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Media Coverage of China is Overlooking Significant Stories

November 7, 2011


China has been increasing its influence and presence in recent months, though it’s not getting a lot of attention in our media. One topic that was covered extensively was the issue of Congress attempting to pass a law to combat China’s currency regulation. It has passed in the Senate, and is being held up in the House. There is concern that the bill could start a trade war, and antagonize the Chinese, costing American jobs.

But a number of more alarming stories are largely being ignored by our mainstream media. A few examples:

According to Reuters, a draft of a report recently sent to Congress says that China is the prime suspect in a situation in which at least two U.S. government civilian satellites have been “interfered with four or more times in 2007 and 2008 via a ground station in Norway.”

According to Larry Wortzel, one of the 12 commissioners on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which reported the interference, it was “consistent with PLA [China's People’s Liberation Army] doctrine.”

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who is chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, has written a column about how China’s human rights situation is deteriorating. In a report they issued earlier this month, it says that “China’s leaders have tightened their grip on Chinese society and grown more aggressive in disregarding the very laws and international standards that they claim to uphold. The government’s campaign to ‘disappear’ numerous lawyers and activists following pro-democracy protests elsewhere in the world—one of China’s harshest crackdowns in recent memory—is but one example.

Equally alarming were a couple of stories in Thursday’s Washington Times in a section called Inside China. In the stories, by Miles Yu, he wrote that “China’s official communist newspaper, the Global Times, published a chilling editorial warning several ‘little countries’ that are disputing China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea, notably the Philippines and Vietnam, to ‘get ready to hear the sound of gunfire.’”

Whether this is just saber rattling or a serious threat remains to be seen. The editorial was headlined, “China Cannot Resort Only to Negotiations Over Maritime Conflicts, We Must Kill One to Deter One Hundred If Necessary.” It asked “where these ‘little neighboring countries’ got the nerve to challenge China.” According to the paper, the answer to that question is the United States: “At present various disputants behave with imperial swagger [against China],” the commentary said, “as if with the support from the United States, they all had the force and capabilities to subjugate China.”

Another story by Yu in the same section says that while the U.S. is reducing its nuclear weapons, “China is increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons under the rubric of a mammoth project called the Underground Great Wall that includes a 3,000-mile-long subterranean tunnel system used to store and operate the many thousands of China’s nuclear-carrying missiles. The system is under the direct supervision of China’s strategic missile forces known as the Second Artillery Corps.”

Yu also wrote that China announced this week “that it would enact a sweeping law to combat what the communist state would define as ‘terrorists’ or ‘terrorist acts.’ These acts include creating public disorder and social panic, causing public property damage and threatening government agencies. The law would target international organizations and all others that abet and finance such ‘terrorists’ and ‘terrorist acts.’”

Slowly and quietly China has been spreading its propaganda in this country. Here in Washington D.C., there are newspaper boxes all over the city where you can pick up a copy of China Daily, a newspaper published by the Chinese government and clearly meant to calm any fears people might have that we should have anything to fear from China’s Communist government. Their official news agency, Xinhua, has leased a major electronic billboard earlier this year right in Times Square in New York, which as you can see here has brought peaceful protestors against China’s restrictions on free speech. 

Many people still wonder if China is a dangerous adversary and a military threat that is slowly exerting its influence, or a strategic and economic partner and competitor instead. Either way, their influence is growing in this country in ways unimaginable only a few short years ago. 

Copyright ©2011 Roger Aronoff

 


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