US attack on Chinese media a bad joke
China Daily

(Photo: China Daily)

Twist facts. That is what the Western media do when "dealing with" China, Russia, Iran or "unfriendly" Latin American countries. It is an extremely old game with roots in the colonial era.

If you have monopoly on disseminating information to all corners of the planet, such a cynical approach might actually work. If only one person is allowed to talk, then what he/she says could become the truth.

Washington loves to snap at "undemocratic countries". But the truth is, the United States has managed to create a thoroughly and truly undemocratic global system of governance, economic practices and "information" (in fact, disinformation).

In other words, if you pay for "information" invented, manufactured and refined in the US or Europe by the Western news agencies and television networks, you will be just fine and get patted on the back-especially if that information helps maintain the West's dominant role in global political and economic governance. Which means that if you pay for getting people brainwashed and indoctrinated, you will be ranked high on the various "freedom of information" indexes created by the West.

But be warned: If you tell the truth, or if you expose Western lies, you will get smeared, insulted as a demagogue and an undemocratic liar. That's what is happening to China.

Let us reflect on the background to the US decision.

In early February, The Wall Street Journal published an article titled "China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia". It was an insulting piece, vulgar in many ways. Some saw it as racist. It took advantage of the pain the Chinese people are experiencing because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, and turned a medical emergency into a political issue. It was an apt example of cheap journalism, and obvious propaganda-stuffs that are often written on order, in both North America and Europe.

Indignant, Beijing asked the WSJ to squarely face the severity of its mistake, issue a public apology, and hold the people involved accountable. But the WSJ has not apologized, and instead Washington has launched a "war" against the Chinese media.

On March 2, The Guardian reported: "The United States has slashed by nearly half the number of Chinese nationals allowed to work for their state-run media in the United States, vowing reciprocity as Beijing restricts foreign press... A State Department official said that five media outlets, which last month were reclassified by the United States as foreign missions, would be allowed to employ a maximum 100 Chinese nationals as of 13 March, down from around 160 now..."

What is really behind all this?

Russian, Chinese, Latin American and even Iranian media outlets are becoming increasingly influential in the educated circles of the West, because many people in Europe and the US are turning for information to such media outlets as RT, China Daily, CGTN, PressTV, NEO and Telesur.

Washington promotes competition, ideological and commercial, but only when it suits its interests, meaning, when it is winning. When its ideology or products begin to fall behind competitors (China and Russia, for instance), it immediately imposes sanctions, or introduces censorship.

Many in the US see China as the most "dangerous" adversary-particularly such anti-Chinese and extreme right-wing ideologues as Peter Kent Navarro, the US president's top trade adviser, as well as many other individuals in and outside the US administration. Why? Because China is rising, not only socially and economically but also politically, thanks to programs such as the Belt and Road Initiative and its mutually beneficial policies.

The US has been trying to smear and provoke China, and every time it fails to do so, it begins to act irrationally, spreading chaos by depriving people of alternative views and sources of information.

Contrary to the WSJ's claim, China has entered the critical stage of defeating the novel coronavirus. It has protected its people. Its economy has not collapsed. And despite the attacks from the West, China will become even more resilient after the outbreak is contained.

Washington may deport several Chinese journalists. But it will not be able to silence the truth anymore. The world is watching. And it is laughing.

The US loves to lecture other countries about "free speech", yet it is terrified of alternative views, for it is scared of being exposed as a giant with feet of clay. Some foreign reporters may be forced to leave the US soon, but thousands of them across the world are refusing to be silenced.

The author is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.