The latest Party line: Criticism of Xi Jinping’s regime will worsen pandemic

The latest line from the Beijing is that criticism of the Chinese Communist Party from anywhere in the world will only serve to extend the agony of the global pandemic.

The new party line came on March 25 in the CCP’s authoritative People’s Daily a week after the Trump Administration started holding the CCP responsible for the worldwide spread of the deadly disease, and a day after Secretary of State Pompeo outlined the administration’s new approach.

The Center for Security Policy has been carefully monitoring CCP’s propaganda internally and to the world, and chronicling it with Chinese government actions, statements and policies from the Trump administration, and reports and commentaries in the western media.

The March 25 propaganda line shows an insecure Chinese regime that portrays itself as the protector of all the Chinese people, a responsible and generous citizen of the world that seeks the best for everyone, and as a falsely accused, innocent victim of the pandemic.

The party line is important to understand so that we in democratic societies can recognize it, understand what it means, identify how it is repeated in our open political cultures and who does the repeating, and counter it.

Main party line: All the world except Trump is thankful to China

Several CCP outlets have been publishing endless thanks from around to China and praise for its leadership. Many of the expressions are real, and many come from individuals who are not identified. The theme is to isolate anyone like President Trump and his government who criticize the CCP or seek to hold it accountable, and repeat the theme that China under the Communist Party can do no wrong.

The March 25 People’s Daily article, under the pen name Zhong Seng that is traditionally used to indicate a CCP statement on foreign policy, makes these points for party loyalists and fellow travelers to follow:

  • ‘Some’ in US are discriminatory & ‘pass the buck to China.’ “Some people in the US are obsessed with rude and unreasonable practices . . . . They intentionally fanned up the ‘political virus’ with discriminatory remarks in an attempt to pass the buck to China.” (Flashback: Being’s Central China TV station was one of the first to call the pestilence the “Wuhan Virus” as early as January 9, and official media kept using the term until the CCP changed its line in late February.)
  • ‘Wrongful’ criticism of China’s low transparency and for holding China responsible. “They wrongfully criticized China for a low level of transparency and openness regarding the COVID-19 information sharing, and evilly fabricated rumor that China should be responsible for the spread of COVID-19 in the US. Such conducts are condemnable.”
  • Evil to have ‘innocent’ China pay for the destruction. “What’s worse, these people even asked China to pay for the loss suffered by the US during the epidemic, which is nothing but engaging in evil doings and malicious discrimination of the innocent.”
  • US must repent. “The US side needs to reflect on what it has done to prevent and control the virus in the past two months.”
  • China impeded nothing and offered to help US. The article recounts a litany of US and Chinese statements and exchanges (most of which were only of protocol or other superficial purpose or value) in an attempt to show “that China has not impeded the US efforts on coronavirus control, but offered the US assistance in this regard.”
  • Critics of Chinese regime are ‘heartless.’ “Those US politicians stigmatizing China are totally heartless.”
  • US is to blame for its own delays. “The US should blame itself for difficulties it has encountered in fighting against COVID-19.”
  • CCP won the world valuable time. “It is globally recognized that China has won valuable time for the world to fight coronavirus with its achievements in epidemic prevention and control. . . . The US media outlets know how ineffective their government has been in front of the epidemic.”
    • Cites ex-Clinton/Obama official and Henry Kissinger chair: “Kurt Michael Campbell, formerly Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the US, said bluntly that China’s extremely strict epidemic control measures have won the US a lot of time, but it’s not clear wither the US has made effective use of the time.”
    • Cites World Health Organization. “The World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly expressed that China, by adopting forceful measures against the virus, is protecting the lives of the Chinese people and people of the world.”
  • Communist China is a helpful and generous world citizen. “China, sharing a common destiny with the world, actively offered assistance to other countries after the epidemic broke out overseas. The country has dispatched experts and donated prevention materials to affected countries, and exchanged virus control experience and treatment plans with the world, deepening international cooperation on virus control.”
  • The whole world lauds, admires, and thanks Communist China. “To laud China’s actions, admire China’s responsibility, and thank China’s assistance has become the mainstream voice of the globe.”
  • US is a slacker and a back-stabber. The US “owes money to WHO, “planned to halve” its WHO funding in 2021, and “when the epidemic broke out in china, the US acted as an onlooker, pointing fingers at Chinese prevention and control measures and even giving a stab in the back.”
  • By ‘smearing’ China for his own political gains, Trump undermines the world. “Now, as the epidemic satiation has worsened in the U.S., certain people there started to blame everyone but the U.S. itself. To smear China out of selfish political gains undermines the global efforts to fight the epidemic. The world knows who is responsible and who are not. As the WHO has warned, slandering other countries and people carries a greater risk than the virus itself.”
  • The Party line. “Some people in the United States are advised to lay down their political prejudices at an early date, isolate themselves from ‘political virus,’ and join the global war against the epidemic. Otherwise they will not only hinder anti-virus efforts at home, but also impede the global endeavor.”

About J. Michael Waller

J. Michael Waller is Senior Analyst for Strategy at the Center for Security Policy. His areas of concentration are propaganda, political warfare, psychological warfare, and subversion. He is the former Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor of International Communication at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school in Washington, DC. A former instructor with the Naval Postgraduate School, he is an instructor/lecturer at the John F Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg.