers to as “wolf war diplomacy.” But as far as Beijing is concerned, it cannot always be a “good old man.” When faced with accusations from the West, it is impossible for Beijing to stay silent. China needs to be tough when it defends its position and interests.
Of course, these changes in China cause a lot of controversy, constantly criticizing the United States, criticizing the Western media, and even giving rise to China’s perception that every criticism must be opposed. It would be inappropriate for Western public opinion to believe China every time. And it would be inappropriate for China to go to such extremes either.
It is necessary for China to influence public opinion, but China and the West must also accept reality.
Where did COVID start?
The traceability work of the world’s pandemic once again points the finger at China. The focus of the outside world has moved to an abandoned copper mine deep in the mountains of southwestern China. According to reports, in April 2012, six miners here contracted a mysterious disease after entering the mine to clean up bat faeces. Three of them died.
Chinese scientists from Wuhan Institute of Virology came to investigate upon request. After taking samples from bats in the mine, they identified several new types of viruses.
Until now, many questions have not been answered around the diseases of these miners, the viruses found on the spot, and the research on these viruses. In view of this, a conspiracy theory has risen. The epidemic may have leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan. The first COVID-19 cases were detected in Wuhan in December 2019.
The Wall Street Journal reported on May 23 that, according to a previously secret US intelligence report, three Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers had been ill in November 2019 and went to the local hospital for medical treatment. The U.S. State Department stated that several Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers had been ill in the fall of 2019, and “their symptoms were consistent with a new coronavirus and common seasonal diseases.”
In response these comments, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the United States continued to fabricate inconsistent claims. This shows that some people in the United States do not care about facts and truth. The statement cited the conclusion of the WHO expert group on the highly unlikely laboratory leak hypothesis and urged Washington to invite the WHO to investigate early cases in the United States.
More and more virologists, biologists and other well-known scientists are calling for more careful investigation of the hypothesis of laboratory leaks.
In 2020, 27 scientists signed a joint open letter, condemning the conspiracy theory that the epidemic is not of natural origin. Three of the scientists contacted by The Wall Street Journal today said that after further reflection, the origin of the new coronavirus from a laboratory accident seems credible and is worthy of consideration. Other scientists still think this is unlikely and it is not worth investigating.
So far, neither the National Health Commission of China nor the Wuhan Institute of Virology have responded to requests for comment
Lack of consensus in Hong Kong
Does the Chinese central government understand Hong Kong? Obviously not!
If it understands, why are Hong Kong people so dissatisfied after the riots? Hong Kong has returned to China for more than 20 years. Social turmoil is not accidental.
As a person who has been observing its development over the past few decades, I am convinced that the central government has excellent governance capabilities. It is never hasty but meticulous, and it is not a government that seeks refuge in trouble whatever, the weaknesses of Hong Kong’s political situation. There are indeed areas that may be overlooked. This also allows us to better understand that the great innovation of “one country, two systems” cannot be successful with a few words, nor can it be achieved simply by following the rules.
Chinese President Xi Jinping likes to warn officials not to show contempt when dealing with easy things. Being cautious is important to avoid making them difficult to handle. Many mainland friends believe that Hong Kong has always managed well.
This observation proved wrong in hindsight. How can China fail to understand the laws of capitalism, including the various defects hidden under its glorious surface? In the past, the central government underestimated the complexity of Hong Kong’s political situation, thinking that it is easy and trivial. Many people in Hong Kong complain that the central government only knows how to communicate with the business community and cannot see the deep-seated problems of Hong Kong.
In recent years, the central government has finally realized the weakness of its policy for Hong Kong. Therefore, the CCP took the decision to reform, including changing the personnel structure of the Hong Kong governance system.
Do Hong Kong people understand the Chinese Communist Party? Obviously not!
If they understand, why don’t they realize that it will take severe measures to stop the riots. Therefore, China resolutely enacted legislation for national security and adjusted the electoral system to ensure that protesters who violate national security cannot enter the power system.
Hong Kong people are not stupid, nor do they live in an imaginary world. However, the political theory dominating liberal ideology for a long time has established deep-rooted prejudices against the mainland and created a barrier to dialogue. It is impossible for them to talk or listen to the central government.
The impulse of young people is understandable. The pan-democrats’ top figures are also speculative and indulgent and have no respect for Hong Kong’s political ethics. They are so absurd that they even put their political future in the hands of British and American politicians.
I have repeatedly mentioned the principle of “use small things to make great use of wisdom”. It is easy to understand, but not easy to do because of human ignorance and arrogance. I look at the previous statements of radical pan-democratic politicians. They seem to believe that Hong Kong and the central government have the same political status. Not understanding the strength of your opponents inflicts a heavy price. To understand the opponent, we must first understand his existence and his rationale or background.
Take the Article 23 of the Basic Law as an example. This required Hong Kong to introduce national security legislation. Hong Kong society was unwilling to legislate. This was not acceptable to the central government. In 2014, the central government proposed plans for the more democratic election of the chief executive; this was rejected by the Hong Kong Legislative Council. This is the first time in Chinese history that the lower-level parliament vetoed the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. The developments after the anti-amendment riots can only prove the absurdity of ‘hitting rocks with pebbles.’
Most people understand the transformation of the mainland in the past few decades. Hong Kong has also undergone a great transformation in that time. The mainland has undergone tremendous changes in both appearance and essence. Most people only see the appearance and think that they understand the meaning of the change. In fact, they are just looking at a picture, knowing one thing and not knowing the other. But at least they know that a change has occurred.
Hong Kong is full of skyscrapers and very colourful. Many mainlanders think this is paradise. In fact, Hong Kong has never been paradise. Today’s consensus is that Hong Kong has deep-seated contradictions. The gap between the rich and the poor is serious. Behind the towering and beautiful buildings, there is poverty everywhere. The surface is glamorous, but it is unsightly when you walk in.
Political instability is closely related to this. Just looking at the surface, it is difficult for ordinary people push through the essential changes. Similarly, it seems that not many people clearly see the deep-seated problems in the United States. It is difficult to understand why it has frequent shooting crimes, proliferation of drugs, and racial discrimination since the founding of the country.
For Hong Kong, the central government did not see its changes clearly, while the elite in Hong Kong turned a blind eye to the changes for various reasons. Most people are ashamed to speak out, unwilling to accept the reality, admit that they are the losers of the system, and the result comes out in ideology.
If there is no mutual understanding, it is impossible to establish mutual respect. The relationship between Hong Kong and the mainland is not equal, but many Hong Kong people show incomprehensible arrogance towards the mainland and even the central government, making it difficult to establish a relationship that conforms to each other’s identities.
Hong Kong’s recent reforms are everywhere. In addition to the establishment, many others have emphasized that Hong Kong must solve its deep-seated problems. It is rumoured that the Liaison Office of the Central Committee will visit soon. At the grassroots level, understanding the people’s conditions has created momentum for Hong Kong to promote reforms. The Pan-Democratic Party and Democratic Party have also set up working groups to understand the political conditions of the mainland. People’s livelihood has once again become a topic of discussion. Even the government has decided to reclaim agricultural land in the hands of real estate developers for housing. If these are the harbingers of real reforms, perhaps the political conflicts that have been around for many years have played a positive role.
When it comes to social reform, the Democratic Party should be the first political organization to put forward social and people’s livelihood issues. It is a pity that this kind of voice was later overwhelmed by ideological slogans, and they themselves did not insist too much. Nowadays, since all sectors of the political spectrum are emphasizing reform, it should be a social consensus. Hong Kong people and the central government should build a communication platform for reform, working together to solve deep-seated problems, and at the same time increase mutual understanding, to achieve political reconciliation.
Some believe that the problem can be solved by driving the protesters away, prosecuting all the pan-democratic politicians, or using other means to silence them. This may be a short-term means of stopping violence and chaos, but it has no effect on dealing with deep-seated contradictions. If today there are people who deliberately ignore the deep-seated contradictions and think that the riots in Hong Kong are just a small group of people doing things, then they are sinful.
Reconciliation without consensus has no foundation