Ping-Pong Diplomacy and the CCP’s Weaknesses
April 14, 2021 Updated: April 14, 2021
On April 10, Shanghai held an opening ceremony for a series of activities commemorating the 50th anniversary of ping-pong diplomacy, when the U.S. table tennis team visited Communist China for the first time in 1971. Due to the current stalemate in bilateral relations, this event came off as awkward.
On the Chinese side, the CCP has intensified its incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, dispatched the aircraft carrier Liaoning for naval training in the eastern waters off Taiwan, directly provoking the U.S. military.
On the United States side, the Biden administration imposed new scientific and technology sanctions on the CCP; the U.S. State Department further eased restrictions on diplomatic exchanges with Taiwan; the “Strategic Competition Act of 2021” has been introduced in the Senate against the CCP; the U.S. Navy’s high-profile exercises in the South China Sea, etc.
These are signals of tensions between the regime and the United States.
Why the Sudden Staging of Ping-Pong Diplomacy?
Cui Tiankai, the Chinese regime’s ambassador to the United States, obviously feeling left out by the United States during the deteriorating bilateral relations, made a video speech on the event. He said, “The Ping Pong Diplomacy of 50 years ago is of special significance in the history of China-U.S. relations. It opened up a creative and unique way of communication between the two peoples, who had been separated for decades, and sent a signal to both countries and the world that China and the United States would improve their relations. … Today, the China-U.S. relationship faces a critical choice as to its future path. … Objectively view each other’s strategic intentions, and make cooperation a common choice for China and the United States, so as to ensure the sustained and steady progress of our relations.”
Back on Feb. 22, Cui demonstrated the CCP’s wolf warrior diplomacy by cooperating with Foreign Minister Wang Yi to openly claim a “red line” on the United States. But now the CCP’s high-profile commemorative ping-pong diplomacy clearly reveals the CCP’s pessimistic attitude towards the current China-U.S. relations.
On April 11, the regime’s mouthpiece Xinhua News published an article, “A ‘Memories Puzzle’ for Half a Century.” This is a strange and unexplained overnight switch in mentality from anti-American to pro-American.
The article recalled the world table tennis championships in Japan 50 years ago, when American player Glenn Cowan mistakenly got on the Chinese team’s bus, and how the two teams broke the ice and established friendship. What the article did not dare to mention is that the CCP propagated the anti-American mentality since the Mao era, stopping the once normal and friendly communication between the two nations.
This anti-American mentality has again been displayed through Xi Jinping’s wolf warrior diplomacy.
Also on April 11, Xinhua published an article titled, “One of the Five Human Rights Violations in the United States: The Sinful Colonialism.” On the one hand, the CCP showed its favor of the United States, while on the other hand, it continued its anti-U.S. propaganda, which reflects the ambivalence of the CCP’s leadership towards the United States. Under the heavy pressure of U.S. sanctions and questions from within the party, the top CCP leaders were forced to downplay their wolf warrior diplomacy, but the domestic anti-American position was not eased.
In Cui’s speech, he said, “Regrettably, some on the U.S. side, obsessed with ideological bias and zero-sum thinking, keep creating obstacles for our people-to-people exchanges.” He also said, “To build a community with a shared future for mankind together with all peoples, including the American people, is our constant pursuit.” It is clear that the CCP has not given up its struggle for hegemony, and it continues to blame the United States for the deteriorating China-U.S. relations. It was actually worried about further U.S. sanctions and the U.S. military’s counterattack in the South China Sea.
Xinhua was quite busy on April 11. Another article, “Xinhua’s View on International Affairs: The Politicization and Manipulation of the Virus Origin Investigation is Despicable and Sinister” stated that “Some Westerners have successively published two so-called open letters drafted by former U.S. White House officials … denounced the research results jointly released by the WHO international expert group and China.” The verbal abuse is seen throughout the article, but it does not target incumbent American officials.
The CCP Exposes Four Major Weaknesses
The CCP’s behavior toward the United States through the series of articles in Xinhua on April 11 actually exposed at least four weaknesses. First, the CCP is afraid that the United States will no longer recognize the CCP regime; second, the CCP is afraid of further economic and technological sanctions by the United States; third, the CCP is afraid of a strong counterattack by the U.S. military; fourth, the CCP is afraid that the United States will take the lead to hold the CCP accountable for concealing the pandemic.
The CCP has laid out its own weaknesses. It depends on whether the U.S. government is willing to counterattack the CCP’s weaknesses.
The United States should know well that the vast majority of Chinese people welcome cooperation and fair competition. It is the CCP that insists on confrontation. The CCP cannot get rid of the sense of crisis regarding the legitimacy of its governance. In the face of the United States and democracy, the CCP always has low self-esteem, and its hostility to the United States is determined by the CCP’s innate nature.
There is no hostility between the Chinese people and the American people. If the United States can strictly distinguish between the CCP and China and is determined to defeat the Communist regime, the American people and the Chinese people will naturally have more ping-pong diplomacy. When the United States helps the Chinese people to eliminate the Communist regime, it helps itself to eliminate security risks, eliminate obstacles to more China-U.S. exchanges, and pave the way for normal China-U.S. relations.
Yang Wei has been closely following China affairs for many years. He has been contributing political commentary on China for the Chinese language Epoch Times since 2019.