Opinion | Orwellian tricks of language and the West's big China lie
By Philip Yeung, university teacher
In his famous essay on "Politics and the English language", George Orwell said sagely "political language is designed to make lies truthful and murder respectable"; it gives "an appearance of solidity to pure wind." The language is deliberately kept "vague or meaningless because it was intended to hide the truth rather than express it."
Orwell's warnings ring true in today's disinformation campaign by the West against China. Without a shred of evidence, they pin a label on China, calling it "a systemic threat". By repeated lies, the "pure wind" has acquired a "solidity". Simpletons like UK PM Rishi Sunak keep parroting American untruths. Does he even know what constitutes "systemic threat"? To counter its intentional vagueness, Orwell had prescribed "concreteness" as a cure for conformity and "individualism" as an antidote to deceitful generalities.
The label "systemic threat", however, fits America to a T. China's international behavior is predictably reactive, never aggressive. America is both. The US is like a serial arsonist hooked on starting fires. America has been knee-deep in nearly every post-World War II military conflict. China, by contrast, is a model UN member which sends troops overseas only to peacekeeping missions. It religiously respects other countries' sovereignty and responds only when threat comes to its doorstep. Threat, what threat?
Calling China a threat is no proof that it is. So is accusing China of disturbing the so-called rules based global order. For more than half a century which major power has left a trail of death and destruction across continents? Isn't it America's rules based order anyway?
If you wonder why NATO is joining the chorus of China critics, fingering Beijing as a strategic threat, the answer is Russia's invasion of Ukraine. NATO leaders are guilty of a leap of logic, lumping a defensive-minded China with an overtly aggressive Russia. Under Richard Nixon, America chose to ally itself with China against the former Soviet Union. Today, America has a twin target, pushing China into the embrace of the Russian bear. If the bear is wounded, the dragon will be next. NATO will set up a liaison office in Tokyo next year, extending its tentacles eastwards. Can you blame China for being predisposed towards Russia? The survival of one depends on the survival of the other. The transference of EU's Russo-phobia into Sino-phobia is a terrible miscalculation. This locks China-Russia into a never-ending confrontation with the Western bloc. There is no exit. By simultaneously provoking two major nuclear powers the West is pushing humanity towards the edge.
China's cause is not helped by its clumsy and outdated PR strategy. China is a nation of engineers. It produces no silver-tongued communicators who can think in English or worm their way into Western hearts and minds. Even when Chinese pursuits are legitimate, the West slams it for "employing tactics to influence lawmakers and public opinion to achieve policies that are more favorable to China". What a strange and ridiculous accusation! Doesn't every diplomat try to do exactly that? That's what diplomats and lobbyists are paid to do. Except when it comes to China, what's normal becomes instantly questionable.
China can do no right, and America can do no wrong. When it lends an economic helping hand to countries in the Belt and Road initiative, it is accused of "predatory lending". But the US has never faced accountability for inflicting the 2008 financial meltdown on the world. Now we must face the wobbling effects of the current bankruptcy of western banks.
Sunak is out of his depth in foreign affairs when he pontificates that "international response to Ukraine invasion deters any country from launching an unprovoked attack." The operative word here is "unprovoked". The tensions over Taiwan are the direct consequence of non-stop, all-round US provocations. If war breaks out over Taiwan, it is because America has goaded China into it. For peace sake, cool the rhetoric, and stop dragging Japan, South Korea and the Philippines into a war nobody wants.
Astronomers have just witnessed a distant planet being totally swallowed by an expanding star. The earth will one day meet the same fate. But foolish little politicians are busy playing silly games to hasten our planet’s end.
France's Macron is no pawn. I wish other leaders are likewise. Peace over the Pacific may depend on ally leaders having the spine to say no to American warmongering. In a nuclear Armageddon, all are losers.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of DotDotNews.
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