- Growing tensions in the South China Sea
- U-turn in Covid narrative
- Paxlovid prices skyrocket
- Didi app available again
- Tencent lays off corrupt employees
- Volkswagen plans faster EV development
- Protests and deaths at Chinese plant in Indonesia
- Opinion: China’s science is more opportunity than threat
Have you ever fallen victim to Chinese propaganda? No reason to be ashamed! This happens to business representatives, politicians and scientists all the time. Journalists, too, by the way. But it is not forbidden to learn from one’s mistakes.
Chinese media currently provide textbook propaganda in abundance, which can help us become more aware of the contradictions in the narratives of authoritarian states. A good example is the two completely contradictory Covid narratives from the Chinese central office: Fabian Peltsch describes the phenomenon from zero-Covid to zero-caution.
This example is so valuable because it is rare that lines of arguments in dictatorships have to be so drastically overturned overnight. Because those in power also know that their own credibility suffers as a result. However, this farce offers the opportunity to draw conclusions about other topics in which 180-degree turns are not to be expected and where contradictions, therefore, do not reveal themselves so drastically.
The dispute over the islands in the South China Sea is certainly an issue where China’s propaganda will maintain its original line, no matter what happens. Michael Radunski shows what countermeasures other states take against China’s advance. But here, too, one should not be deceived: The People’s Republic of China is essentially at the root of growing tensions. Whether one is willing to risk this transfer as a consumer of Chinese media is, of course, up to each of us to decide.
Rearming in the South China Sea
A recent report by the financial news service Bloomberg caused a stir: China is in the process of expanding several unoccupied land masses in the South China Sea. This is a dramatic intensification of China’s strategy in the South China Sea, the report said, citing two unnamed Western diplomats.
However, what is new is that the reefs are reportedly rock formations that would not have been under Chinese control before. Until now, ports, airstrips and military infrastructure have been built on reefs previously occupied by Beijing (China.Table reported). It would indeed be an unprecedented act.
China’s Foreign Ministry immediately dismissed the report as false. And Gregory Poling, head of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) in Washington, was also unable to confirm the Bloomberg report. Satellite images available to him showed no significant changes on the four reefs in question. On the contrary: “I would argue that 2022 might actually have been the first year since at least 2012 in which China did not gain greater control of the South China Sea,” Poling told China.Table.