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The Context Of The New Anti-China Campaign

Above Photo: Caitlin Johnstone / Twitter.

The reactions to yesterday’s Moon of Alabama post have demonstrated how easy it is for government propagandists to yank the leash of their subjects.

More than half of comments are about barely informed Covid conspiracies theories. Only few recognized the propaganda item for what it was. The starting point of a new China hate campaign that will divert the public from mass casualties in Ukraine and other issues.

After the Wall Street Journal launched its Sunday leak the New York Times and the Washington Post also jumped onto the train. The Times thankfully does better than the WSJ given the ‘low confidence’ expressed about the ‘intelligence’ a prominent position instead of hiding it deep down in its piece:

Lab Leak Most Likely Caused Pandemic, Energy Dept. Says
The conclusion, which was made with “low confidence,” came as America’s intelligence agencies remained divided over the origins of the coronavirus.

The Post is less cautious. It is putting the content into the context of some ‘storied team known as Z-Division’ without ever explaining what that entity is.

Little-known scientific team behind new assessment on covid-19 origins
Small shift in favor of ‘lab leak’ theory was prompted by new data and group of weapons-lab scientists

The stenographers of various main stream media outlets understood the propaganda hints given to them and were eager to offer their participation in it.

Laura Rozen @lrozen – 20:00 UTC · Feb 27, 2023(the number of questions at the WH press briefing about a low confidence assessment by two of 18 agencies, disputed by others, also with low confidence, on the origins of covid 19, …strikes me as bizarre. it seems there is so little there there, …)

would almost think it would not be worth reporting except as a footnote.

That is certainly correct if it were the real issue. But the context is much wider. The coming weeks will see a larger campaign of China bashing.

As the Post notes:

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines is scheduled to testify at a Senate worldwide threats hearing next week and probably will be asked to address the matter. The House select subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic was set to hold a roundtable exploring early covid-19 policy decisions on Tuesday.

There will be more Congress action as  the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, a new China bashing House panel, inaugurates today:

The 7 p.m. hearing will feature four witnesses, including former President Donald Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Trump’s former deputy national security adviser and China expert Matthew Pottinger. Tong Yi, who was the secretary to a prominent Chinese dissident and jailed in China for more than two years, and Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, are also set to testify. Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher, the committee’s Republican chairman, told “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the panel plans to highlight the threats the Chinese Communist Party poses to U.S. interests.

“I think the Chinese spy balloon incident illustrates perfectly that this isn’t just an over-there problem,” the Republican said. “This isn’t just a matter of some obscure territorial claim in the East China Sea. This is a right-here-at-home problem.”

Mike Gallagher had promised strong action:

To win the new Cold War, we must respond to Chinese aggression with tough policies to strengthen our economy, rebuild our supply chains, speak out for human rights, stand against military aggression, and end the theft of Americans’ personal information, intellectual property, and jobs. We must recognize that China’s “peaceful rise” was pure fiction and finally confront the CCP with the urgency the threat demands. To do that, House Republicans will establish a Select Committee on China in the new Congress.

The committee itself can not do much about the issues and its attempts to go against China will mostly be diverted into deregulating U.S. environmental protection:

Meanwhile, in 2019, approximately 90% of the world’s rare earth metals, alloys, and permanent magnets were produced in China. The Select Committee will expose our dangerous dependence on China and advance policies to build secure sources for critical supply chains, either in the United States or in partnership with like-minded allies.

A WSJ Opinion piece details what that means:

The U.S. must challenge China’s dominance in producing the refined rare-earth minerals that go into both chips and green energy. But extracting, refining and using our domestic resources—such as the newly discovered 7-square-mile store of rare earths at Sheep Creek, Mont.—will require regulatory certainty and clarity, not the current morass that fosters litigation and deters development. As these pages noted last month, America suffers from a “green-energy mineral lockup.” To compete with China, Congress must unlock them. Reform is also necessary for less exotic yet no less essential commodities. As S&P Global urged last year in a report on copper and the green-energy transition, America’s “nexus between a politicized regulatory process and the ubiquity of litigation makes it unlikely that efforts to expand copper output in the United States would yield significant increases in domestic supply within the decade. The prospects for any expansions are higher on state and private lands.”

But domestic deregulation is not the only point of the agenda. The U.S. led conflict with China must also transfer into more spending for useless weapons. The further erosion of the U.S. One China policy, which puts China into a militarized zugzwang, will take care of that:

Despite its increasing reliance on military intimidation, Beijing’s calculus for the actual use of force remains heavily political, not military; it is centered on whether or not Washington entirely abrogates its One China Policy and opts for the permanent separation of Taiwan from China. Such a U.S. move would back Beijing into a corner and compel it to take the huge risk of using force, either to compel Washington to reverse course or to attempt to resolve the Taiwan problem once and for all.

It is not that China has not noticed any of this. The new super aggressive U.S. ambassador to Beijing, Nicholas Burns, has done his best to prepare the scene for more conflict:

On February 15, about 350 representatives from Chinese and US political and business sectors attended the AmCham China’s annual appreciation dinner where Burns delivered a speech. He criticized China’s trade, state-owned enterprises, industry subsidies, cybersecurity and regulation, anti-epidemic measures and human rights policies, and even mentioned the recent unmanned airship incident. His criticism of China caused dissatisfaction among the attendees. A source familiar with the matter told the Global Times on Thursday that a staff member from AmCham China said that while Burns was delivering the speech, “the atmosphere was extremely embarrassing.”

China has learned well how U.S. propaganda works. Unlike some MoA commentators it immediately recognized the issue for what its is:

US hypes old ‘lab-leak’ theory in new information war operation against China

Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the US again gave the “lab-leak” theory a major boost, as its Energy Department, citing “new intelligence” but holding “low confidence” in it, joined the FBI in smearing China.Reported exclusively by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Sunday, the claim immediately made headlines in major US news outlets. However, its timing and source “only show the low credibility” of the report, analysts said, adding that the new hyping of an old topic is part of the US’ political and information warfare with China.

One of the WSJ report’s authors is Michael R. Gordon, who was behind the “weapons of mass destruction” narrative the US fabricated to justify its invasion of Iraq 20 years ago.

Lü Xiang, research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday that the timing of the hype is not a coincidence, and that the US will not leave COVID out of its “ammunition depot” against China.

Being ambiguous and non-official and using media rather than government departments to announce something demonstrated the US’ skill in fighting a political war, Lü said.

Hysterical crusades against China have become a signature of the US in our time. To win the competition with China, the US will not let a single chance go by to smear China, whether it is a balloon that has gone astray, a carefully planned “lab-leak” theory, or unfounded weapon supply accusations regarding the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the expert said.

Anti China rhetoric in ‘western’ media is indeed off the charts.

One reason that bashing China has intensified is the fear that its alliance with Russia will make a U.S. defeat in Ukraine inevitable. The recent accusations of China considering weapon deliveries to Russia, a thought crime, was a hint to that. Dima of the Military Summary channel, who is from Belarus, suggested that China could produces ammunition for Russia in his home country to avoid to be punished for it. Lukashenko’s current visit to Beijing may well include talks about such a scheme.

There are some delicate non-denials that let me think there is something to it :

Yesterday, when asked about US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s warning Sunday that there would be ‘real costs’ for China if it went forward with providing lethal aid to Russia, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning did not give a direct answer. “The US is in no position to point fingers at China-Russia relations. We do not accept coercion or pressure from the US,” she said. Interestingly, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also chose not to answer a related question as to whether Russia had asked China to provide any equipment for its special military operation.

The forthcoming visit by Xi Jinping to Moscow, likely to take place next month, will be a defining moment. There is a palpable sense of disquiet in the West, as China’s manufacturing capability exceeds that of the US and Europe combined. Russia is deferring the big offensive in Ukraine, pending Xi’s visit.

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