Much to Beijing’s chagrin, praise of Taiwan’s success has provided the democracy with much-needed global exposure.
Date: April 08, 2020
By: Jo Kim
Over the last few weeks, the world has observed a grand PR campaign from Beijing, an attemptto shift the global narrative in China’s favor by touting its containment of COVID-19 as the successful outcome of its political model. The outgoing message is that China’s anti-coronavirus campaign “demonstrated the notable advantages of the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” and that Singapore, Japan, and South Korea “based their responses on the experience and lessons drawn from China’s successful battle with the virus.” The Global Times has quoted Chinese analysts stating that China’s model is the “only proven successful model so far that could be replicated to halt the virus once and for all.”
The other core message within China’s narrative is that “China has acted as a responsible big country” in playing a leadership role to combat the virus based on Xi Jinping’s concept of a “Community of Shared Future for Mankind.” China has backed its narrative by launching a “mask diplomacy” campaign, providing medical masks and ventilators as well as dispatching medical personnel to countries seeking aid.
China’s mouthpiece media went into overdrive in circulating the news of the world’s gratitude toward China, reporting on the Serbian president kissing the Chinese flag and Italians playing the Chinese national anthem (the latter was later debunked by Italian media as “fake news”). The same contents flooded social media through fake accounts praising China’s effort while portraying democratic institutions as weak in coping with the pandemic.
As democracies like the United States and Britain stumbled, the success of China’s draconian containment measures became a testament to the strength of Beijing’s authoritarian system. Democracies like France and Germany started implementing measures that Angela Merkel has described as “infringement on personal freedoms implemented only reluctantly” in the New York Times’ paraphrasing. [FULL STORY]