As Xi heads to San Francisco, Chinese propaganda embraces the United States | ET REALITY


Not long ago, Chinese propaganda warned that American attempts to ease tensions were mere performances. His state security agency urged people to be on guard against American spies. The country’s leader, Xi Jinping, declared that the United States was engaged in a campaign of “containment, encirclement and widespread repression,” in statements broadcast by state media.

Now, the tone used to talk about the United States has suddenly changed. Xinhua, the state news agency, published a long article in English about the “lasting strength” of Xi’s affection for ordinary Americans. It included old photographs of him sitting on a tractor with an Iowa farmer and revisiting the house where he once stayed in the “Star Trek”-themed dormitory of an American college student.

“More charming moments unfolded when Xi showed up to watch an NBA game,” the article continued, describing a visit by Mr. Xi to the United States in 2012. “He remained remarkably focused on the game.”

Separately, Xinhua has published a five-part series in Chinese on “How to get China-US relations back on track.” A flurry of other state media articles have highlighted recent visits to China by the American Ballet Theater and the Philadelphia Orchestra, or the story of American veterans who helped China fight Japan during World War II, some of the who visited China this month. “Veterans visit Chinese cities, anticipating eternal friendship between China and the United States,” one declared owner.

The about-face is part of Beijing’s preparations for Xi’s trip to San Francisco this week, his first visit to the United States in more than six years. She is expected to meet with President Biden on Wednesday, as both leaders attempt to stabilize relations between the two countries.

Beijing, in particular, could be motivated to use the meeting to reassure foreign investors and companies, he said. Tito Chen, associate professor of political science at National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan. As China’s economy struggles, with anemic consumer spending and high youth unemployment, Chinese leaders are likely eager to show businesses and investors that their relationship with the United States is not a major risk factor.

“Propaganda of this kind is not aimed at persuasion; it is not persuasive at all,” Professor Chen said. “It is primarily designed to send signals, with the hope that the recipients will receive the signal and implement the appropriate response, which is reversal or resumption of exchanges.”

But even if the target audience is mainly foreign, many Chinese social media users have noticed the abrupt turn and been stunned, or at least ironically amused. On the Weibo platform, some joked that several new TV shows about fighting the Americans during the Korean War would need to be archived. One popular meme purported to show an editorial from the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, that promised legal repercussions for anyone who tried to derail relations between the United States and China.

Low another post Showing recent and true editorials from state media promoting US-China relations, one commenter wrote: “So in the future, do we need to hate America or not? Very unclear.”

Beyond the sarcasm of social media, some Chinese academics and writers have also taken a more cautious or pessimistic note about the prospects for a thaw with the United States. On, a nationalist news and commentary site, columnists have pointed out that both countries are making short-term concessions for their own long-term strategic benefit.

Even the most florid Chinese articles have drawn distinctions between the warm ties between the American and Chinese people, and their governments; Some state media have continued to warn that the outcome of the California meeting will depend on the United States, in line with Beijing’s stance that the tense relationship is entirely Washington’s fault.

In a widely circulated document article Published on Monday, Wang Jisi, a prominent professor of international relations at Peking University, wrote that a meeting between Xi and Biden was valuable (and will likely be in short supply in the future) as the United States enters an election year. , when anti-China rhetoric could arise.

On the future of US-China relations, Professor Wang wrote: “I am only cautious, not optimistic.”

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