Beijing’s propaganda machine clicked into overdrive during the weekend.
In a blaze of hyperbole, the tightly controlled state media trumpeted that a “new wave of China mania” was about to sweep the world.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Bogged down in a mess of its own making, the ruling Communist Party has alienated major global democracies by using economic coercion and flouting human rights in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Bullying tactics in the South China Sea have only added to this catalog of grime.
Even the Beijing Winter Olympics have been hijacked by President Xi Jinping’s regime, leaving the International Olympics Committee or IOC mired in controversy.
Yet for China’s domestic audience, the “Genocide Games” has been hailed as a “diplomatic” success.
“Just like the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics will also stir up a new wave of China mania,” Li Haidong at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University told state-run Global Times.
“We have entered an era of independent innovation in an open environment. The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics proves our openness,” Lu Xiang at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences added.
Olympic gold or fool’s gold:
- Human rights organizations have called the Winter Olympics the “Genocide Games.”
- A coalition of 200 global campaign groups issued a statement last year.
- They said, “at least two million Muslims – including Uighurs, Kazakhs, and Uzbeks – were in ‘re-education camps’ in China.”
- Civil rights in Hong Kong have also been crushed.
- They said, “freedom and democracy are under attack [while] youth activists are being rounded up and imprisoned en masse.”
- Inside China, “authorities routinely disappear government critics,” the statement said.
Shame Games: China has also come under fire for not respecting the human rights of international athletes competing in the Beijing Olympics. Complaints about the country’s Covid-19 isolation protocols for the Games have piled up.
Delve deeper: China’s rigid lockdown policy was well known. Since the Covid-19 virus first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2019, whole communities have at times been banned from leaving their homes. The IOC can not say they were not warned.
Repressive regime: Earlier this year, a Religious Freedom in the World Report said “the apparatus of repression constructed by the Chinese Communist Party is … fine-tuned, pervasive, and technologically sophisticated.”
Beijing bullying: China has a history of economic coercion, forcing countries and companies to stay silent on human rights issues. But that has dramatically changed.
Style wars: “For years, China’s economic coercion was subtle, selective … and wildly successful. But today, with Xi’s more boisterous style, many Western democracies are tired of being bullied,” The Wire China reported this week.
China Factor comment: The Communist Party’s “open environment” policy is a myth. Secrecy and subterfuge are the CCP’s stock in trade, backed up by the Great China Firewall, which effectively kills online free speech.