Digest: April 7-14, 2021
Date: April 7-14, 2021
Sources scanned: 78
Content: 202 publications from 50 sources
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The Grieving and the Grievable (Yangyang Cheng):
professionals who report on or study Chinese policy are referred to as “China watchers” or “China hands.” Chinese ethnicity in this profession is viewed as suspect. Any attempt to introduce nuance is dismissed as apologizing for Beijing. Combine the two, and one gets labeled a Communist spy. Being “tough on China” is brandished as a measure of personal virtue.
“The Chinese Communist Party does not equate the Chinese people and criticizing the former is not racist,” politicians and pundits proclaim. The soundbite, objectively true by stating the obvious, is rarely uttered in good faith. It is a way of talking to preclude further discussion, a preempt to deflect from criticism. What the sentence actually says is that the speaker comprehends very little — and does not care to know more — about the workings of a one-party state, the role of the individual in an authoritarian society, or racial bias in the discourse about China. They see the Chinese people as helpless victims or mindless perpetrators of political oppression, but never fully enfranchised human beings with moral agency, who must navigate a complex reality in order to live.
The New China Scare (Fareed Zakaria):
But the liberal international order has been able to accommodate itself to a variety of regimes—from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia to Vietnam—and still provide a rules-based framework that encourages greater peace, stability, and civilized conduct among states. China’s size and policies present a new challenge to the expansion of human rights that has largely taken place since 1990. But that one area of potential regression should not be viewed as a mortal threat to the much larger project of a rules-based, open, free-trading international system.
The anatomy of a Chinese online hate campaign (Zeyi Yang):
The traditional perception of pro-China disinformation is that it is powered by people paid to post on social media: the famous "fifty-centers," or wumao. But in recent years, that kind of awkward messaging has been increasingly replaced by unpaid grassroots users who generally believe what they're writing.
The CCP’s 2021 Propaganda Blueprint (China Media Project):
The People’s Daily reports prominently on its front page [on Monday] that the Central Office of the Chinese Communist Party has released a notice providing guidance for propaganda and education in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of the CCP. The notice, which outlines general “arrangements and outlays” (安排部署) for the carrying out of a comprehensive national propaganda campaign through the July anniversary and to the end of the year, specifies the guiding theme: “Forever Following the Party” (永远跟党走).
According to the People’s Daily, the notice says that a “diverse and content-rich” campaign for the anniversary should “vigorously sing the main theme of the times, the goodness of the Chinese Communist Party, the goodness of socialism, the goodness of reform and opening, the goodness of the great motherland, and the goodness of the people of all ethnic groups.”
Though an indelible feature of PRC politics under Mao Zedong, the top-down release of such slogans for broad national propaganda campaigns was unseen in post-reform China before 2019.
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Made in China Journal:
China Media Project:
Pew Research Center:
War on the Rocks:
Australian Financial Review:
East Asia Forum:
China Digital Times:
Politico China Watcher:
Politico China Direct:
Protocol | China:
The Wire China:
Center for Advanced China Research:
U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission:
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:
Australia-China Relations Institute:
Observer Research Foundation:
What's on Weibo:
Tracking People's Daily:
The India China Newsletter:
Eye on China:
Takshashila PLA Insight:
Beijing to Britain:
Hong Kong Free Press:
END OF DIGEST