Opinion: The Man Behind China’s Raging Nationalist Campaigns Against the US
April 3, 2021
The Epoch Times Commentary
Though it may not be clear that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is collapsing for many westerners, the Chinese are quite certain the crash of the Chinese regime is imminent as over 375 million Chinese have quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations.
The CCP—which is on the verge of a crisis—has again raised the banner of nationalism in order to save itself.
It has been a regular tactic over the past century when it has been cornered and has had no other choice.
The latest nationalist campaign started with the CCP’s diplomatic system when Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on March 18 that the United States had “deep concerns with actions by China, including Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber-attacks on the United States, [and] economic coercion toward our allies.”
In the midst of the diplomatic dilemma, the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League (CYL) joined in to initiate a heated boycott of foreign goods, with the CCP’s official mouthpieces provoking nationalist sentiment along the way.
Taken altogether, this incident shows that Wang Huning, a current member of the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee, who controls not only the CYL but also the CCP’s Publicity Department, and has the official media as one of his tools, that he is controlling the diplomatic system from behind the scenes.
Staged Confrontation in Alaska
At the two-day senior-level Alaska talks between China and the United States on March 18 and 19, the two sides to the talks, led by Chinese foreign policy official Yang Jiechi, and Blinken for the United States, respectively, crossed fire with full force at the beginning of their talks, bringing their conflict under the international spotlight.
Yang spoke for 17 minutes without giving time for translation in between. The most surprising remark he made was: “the United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength. The U.S. side was not even qualified to say such things even 20 years or 30 years ago, because the Chinese people don’t buy it.”
As many people have said, Yang’s words were for the Chinese to hear, in order to intensify a new wave of anti-U.S. sentiment among domestic Little Pinks (a pejorative term to describe youths indoctrinated by the Chinese regime). Yang’s performance was also for the head of the CCP Xi Jinping.
After Yang and the CCP’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi dramatically opened the talks with guns blazing, the CCP’s official media quickly cooperated and made a big deal out of it. A post on the CCP’s mouthpiece, People’s Daily’s Weibo was bilingual, with Yang’s words in Chinese and an English sentence “Stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.” The video of Yang’s speech went viral on China’s internet and was met with an outpouring of fanfare from the Little Pinks.
Both Yang and Wang were acting for Xi Jinping. It is true that, just like fighting against the epidemic, foreign affairs are also under Xi’s “personal leadership and personal deployment,” with Xi not daring to leave it to others. The CCP’s foreign ministry appears to have nothing to do with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang. Who is behind Xi, then? It’s Wang Huning, the so-called state advisor.
Wang is in charge of an array of areas, including the CCP’s party building work, ideology, and propaganda. He is also a member of various committees, including the Central Comprehensively Deepening Reforms Commission, Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission, and Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission.
The most striking thing is that Wang was the only member of the Politburo Standing Committee who accompanied Xi to meet with diplomatic envoys of foreign countries on July 17, 2019, as secretary of the Party’s Secretariat, which was the first time in many years. Wang is believed to have replaced Li Keqiang to assist Xi in directing diplomacy.
That is to say, the CCP’s diplomatic system has also become a territory of Wang’s meddling.
In addition, the CCP’s propaganda itself is under Wang’s control, and it is not difficult to judge that Wang is manipulating it behind the scenes.
Boycott Sparked by Controversial Xinjiang
The issue of Xinjiang cotton having sparked a boycott of foreign goods is related to several foreign companies including H&M that publicly stated last year they would stop sourcing their cotton from Xinjiang due to human rights concerns in the region.
After the European Union (EU) and many western countries sanctioned CCP officials over human rights issues in Xinjiang on March 22, the CCP’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on the same day, retaliatory sanctions against 10 European officials and four entities, intensifying the conflict between the Chinese regime and the international community, and creating a weird undercurrent in China’s political situation.
On March 24, the CYL raked up the past on its Weibo account, uploading H&M’s statement last year about its boycott of the sweatshop product Xinjiang cotton, asking H&M to “stop yuejipengci” in English.
It explained in another post that “yuejipengci” in Chinese means “going beyond one’s capacity to fake an incident for money.” This is also a follow-up to the statement made by Yang Jiechi during the U.S.-China talks in Alaska, which represents a rogue diplomatic phrase: “Chinese people don’t buy this.”
Starting with CYL settling scores, almost all of the Chinese regime’s official media, including CCTV and People’s Daily, launched an all-out attack on H&M at about the same time. The storm spread rapidly to more than a dozen international brands such as Nike and Adidas.
At her March 25 regular press conference, the CCP’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying showed a photo of American slaves from more than 100 years ago and compared it to the current color photo of Xinjiang, arguing that the United States also used black slaves to grow cotton over 100 years ago. However, the so-called “black slaves picking cotton” photo she showed to foreign journalists was exposed by U.S. Newsweek to be a postcard from the archives of the Library of Congress entitled: “Sharecropper Sam Williams with family members and laborers in cotton field.”
Why did a statement released a year ago from H&M become compromising material to be used now by the CCP’s official media? Why did it suddenly ignite a national movement in China against foreign brands? Why did the CCP’s organizations including its domestic propaganda system and its foreign ministry spokesperson, join the fray? Obviously, just like the performance of senior Chinese diplomats in Alaska, they were prepared in a coordinated effort.
The CYL is a so-called mass organization of the CCP, a channel for the CCP to connect with Chinese people, especially young people, and Wang is the superintendent of the CYL, with ideology and propaganda also under Wang’s direct supervision. The Chinese regime’s diplomacy is manipulated by Wang from behind the scenes. Therefore, this nationalist drama appears to be under the command of Xi Jinping, the so-called super authority in China, but Wang is the true director.
Xi’s Leftward Turn Is Designed by Wang
In recent years, Xi has made frequent moves to the left, showing a tendency to emulate Mao Zedong in various fields. Early on, he asked senior CCP officials to study the writings of Mao Zedong in order to deal with trade negotiations with the United States. Many of Xi’s speeches were copied from Mao.
Xi claims that “time and momentum are on our side.” In his domestic policies, he boasts about the allegedly fake human miracle of poverty eradication, and he puts forward a so-called 2035 Vision Plan. In his foreign policies, he regards the world trend as “the East is rising and the West is falling,” and the United States as his number one enemy. These are all signs indicating the rise of nationalism across the board.
Xi’s leftward turn is due to the fact that he has been deeply influenced not only by the CCP culture but also by Wang Huning, who has easy access to him.
Wang, known as the “state advisor for three dynasties (he has served two previous CCP general secretaries Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao and the current general secretary Xi),” first helped Jiang Zemin package the so-called “Jiang Zemin Theory,” and later was an important promoter of Hu’s theory “Scientific Outlook on Development.” He is also the author of Xi’s “Chinese Dream” and the so-called Xi’s Thought that was added to the CCP’s party constitution at the 19th National Congress of the CCP.
After the 19th National Congress of the CCP, a series of internal speeches by Xi Jinping that revealed his ideological orientation was published in the party media, and many of them were designed by Wang. It is said that even when Xi attends international conferences, Wang prepares some small notes for him.
See How Wang’s Nationalist Farce Ends
Despite Xi’s intention to rely on it, Wang’s proud work has been exposed from time to time as a backhanded compliment.
For example, the rise of nationalism in the previous two years, represented by the documentary “Amazing China” to glorify the CCP, was shattered by a sudden trade conflict between the United States and China. In addition, it revealed the reality that China has long relied on the West for its core technologies. At the time, a group of CCP officials spoke out through pro-Beijing Hong Kong media, implicitly criticizing Wang’s propaganda system for bringing harm to the country.
Last year, just after the outbreak of the CCP virus pandemic in Wuhan, China, the Publicity Department under Wang’s control released a propaganda book, “A Battle Against Epidemic: China Combats The Novel Coronavirus in 2020” in late February, touting Xi’s “major country leader’s love for the people.” The book, initially due to be published in five languages including English, was pulled off shelves less than a week after its release due to the negative feedback. A Beijing citizen, Xue Fumin, reported under his real name that Wang, as a member of the CCP’s Standing Committee in charge of propaganda, should be held politically accountable for his lack of care for the people.
Although Wang has been repeatedly protected by Xi, the CCP’s propaganda system has become a subject of ridicule for Chinese citizens, and for the international community.
Yang’s remark “China doesn’t buy it” has been ridiculed by Chinese netizens, making similar sentences out of the template. For example, “China doesn’t buy the American way, but only Mao’s cultural revolution way”; “China doesn’t buy the American way, but only the way that caused 30 million peoples’ death in the three-year famine.”
The current Boxer-Rebellion style boycott of foreign goods has now begun to take a turn for the worse. Videos are seen on Weibo of people burning Nike sneakers and cutting H&M clothes to vent their anger, and a shopping mall removed H&M’s outdoor billboards.
Amid all this chaos, a Little Pink in Zhengzhou was taken away by police at a protest site for boycotting H&M.
Then certain CCP’s media began to call for vigilance against “bad guys” who acted too aggressively in the boycott campaign.
An article entitled “Bad people are mixed in with the masses who boycott H&M,” published on March 26 in Nanfang Daily, a mouthpiece of the CCP’s Guangdong provincial committee, asked its readers to “be wary of some irrational actions and attempts to muddy the water with the intention of high-level backhand compliment.”
Is it the Little Pinks or the CCP’s mouthpiece being ironic? Of course, it is the CCP’s own mouthpiece, because they started the push for a boycott.
Some netizens said that people should not blindly follow trends, as this results in following the CCP.
In fact, it is not difficult to imagine that the so-called anti-Japanese patriotic demonstrations that occurred ten years ago in China were eventually stabilized. The CCP fanned the flames of nationalism then too against Japan and Japanese companies.
The CCP claims that it wants people to be patriotic, but in reality, it does not allow it. Loving the country makes the Party’s rule unstable. It actually wants people to blindly love the CCP. In a country where there are no human rights, no freedom of thought, no freedom of speech, and where even citizens are afraid to appeal to the government, there is only a nationalist drama manipulated by those in power, and when the time comes to disperse, it is time to disperse.
Yue Shan is a freelance writer who used to work for CCP’s government organizations and listed Chinese real estate companies in his early years. He is familiar with the inner workings of the CCP’s system and its political and business relations and is dedicated to analyzing Chinese politics and current trends. He has been a long-time contributor to several Chinese media outlets based in the US and Taiwan.