Tuesday 16th of July 2024

understanding china is a sin for america....

The policy of the United States is made up of calculated provocations which aim to raise tensions while immediately decrying the legitimate reactions of the provoked power. China needs a peaceful world to pursue its development and improve the living conditions of the Chinese people. There is no doubt that it will be able to resist the temptation offered to it by imperialism, this paper tiger, which will receive a blow on the muzzle when the time comes, as in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and soon in Ukraine.





Westerners are so accustomed to waging war on others that they do so almost unknowingly, always availing themselves of lofty ideals designed to preserve their pristine conscience. But this self-blindness hides another: war being second nature to them, they also struggle to imagine a great power that is repugnant to it. In the meantime, the facts speak for themselves: the United States and its allies have multiplied wars and massacres over the past four decades, while China has carefully refrained from them.


A Western media cliché incriminates the neutral country for the so-called "brutality" of its relationship to others, but one wonders on what facts such an interpretation is based. Another effort on the Western media part to create smoke, as these journalists of irreproachable ethics would almost make us forget that the Somalis, the Serbs, the Afghans, the Iraqis, the Sudanese, the Libyans and the Syrians have never received Chinese bombs on the head. Living in the marvellous world of the benefactor West which dispenses its light to amazed peoples, such “experts” are above all experts in fabrication, and if we were not careful, we would take pig bladders for Chinese lanterns.


Recalling what China really represents in its relationship to the world is therefore not a useless exercise, as the patented forgers who populate the Western media take care to mislead public opinion by watering it with nonsense about "Chinese domination" — this new fake news of “Asian barbarism” and the “yellow peril”. A crude accusation, which is added to all the nonsense which infects the media all the more easily as the string is thicker, like the grotesque fable invented by Washington on the alleged "genocide" of the Uyghurs. So many nonsense on which one hesitates to burst out laughing as the matter is serious, being all the same the second — and perhaps even the first — economic power in the world.

With regard to this gossip, it is more than ever necessary to apply the only rational method: when the interpretation is contradicted by the facts themselves, it is not the facts that must be changed but the interpretation. We will therefore have to make up our minds: China is not what a bunch of media crooks and brainless politicians say. And if its rise to power on the world scene is spectacular, it does not fall into the adulterated categories to which a handful of charlatans cling desperately in an attempt to discredit it.




Certainly, we will agree with the realists that China is not a philanthropic association and that it fiercely defends its national interests. So what ? How could you blame China? This is what every state worth its salt does and it is unlikely to be otherwise in the future. China is a sovereign state which jealously watches over its independence and sends to the ropes all those who would have the temptation to want to trim its territorial integrity, as its constant position on the fate of its Taiwanese province temporarily separated from the Mother-Country. Although dictated by common sense and faithful to a respectable conception of sovereignty, this allergy to external interference is part of a being-in-the-world that Western media Sinology pretends not to understand.


Out of intellectual laziness and ideological conformism, the dominant commentary prefers to accredit a fanciful narration where Beijing always appears in the guise of an ugly bogeyman. But it doesn't matter: we won't change anytime soon the habits of a group of "specialists" in commissioned service whose intellectual honesty and scientific probity have long since been misguided by generous funding from the Quai d'Orsay, the EU and NATO. In order to save time, let us indulge their complete works in what Marx called the "gnawing criticism of mice." Abandoning this fantastical China forged by the mentality of the Cold War, let us instead make the effort to understand the genesis of Chinese power by exposing the principles on which it is ordered. From this point of view, there is no shortage of documents to be included in the file, and we will see that practice is far from contradicting theory.


As it happens that the Chinese never miss an opportunity to point this out, it is no doubt necessary to begin by indicating what constitutes the very foundation of the foreign policy of the People's Republic of China. However, this historical foundation, unshakeable until now, is none other than respect for the “principles of peaceful coexistence”. It is sometimes said that China since Mao Zedong wanted to be faithful to the heritage of the spirit of the famous conference of Bandung (1955), where the nations of the Third World had laid the foundations of the Non-Aligned Movement. It is not wrong, but the "Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence" were defined a year earlier, during the meeting between India, China and Burma.

It was therefore not the Bandung Conference that gave birth to the principles of peaceful coexistence, but the peaceful coexistence whose paradigm, largely inspired by Beijing in general and Zhou Enlai in particular, nourished the Bandung Conference. Formulating a true ethics of international relations, these famous five principles are explicit: "mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in internal affairs, equality and reciprocal benefits”.


In short, the "win-win" policy dear to Xi Jinping is not new, and it is striking to see that in October 2022 his report to the XXth Congress of the CPC is still inspired by these principles: "The China has always pursued a foreign policy aimed at preserving world peace and promoting common development, and is committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind. 人类命运共同体 rénlèi mìngyùn gòngtóngtǐ.


“China will respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, as well as the development paths and social systems independently chosen by their peoples.”

China will also strive to promote “equality between countries, regardless of their size, power and wealth; will firmly oppose hegemonism and the politics of the fittest in all their forms; and reject Cold War mentality, interference in the internal affairs of other countries and “double standards”. Finally, “China will pursue a national defence policy of a defensive nature, and its development will allow the forces for peace in the world to gain ground. It will never claim hegemony or expansion, whatever its level of development."


This is why, far from displaying a relativism that would take advantage of Chinese specificities to deny the common values of humanity, China's foreign policy calls for an inclusive, and not exclusive, universalism: "We sincerely call on all the countries of the world to promote the common values of all humanity, such as peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom", 和平、发展、公平、正义、民主、自由hépíng, fāzhǎn, gōngpíng, zhèngyì, mínzhǔ, zìyóu. With such formulas, China intends to affirm that humanity is indeed the depositary of a common heritage, but that no power has a monopoly on its interpretation.


Between the universal and the particular, the circulation is downward and not upward: each country adheres to the universal idea of freedom or democracy, but it is up to it to set the terms in full sovereignty, and no particular injunction to another State is not justified in dictating to it its own relation to the universal. From such a perspective, it is clear that human universality is compatible with national particularities, since the very definition of universal includes the legitimacy of particular interpretations. While the West willingly sets itself up as the exclusive repository of the universal and thus claims to universalise its own particularity, the Chinese approach establishes a true universalism, fundamentally pluralistic and respectful of differences.


From Mao Zedong to Deng Xiaoping and Xi Jinping, of course, Chinese foreign policy has had many twists and turns. With Mao, China was unified and freed from foreign occupation. She won her strategic autonomy with the possession of nuclear weapons in 1964 and she entered the UN Security Council in 1971. This is a considerable record, and it would not come to mind to no Chinese to question it. The restoration of normal relations with the Western world is also an initiative of Mao Zedong, who understood that China would need it in order to continue its development.


Put back in the saddle by Mao in 1973, Deng Xiaoping collected from 1978 the heritage of the last phase of the Maoist period, while adopting a "low profile" in foreign policy: China above all wanted to insert itself into world flows. in order to capture the technologies of the developed world and accelerate its own development. The foreign policy of Deng Xiaoping and his successors then favoured the opening of the Chinese economy and the abstention from any initiative that could antagonise the West. It is this conciliatory policy that culminates with China's accession to the WTO in 2001, at the request of Western countries who then imagine that they are going to convert Beijing to liberalism.




But this “low profile” policy soon gave way to a much more ambitious policy. Among the factors that will contribute to this paradigm shift in foreign policy, two phenomena are of particular importance: the impressive success of Chinese modernisation and the growing rivalry with the United States. In a sense, the low profile is a victim of its own success. It is because China has succeeded in its modernisation that it occupies a growing place on the world stage, and it is for the same reason that the United States will finally try to stem its rise. Driven by its own successes and by the hostility of the US, China's foreign policy is gradually revising its ambitions upwards. Does it therefore renounce peaceful coexistence, that is to say what Chinese diplomacy today has the habit of calling “multilateralism”?


It seems not. For ten years, in fact, China has continued to affirm invariably in the eyes of the world that it has a peaceful foreign policy 和平外交政策 hépíng wàijiāo zhèngcè. At the same time, she also affirms with Xi Jinping that one must "have self-confidence and rely on one's own strengths" 自力更生 zìlìgēngshēng, taking as it is a formula borrowed from the Maoist period. Above all, it is now setting itself an ambitious goal: as Xi Jinping stated before the 20th Congress: "After having experienced profound suffering during the modern era, the Chinese nation and the Chinese people are heading towards a bright future: the great national revival" 中华民族伟大 复兴 zhōnghuá mínzú wěidà fùxīng.


In this last formulation, many Western commentators, one suspects, see an “affirmation of power” and a “hegemonic will”, even the project of a real “world domination”. But this view against China is neither what the Chinese think nor what they do. In their eyes, this assertion of power does not reflect any project of conquest and is in no way comparable to a decision of imperialism. On the contrary, Xi Jinping's report to the XXth Congress of the CPC insists on the singularity of the Chinese path: "Chinese modernisation is characterised by the pursuit of the path of peaceful development".


This is why, specifies Xi Jinping, “we do not follow the old road taken by certain countries to achieve their modernisation through war, colonisation and plunder; this road, which served the interests of some while harming others, was that of the bloody and abominable crimes from which the peoples of the developing countries have suffered deeply and still suffer. We have chosen to be on the right side of history, that is, on the side of the progress of human civilisation. We must raise the banner of peace, development, cooperation and the principle of win-win, and ensure that safeguarding world peace and development can ensure China's development, and that China's development will, in turn, benefit the safeguard of world peace and development.


However, this invocation of history, for the secretary general of the CCP, corresponds to a political line that has been firmly held: "We have firmly preserved international equity and justice, and advocated true multilateralism while putting it ourselves even in practice. We have unequivocally opposed hegemonism and the politics of the fittest in all their forms, and we have fought steadfastly against all acts of unilateralism, protectionism and intimidation.” Heir to the discourse on peaceful coexistence, is this constant reference to multilateralism only a discourse, as China's opponents claim?


Certainly not. China has effectively not participated in any armed conflict for 45 years and refuses any form of military alliance, including with its closest partners. This large country has only one military base abroad when the United States has more than 700. Could China create new bases and compete with the opposing military? China has the means and it would easily find friendly countries to welcome its troops. If China doesn't, it doesn't want to. Obviously, such a refusal shows that the projection of Chinese power is anything but military and excludes in principle the use of force far from national borders.


Similarly, Beijing has favoured the birth of cooperation organisations with partner countries such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the BRICS, but these organisations hardly impose any obligations on member countries and are more platforms for exchange and joint work. This no doubt explains it: a true international coalition for development and peaceful cooperation, the success of the BRICS is such that today 18 countries are candidates for membership.


It is anything but a mutual defence pact, in any case, and it should be noted in passing that the bilateral treaty with Russia, too, is not a military alliance, contrary to what some commentators claim. Admittedly, China has made a considerable effort to modernise its army over the past ten years, but its military budget is very far from reaching the dizzying heights of Western hegemony: with 260 billion against 840 billion for the US, China spends 13 times less per inhabitant, for its army, than its thalassocratic rival. It is sometimes said that the numbers say what you want them to say, but in this case, they are eloquent enough.


Needless to say, of course, that China does not inflict punitive and unilateral measures on sovereign countries and does not practice any regime change, unlike the US which imposes illegal and deadly measures on forty countries. and continue to interfere in the internal affairs of United Nations member states, including China. It is true that, on this chapter, Washington is misguided. Because if China never interferes in the affairs of others, it does not tolerate any foreign interference in its internal affairs, whether in Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang or on the question of human rights.


Regarding its island province of Taiwan, China advocates a peaceful reunification 和平统一 Hépíng tǒngyī which would prelude the establishment of a special regime: "one country, two systems" 一国两制 yīguóliǎngzhì similar to that of Hong Kong, while not excluding not the possibility of the use of force in the event of separatist provocation. In addition to bringing together the two shores of the Strait of Formosa and completing the unification of the country, this inevitable outcome of the Taiwanese crisis will put an end to the absurdity of the current situation, where this entity which is not an internationally recognised State sees itself over-armed by an American protector that does not recognise him.


Similarly, in the South China Sea, if China affirms its claims in this maritime space of strategic importance for its security and its trade, it shows itself willing to negotiate and takes care to avoid any military slippage with the countries neighbours. China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia do not have the same vision of their interests in this strategic maritime zone, but these countries are not at war and do not take the warpath despite their differences. Washington's obstinacy in wanting to stir up tensions in the region in order to "contain China" comes up against the rational perception by regional actors, and in particular by China, of their own interests.




In the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the dominant commentary in the West loses sight, no doubt deliberately, of what constitutes the basis of the Chinese position. China never said it approved of Russian intervention, and it abstained in the General Assembly when voting on Western resolutions condemning Russia. Moreover, like many countries of the South, it refuses to sanction Russia, because it considers NATO responsible for this war. And unlike Western countries, China does not deliver arms to any belligerent, it has proposed a peace plan, and it is calling for a ceasefire intended to put an end to the suffering of civilian populations. Instead of pleading with China to “put pressure” on Russia, Westerners had better ask themselves what their contribution to peace is when they deliver weapons to Ukraine that kill Russian civilians.


If Chinese foreign policy is peaceful, then the question is what are its long-term goals and how is it going to achieve them? The incomprehension of the Chinese presence in the world, in fact, comes from the refusal to estimate at its fair value its policy of economic cooperation with a planetary dimension. With the Belt and Road Initiative launched in 2013, China is pursuing the path of peaceful development based on cooperation with countries around the world. For Chinese leaders, China has developed by inventing an original model, and it is this success that underpins its international influence. As Xi Jinping reminds us, China is ready to “assume more of its international responsibilities, while strengthening the ability of other countries to develop on their own, in full sovereignty and according to the model of their choice”. Its main objective is to promote “win-win” cooperation where each partner benefits from working together.


The Belt and Road Initiative aims precisely to “promote international economic cooperation by promoting the spirit of the ancient Silk Roads, in order to build a community of destiny”. It's a beautiful program, but is this speech in line with reality? Rather let us judge. Whether we like it or not, the Belt and Road Initiative has become a gigantic platform for exchanges promoting the connection of infrastructures and the development of international trade. With 3,000 infrastructure investment projects, 153 countries involved and Chinese financial participation that exceeds 900 billion dollars in ten years, the Initiative launched in 2013 has become the largest existing economic cooperation mechanism on the global scale.


Is this vast undertaking part of a “new imperialism”, as critics of Chinese policy put it? This accusation seems largely unfounded, since China, as always, applies the principle of non-interference which is the foundation of its diplomacy. By cooperating with other countries, China respects the right of peoples to choose their path independently and does not impose any standard of economic policy, unlike Western donors who impose the "neoliberal consensus" (privatisation, deregulation, reduction taxes, etc.) in return for the loans granted.


Even if it is sometimes criticised (including in the countries of the South), this policy of international cooperation is widely supported worldwide. Some projects are controversial, there are sometimes disagreements on the modalities of implementation, but no one disputes that the assessment of "The Belt and the Road" is largely positive and testifies to China's commitment to the side of the countries partners. The partnership between China and Africa, for example, has resulted in the construction of modern infrastructure: in ten years, Chinese companies and their local partners have built 10,000 km of roads, 6,000 km of railways, 30 ports, 20 airports, 80 power stations, 140 schools, 45 stadiums, etc.


Never short of sterile polemics, some Western countries then accused China of having thrown the poorest countries into “the debt trap” to gain market share. According to the World Bank, however, the public external debt of the 82 low-income and lower-middle-income countries is held 40% by private commercial creditors, 34% by multilateral creditors (mainly Western and Japanese) and 26% by bilateral creditors, of which only 10% for China. Even if, in Africa, the share of Chinese claims amounts to 18% of the total, to say that the new debt crisis is attributable to Chinese greed is a sham, especially after China unilaterally canceled many debts contracted by the poorest countries.


Today, events are rushing and the swing of the world from West to East has just experienced a sudden change of pace. The more the role of China on the international scene increases, the more the criticism becomes systematic, virulent and aggressive. It casts a smokescreen on Chinese reality that is all the more devastating because the monolithic Western press prohibits debate and excludes dissenting opinions. However, there is an urgent need for homo occidentalis to convert his gaze to the independent country, to try to understand China and its presence in the world a little better. It is time to take a step back and ask ourselves, fundamentally, if China's attitude on the international scene is not the expression of being-in-the-world that claims its roots in an ancestral history.




The immensity of the Chinese space has indeed favoured, since High Antiquity, a representation of China as a "heartland", a specific place endowed with original characteristics due to its central location. Quite a commonplace feature after all, and China is no exception. Every civilisation has a unique perspective on the rest of the world, and this view expresses above all the idea it has of itself. But contrary to what the Western doxa affirms, this imaginary centrality does not found any exceptional status and does not legitimise any claim to supremacy.


This traditional conception, on the contrary, goes hand in hand with the representation of a pluralistic world and a composite humanity, of which no power is entitled to claim hegemonic leadership. It is this vision of the world that explains China's position on the international scene: affirmation of its own national sovereignty, refusal of any form of interference in the affairs of other countries, and promotion of a multilateral approach to the problems of the world.


If China is today a peaceful power, it is not only by political choice, its leaders having made the choice of development and proscribing external adventure — but also for deeper reasons. This is because the symbolic centrality has confined it to concern itself first with its subjects before concerning itself with the rest of the world. Receiving as a priority the beneficial influence of heaven, is not the "heartland" located at the centre of the world by a timeless decree? This privileged situation devotes it to the management of a vast territory which is already a heavy task. If China today practices neither war nor interference outside its borders, it is by virtue of a cosmological status whose privilege is accompanied by a promise of peace with regard to the other nations.


What Chinese history shows is that China never sought to build a colonial empire beyond the seas and that it never extended its authority beyond its civilisational area. If China is peaceful, it is because its original equation forbids an imperialism of which the Western powers are accustomed. Keystone of the inhabited world, the "heartland" would condemn itself to destruction if it dispersed beyond the margins. It would run the risk of dissolving into formlessness if it renounced the dividends of a hard-won peace. A self-representation that is not only mental, but that defines a true being-in-the-world. Transposed into action, it generates a relationship with others that the usual givers of lessons in the West should meditate on.


It will then be said that China throughout its history has never ceased to be at war, and this statement is correct. For two thousand years, the survival and the greatness of the empire went through the confrontation at the borders, constantly threatened by the peoples of the periphery (Mongols, Turks, Tibetans, etc.). China was far from being an “immovable empire”, as Europeans still believed in the 19th century. Constantly reworked, often chaotic, the unification of the Chinese empire lasted more than 2000 years and it often resorted to the force of arms to confront invaders and rebels of all kinds.


In this process of unification, the Chinese empire often found itself on the defensive, especially in the face of the nomadic horsemen who broke from the Mongolian steppe in successive waves. When China decided to go on the offensive to retake lost territories or push back the borders of the empire, two characteristics are significant. First, Chinese expansion never exceeded the limits of its civilisational area, so that the Chinese conquest aimed first of all to unify Chinese space, as did the Han, the Tang or the Ming. And when it overflowed the Chinese space itself, this policy of conquest was carried out on the initiative of the two great foreign dynasties, the Yuan (Mongols) and the Qing (Manchus).


In the 20th century, the People's Republic of China waged war three times: in 1950-53 against Korea, in 1962 against India, in 1979 against Vietnam. Triggered by an attempt at unification that would have succeeded if the US had not massively intervened in favour of South Korea, the Korean War was never wanted by China. Inevitable from October 1950, the Chinese intervention in the peninsula was aimed at driving out the American troops that their offensive had carried to the Chinese border. A defensive war, but also a war costly in human lives, it fixed the enemy forces on the 38th parallel and demonstrated that the revolutionary army of a developing country could repel the military forces of the first world power.


The conflict with India in 1962 is directly linked to the Tibetan question, aggravated by the border disputes inherited from British colonisation. Won by China, this short conflict has undoubtedly left its mark. It was China who went on the offensive and their victory was swift. In fact, this conflict followed a first clash in August 1959, a few months after the Tibetan uprising and the flight of the Dalai Lama. Nehru's support for Tibetan separatism prompted China to make this show of force. After defeating the Indian army, China declared a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew its troops from the disputed areas. Like the intervention in Korea (but infinitely less deadly), this military operation on China's borders aimed to secure its borders by deterring the adversary from pursuing activities deemed threatening.


A third conflict pitted China against Vietnam in 1979. Brief without being decisive, the military intervention on the Sino-Vietnamese border was intended to teach a lesson to the rulers of Hanoi following the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. Mixed on the military level, the result of this punitive expedition was almost nil on the political level. Beijing failed to secure a Vietnamese withdrawal from Cambodia, where troops from Hanoi liberated Phnom Penh and pushed the Khmer Rouge back into the jungle, from where they would continue their anti-Vietnamese guerrilla warfare with Western support until 1991. Like the Korean War or the conflict with India, this confrontation aimed to neutralise an adversary whose policy on the Chinese borders was considered harmful to the national interest. Of the three conflicts, it was the least opportune, and its failure no doubt helped to inoculate Beijing against this kind of initiative.


What about today? To claim that China wants to colonise the world, as some Westerners are repeating today, is as absurd as to reproach it for wanting to impose its values. In their dreams of grandeur, the Chinese do not conceive of a kind of "pax sinica" imposing its conditions on the rest of humanity. Obviously, they have no desire to project their power by crisscrossing entire regions or to build colonies intended to promote their alleged model. But this pacifism in no way dissuades the congenital adversaries of the People's Republic of China from raising the stakes by accusing Beijing of the worst horrors, by radicalising the fight against "Chinese hegemony" in the name of human rights, by making their personal crusade a war of civilisation, as if the rest of the world were still fooled by Western right-of-human ideology and its repeated compromises with foreign interference of which it is the fake prong


Because the peoples of the South know well that, unlike the United States, China is not this formidable war machine driven by a dynamic of imperialist expansion which intends to bend the rest of the world to the habits and customs of the empire. Certainly, China fiercely defends its interests when they are threatened and jealously guards the security of its borders. If it is necessary to wage war to preserve national security or resist foreign aggression, the Chinese will not hesitate for a second to bear arms. But it will be a defensive war, not an offensive one. China, for example, will not rush headlong into high-intensity conflict to reclaim Taiwan, and is likely to carefully tailor its response to exacting enemy provocations.


An empire without imperialism, China only goes to war if forced to do so by external aggression or a direct threat. The war of conquest is not part of its historical DNA, and it would be wrong not to take Chinese pacifism seriously. The US war fleet, for example, is increasing incursions into the South China Sea, the equivalent of which would not be tolerated if they were carried out by a strategic rival off the coast of Florida or California. US policy is made up of these calculated provocations that aim to raise tensions while immediately decrying the legitimate reactions of the provoked power. China needs a peaceful world to pursue its development, improve the living conditions of the Chinese people, trade and establish its positions. There is no doubt that it will be able to resist the temptation offered to it by imperialism, this paper tiger which will get a good slap in the face, when the time comes, as in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and soon in Ukraine.


Since the imperial era, China has been driven by a fixed idea: to keep its external borders secure, to strengthen its internal cohesion and to subject Chinese territory to undivided authority. Its obsession is to exercise uncontested sovereignty within its civilisational perimeter, to protect access to it by a system of glacis (Tibet, Xinjiang), to prevent its dissolution by building a "Great Wall” as protective as possible against barbarian invasions. No doubt it is also a question today, in the South China Sea, of protecting the southern flank of the empire by controlling as much as possible this vast maritime border zone which is both the object of all covetousness and the fallacious pretext for imperialist interference.








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NY chinese police?.....


BY Bradley Blankenship


The New York ‘secret Chinese police station’ is a propaganda bogeyman

The US Department of Justice busted civil servants in Chinatown, accusing them of being Beijing’s dissident hunters

The US Department of Justice recently cracked down on a so-called “secret Chinese police station” in New York City, leading to the arrest of two men, both US citizens.

According to the charge sheets, the station had allegedly been involved in harassing “pro-democracy” activists. Further, the New York Post reported on Tuesday that more of these stations have been found in the US while a congressional subcommittee predictably used the incident to drive home the “China threat” to Americans. 

Similar incidents have occurred in Europe, for example, where I live in the Czech Republic. In that instance, no one was arrested but there were allegations of a “secret Chinese police station.” The reality, as with the case of the supposed “station” in New York City was that it was a service set up by the Chinese government to help the local Chinese diaspora, many of whom don’t speak the local language, obtain basic functions like getting an ID or driver’s license. 

Speaking from my own experience living abroad, I actually wish my own government had a similar program for its diaspora. After all, the Czech Republic was the home of the famous author Franz Kafka who wrote stories of nightmarish bureaucracies. That is indeed the case here (and I assume in most neighboring countries), and it is often hard to navigate alone. So, in this sense, I am actually quite jealous of the Chinese. 

With the instance in New York City, it’s not even accurate to call it a “station” but rather two individuals contracted by the Chinese government to help the local diaspora in Chinatown. It should be emphasized that both of these people are American citizens and whatever political rallies they attended or whatever arguments they had with people online are protected under the first amendment to the US constitution. 

Reports that are emerging from outlets like the New York Post are extremely alarmist, but provide little hard evidence to back up the claims that this Chinese “station” was engaged in harassment against “pro-democracy” folks. The NYP has a long and colorful history of such sensational reporting, along with its sister outlets owned by billionaire mogul and China hawk Rupert Murdoch. A cursory look at the DOJ’s complaint shows that the only real evidence the Feds have is that these guys shared memes, like tweets from pro-PRC accounts and deleted some texts. They are accused of a lot, such as running a “secret police station,” running politics interference and trying to coax a Chinese fugitive back to China. But not much backs these claims up in the complaint. 

It should also be noted that, in the US, just because someone is charged with a crime doesn’t mean they’re guilty. This is one of the fundamentals of our criminal justice system. The DOJ has gotten it wrong many times on suspicions of wrongdoing by Chinese or China-linked individuals, including its now infamous “China Initiative” meant to probe economic espionage in US academic institutions. It eventually became a racist witch hunt and has since been shut down.

However, anyone who has recently been to Manhattan’s Chinatown will know that there’s a massive and deliberate cognitive war going on there. Every street corner features Epoch Times newsstands in Chinese, which is a radical far-right newspaper that spreads anti-Beijing misinformation and is owned by the extremist Falun Gong religious movement. There is also a cultural center with the old Republic of China flags displayed alongside the US flag.

The entire situation seems to be part of this cognitive war for the local diaspora. At issue is this: two US citizens who were doing what amounts to social work on behalf of the Chinese government for the Chinese diaspora in the US. Should they have registered as foreign agents? Perhaps. But the DOJ stepped in because of its inherent anti-China bias, blew the situation out of proportion. Since then the China hawk stenographers at the New York Post have been speculating non-stop about it and now the China hawks in Congress are rallying around it.

This could be easily chalked down to a misunderstanding if it weren’t so deliberate. To be sure, it’s unlikely that this is any sort of new behavior on Beijing’s part. The Chinese have probably been operating similar social services for many years now and the US authorities surely knew about it since they spy on everyone, all the time. But now that American politicians are looking for Beijing bogeymen under every bed, a lot has been made of this “secret police station” to propagandize the “China threat.”