What China Says

Now more than ever it is important that Australians understand the diverse perspectives within the People's Republic of China. 'What China Says' points out articles from China’s state media and sources close to the PRC in both Chinese and English as well as Chinese-language media outlets to draw attention to Chinese positions on a range of issues.

What does China say about...

THAAD missile defence system

Trump's Speech at the UN

环球时报, 20 September 2017

This editorial published in Huanqiu Shibao (环球时报) criticises US President Donald Trump and his speech at the United Nations on 19 September 2017. Trump’s threat to ‘totally destroy North Korea’ caused particular alarm. Chinese media outlets labelled it an irresponsible comment which was unhelpful for defusing tensions on the Korea Peninsula.

The editorial notes that the ‘total destruction’ of North Korea would necessarily involve the sacrifice of neighbouring countries, primarily China and South Korea. A nuclear exchange would result in harmful fallout in Northeast Asia, particularly South Korea and the Shandong Peninsula. The author criticises Washington for its ‘strategic selfishness’ and inability to consider security concerns of other countries.

The author even writes that ‘If nuclear war were to break out between the US and North Korea leading to large-scale nuclear pollution, then Pyongyang and Washington would have committed a crime against the Chinese and Korean peoples’.

Read the original Chinese-language editorial: “彻底摧毁朝鲜”将严重威胁中韩安全 [“Totally destroying North Korea” seriously endangers Chinese and South Korean security]

Cyber

Internet laws

Global Times, 17 September 2017

This article in the Global Times section highlights the extension of rules that will be put in place so as to “accelerate the development of cyber laws”.

The article states that there was an evident need to “manage the Internet and fight cyber crimes” in a more effective way.  As such, an emphasis on respecting the law and others’ rights is the most prominent approach moving forward according to members of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

China will be launching a “major cyber security education campaign” in schools, firms and residential communities so as to create awareness that Internet service providers and users must also be “aware of their roles in fighting cybercrimes” by reporting any illegal activity. Furthermore, CAC announced that WeChat groups should be monitored by the person who creates the chat. That individual must be aware of the behavior of the group participants, which should be “in accordance with the law, user agreements and platform conventions”.

Read the original article: China extends rule of law on Internet

PLA

Ethnic conflict in Myanmar

环球时报, 11 September 2017

This editorial in the Global Times questions whether national leader Aung San Suu Kyi is to blame concerning the ethnic conflict against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

The editorial does not condemn Suu Kyi and instead sympathises with her position, while still expressing hope that the conflict will soon end.

Its primary argument is that human rights in developing countries do not match with Western concepts. The author strikes out against the Western media and the concept of universal values: “(Suu Kyi’s) embarrassment is not her own fault, it is the inarguable arrogance of the West’s set of “universal values” which has led to this contradiction.”

The author also notes that the PRC has enjoyed strong ties with its southern neighbour since Suu Kyi came to power. The PRC has publicly backed the Myanmar government’s efforts to “uphold peace and stability in Rakhine State.”

Read the original editorial in Chinese: ‘缅甸若开邦大乱是昂山素季的责任吗’ [Is the chaos in Rakhine State Aung San Suu Kyi’s responsibility?]

Chinese Flag

Bannon in Hong Kong

People's Daily, 11 September 2017

This op-ed in the English-language edition of the People’s Daily discusses former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s speech in Hong Kong. The speech called for tougher American policy toward the PRC.

The author argues that Bannon’s ideology and aggressive views about China are incorrect. For instance, Bannon assumes that the PRC seeks world domination, and that the US-China economic relationship is “more destructive than it is mutually beneficial.” Both are false assessments, according to the author.

The author argues that “Bannon’s exit shows that his ideology and view of China have been swept into the dustbin.” The implication is that practicality has succeeded over false ideology in the White House.

Read the original op-ed: Bannon’s anti-China ideology belongs where it is – in the dustbin

Chinese Flag

Human Rights Reports

Xinhua News Agency, 7 September 2017

This piece in Xinhua's English news section provides a deeply critical view of the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW).

HRW’s most recent report alleges that China is weakening UN human rights mechanisms in threatening activists; exerting its influence to block NGOs from UN accreditation; and failing to substantively cooperate with queries from UN human rights bodies.

Xinhua uses the maxim “You can never wake up a man pretending to be asleep”, to lambast HRW’s narrow vision of China’s influence as “a model of bad faith”.

The article pokes holes in the HRW report, such as re-characterising the "well-known ethnic Uyghur activist", Dolkun Isa as a suspected terrorist on the “wanted list of the International Criminal Police Organisation”.

Xinhua then pivots to a defensive and rhetorical tone, questioning HRW's tendency to overlook China’s positive human rights records — bringing millions of villagers out of poverty; creating jobs for rural workers; aiding millions with disabilities; and general freedoms enjoyed by Chinese citizens abroad.

Read the original commentary: Truths put aside by rights organisation's biased report

Currency 1

BRICS Summit

新华社, 29 August 2017

This article from Xinhua News Agency provides commentary on the success of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa) in light of the 9th annual BRICS summit in Xiamen, China.

Xinhua highlights that the BRICS countries, especially China, were instrumental in creating promoting a positive global economic development model in three ways: their own development; support of other developing nations; and supporting global frameworks for steady economic growth.

As such, BRICS economies have moved garnered a larger share (23%) in the global economy, increased total trade and boosted the proportion of foreign trade.

Second, the BRICS countries have also assisted developing countries, by promoting the 2030 sustainable development agenda and the industrialization of Africa.

Finally, Xinhua highlights the BRICS nations’ role in the foundation of the New Development Bank, emergency reserve arrangements, and critical support of global issues regarding climate change, disease prevention and food security.

Read the original commentary in Chinese: '贡献全球治理新方案'
[Contributing to the New Plan for Global Governance]

PLA

Sino-Indian Border Dispute

环球时报, 22 August 2017

After more than two months of confrontation between China and India over a border dispute, the Indian officials released a peace signal to China. This editorial in the Global Times argues that India should quickly withdraw its troops to its territory in accordance with the most basic international rules.

‘If India aims to become a first-class power, it should not be kidnapped by its twisted nationalism and move towards a strategic confrontation with China.’

According to the author, the crisis in China and India is sudden and profound. The author also expresses strong dissatisfaction as India claims that they are ‘peace loving’ yet still praise soldiers stationed in the Ladakh region. The article concludes that it is still unclear whether the intentions of India’s ‘peace signal’ are genuine.

Read the original commentary in Chinese: '新德里缓和语气,但撤军才是关键'
[New Delhi conciliatory, but withdrawing forces is the key]

Chinese Book

Censoring China Quarterly Articles

环球时报, 21 August 2017

This Global Times editorial argues that China’s request that Cambridge University Press delete sensitive articles relating to Tiananmen Square, the Cultural Revolution and Tibetan independence from its China Quarterly Chinese website is perfectly justified. It reasons that China has the right to censor information that it deems harmful to Chinese society and foreign organisations operating in China ought to abide by Chinese internet security laws.

As for foreign criticism of China’s censorship laws, the article maintains that it is up to China and China alone to decide how to balance being open to the world with preventing harmful information from entering the country. The author attacks foreign critics for their self-centredness and tendency to think that their values are universal and superior.

The article concludes that as not many people read the China Quarterly, removing articles from their Chinese website will have very little impact. Ultimately, ‘Chinese internet laws are intended for protecting China, not for attacking the West’.

Read the original editorial in Chinese: ‘《中国季刊》的敏感文章被屏蔽刍议’ [A humble opinion concerning the screening of sensitive articles in the China Quarterly]

Chinese Book

Chinese Textbooks in UK Schools

北京青年报, 15 August 2017

Maths textbooks used in Shanghai’s public primary schools will be available for use in British primary schools from September. In this commentary from Beijing Youth Daily, the author argues that British schools adopting Chinese maths textbooks is evidence of China’s rising soft power. According to the author, it also provides a great opportunity to review school autonomy in China and to explore the true value of traditional Chinese education.

The author notes that adoption of personalised development should be promoted in the process of China’s modern education reform while similar ideas can be found in ancient books.

‘We need a rational evaluation and continuing exploration of Chinese and Western education. And how to preserve traditional culture while establishing new spirit (返本开新) in the education reform is worthy of consideration.’

Read the original commentary in Chinese: '上海教材走红英国,教改不只是西天取经'
[Shanghai textbooks become popular in Britain. Education reform is not just about learning from the West.]

People's Republic of China, People's Liberation Army (Navy) frigate PLA(N) Yueyang (FF 575) steams in formation with 42 other ships and submarines representing 15 international partner nations during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shannon Renfroe/Released)

The Onus On Japan To Face Its History

人民日报, 15 August 2017

This article in the People's Daily, published on the 72nd anniversary of Japan's WWII surrender, criticises Japanese politicians’ failure of reflection upon Japan's war responsibilities.

‘Denying history will only hinder the development of a healthy sense of national identity. And the efforts to maintain peace should be based on Japan’s facing up to the history.’

The article criticises Japanese right-wingers who present Japan as a victim rather than a villain and describe the war as self-defence rather than aggression. The author also notes that this year, a documentary about Unit 731 (a biological and chemical warfare research base established in Harbin in 1933) from Japan’s major broadcaster NHK sparked huge controversy in Japanese society. According to the article, Japan should make more efforts to uncover its war crime to the Japanese public.

Read the original commentary in Chinese: '正视历史,方能走向持久和平'
[Facing up to history to establish a lasting peace]

Chinese Flag

The Great Earthquake In Sichuan

中国青年网, 09 August 2017

This editorial on China Youth Net, published on the day after Jiuzhaigou earthquake (九寨沟地震), reports the timely emergency response provided by the Fire Brigade and the medical rescue reinforcements. The author criticises that people should never publish false online video or news regarding the disaster as they put people into panic and mislead the rescue forces when carrying out rescue operations.

‘As disaster has already brought a heavy injury, people need to remain calm and rational.’

The author argues that when a disaster comes, one needs to stay wise, faithful and lawful. Meanwhile, the author also noted that it is the responsibility of the government and the media authorities to disclose the information at the first moment, leaving no opportunity for rumours to be spread.

Read the original commentary in Chinese: '天灾面前,不要让谣言带来次生伤害'
[When facing natural disasters the scourge, do not let rumours bring secondary damage]

People's Republic of China, People's Liberation Army (Navy) frigate PLA(N) Yueyang (FF 575) steams in formation with 42 other ships and submarines representing 15 international partner nations during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shannon Renfroe/Released)

South China Sea Code of Conduct

人民日报海外版, 8 August 2017

In this commentary from People's Daily Overseas, the author highlights that ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and China adopt the framework for South China Sea Code of Conduct (南海行为准则) develops a common recognition of the regional rules, creating a good atmosphere for further cooperation.

‘China and ASEAN need to enhance mutual trust and seek common ground with diplomatic wisdom and strategic alliance. Only in this way, China and ASEAN can jointly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.’

The author notes that the adoption of the framework went through difficult negotiations against foreign criticisms and interference. And according to the article, to maintain and stabilise public security, China is willing to contribute to the development of overall China-ASEAN relations.

Read the original commentary in Chinese: '共同维护南海稳定局面'
[Jointly Safeguard Peace and Stability in the South China Sea]

People's Republic of China, People's Liberation Army (Navy) frigate PLA(N) Yueyang (FF 575) steams in formation with 42 other ships and submarines representing 15 international partner nations during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shannon Renfroe/Released)

China’s aspirations for its military

人民日报, 1 August 2017

This commentary in the People's Daily emphasises the importance of a powerful military to realising the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. “A military that has the confidence and ability to defeat all enemies helps guarantee the realisation of the Chinese dream (中国梦).”

According to the article, the strength of China’s national defence force is neither commensurate with its status as the world’s second largest economy nor conducive to China’s national security needs. China is currently at a critical stage where it will face more and more foreign pressure and resistance, and a world-class military is necessary to prevent China from entering another Hundred Years of Humiliation.

The author also notes that the People’s Liberation Army has significantly modernised and is up to world standards.

Read the original commentary in Chinese: '以强军梦托起中国梦'
[Use the dream of a powerful military to support the Chinese Dream]

Currency 1

SINO-US TRADE

环球时报, 22 July 2017

This commentary in Global Times reviews the “Hundred Days Plan (百日计划)” made by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump at US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue. The author argues that the plan is a great success of improving positive consensus on Sino-American business relations and the economic ties between the two countries.

The author notes that China, in its process of economic transformation, has its great demand for energy minerals, agricultural products, and high-tech products.

‘United States should take practical measures to relax the export restrictions on China to provide more convenience for cooperation and cuts its trade deficit with China.’

Read the original commentary in Chinese: ‘推动中美贸易平衡发展需双方努力’
[The development of balanced Sino-American Trade need to be promoted on both sides]

Currency 1

The Renminbi joining the SDR

人民日报, 21 July 2017

In this People's Daily article, the author attempts to highlight that China must make full use of the dividends of the RMB joining the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), deepen domestic financial reform and strive to improve the international financial pricing and transaction functions of the currency.

According to the article, RMB internationalisation needs a mature international financial market for foreign trade and capital export. The author also notes that overseas investment and RMB bond market development leverage the RMB internationalisation.

‘RMB internationalization is an important way for China to actively participate in global economic governance and increase the supply of global public goods. It is also an important system guarantee for China to resist external shock and realize economic and financial security.’

Read the original commentary in Chinese: '人民币国际化需强化金融交易功能'
[Financial transaction function of Renminbi needs to be strengthened]

Chinese Book

Liu Xiaobo’s Tragedy

环球时报, 17 July 2017

This commentary in Global Times, published after the funeral of Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, argues that extremists should stop the consumption of Liu’s death.

Opposed to the foreign criticisms, the author highlights the fair treatment that Liu received before and after his death and the appropriateness of his funeral. According to this article, it is impossible for China to obtain a fair evaluation from the West as the conflict between Chinese and Western ideologies is deeply rooted.

‘China's public opinion strategy should focus on how to unite the nation, and constantly enhance the confidence of Chinese society.’

The article criticises overseas dissidents as the disruptors of China's steady progress and Liu Xiaobo's personal tragedy can be seen as a failed political speculation.

Read the original commentary in Chinese: '等待中国崩溃的人都将空耗人生'
[Those waiting for China to collapse are only wasting their time]