The following piece, published on Monday this week on the website of the official Party journal Seeking Truth, arguably speaks to the heart of China’s current political and ideological ethos. The piece pulls together quite disparate threads — an article from the Financial Times‘ Beijing bureau chief Jamil Anderlini, and a report almost a year ago from Bank of America Merrill Lynch — to paint a stark picture of foreign “hostile forces” colluding with domestic “agents” to foment a color revolution on Chinese soil.
The Seeking Truth piece, written by Hou Lihong (侯立虹), identified as a local government employee from Henan, speaks well enough, and colourfully enough, for itself. So I’ll avoid the temptation to say more.
Readers not new to hardline bombast of this kind will recognize the teeth-grinding, vitriolic tone. Hou writes at one point of “evil collusion between [overseas] master and [domestic] servant, and of “hostile forces working within China.” Voices like Anderlini and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are “flies flicking against the wall, droning on and on.”
“Defiling China’s Anti-Corruption Drive is Like an Ant Trying to Shake a Tree“
The extraordinary measures employed in China’s anti-corruption drive, and the brilliant achievements it has so far made, have already astonished the entire world, becoming a focus of international media coverage. For example, the Times of India, Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao and Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, . . . have all done positive coverage of the campaign against corruption in China’s government and military . . . Even certain [media in] some countries in Europe and America, like United Press International’s web-based report called, “Internet Users Help Expose Corruption,” and “Life and Death Struggle” in Britain’s Economist, have reported on the actions and attitudes of China’s leaders toward corruption . . .
Yet still certain Western countries and media, for whatever reason, with whatever goals, voice concern over China’s anti-corruption [campaign], and moreover take a hostile attitude, even conjuring things out of thin air, making conjectures, dragging the name of China’s anti-corruption effort through the dirt. This is outrageous. In its 2013 Human Rights Report, the United States, while giving a nod to China’s achievements in punishing corrupt officials, made groundless accusations about the selectivity of the anti-corruption drive, casting doubt on our Party’s internal discipline procedures. As I understand it, the United States has always prioritized its human rights reports, wielding them as clubs with which to beat other countries. For it to play the part of backseat driver in this way, in such an important government document, clearly violates the convention in diplomatic relations of not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.
A cartoon on a Chinese website depicts corruption as a swarm of flies. The fly swatter, of course, represents China’s anti-corruption campaign.]
Even more cause for thought is the fact that this country’s Bank of America Merrill Lynch stated strongly that the anti-corruption drive had borne an economic cost running into hundreds of millions of US dollars, “perhaps equivalent to the entire economy of Bangladesh.” And with malice it said that “even clean and uncorrupt officials don’t dare right now to begin new projects, worrying that this will be construed as corrupt conduct, and so they simply stash their funds away in the bank.” Next, it made a great fuss over how “Beijing’s bans on consumption with public monies and mandated decreases in administrative spending had caused a dramatic drop in domestic consumer spending.” . . .
The implication in these statements . . . is that China’s anti-corruption drive has negative side effects. And if this is still rather obscure, well then, Britain’s Financial Times is undisguised [in its statements]. An article in this magazine attributed to [Jamil] Anderlini misrepresents outright, making crazy and ridiculous claims about China’s top leaders, labeling China’s anti-corruption campaign “authoritarian anti-corruption” (独裁式反腐), slandering determined anti-corruption as “a [political] movement,” in “Cultural Revolution style” (文革遗风). . .
Anyone with a bit of common sense knows that corruption is already a common enemy around the world. All countries, even those with reputations for clean governance, have corruption — and all should fight corruption, as successive world declarations against corruption have fully made clear. What is strange is that when corruption is raging in China, this draws attack from public opinion in the West. And now, when China is dealing resolutely with corruption, they are still spewing calumnies. This exposes their true faces, as determined at any time to set China up as the enemy.
It goes without saying that China’s anti-corruption drive is China’s own business, not something they need to say anything about. And yet these eminent Westerners (洋大人) not only oppose it but maliciously spread rumors with a mind to doing harm, labeling it in all sorts of [prejudicial] ways. This has reached the point of madness. Is it possible that China’s anti-corruption drive has set off their central nervous systems, jabbed at their sore spots, dug their graves? Clearly, for Western hostile ones (敌对分子) to oppose China’s anti-corruption campaign so vigorously, to so boldly blacken China’s leaders, demonstrates that our anti-corruption drive has already logged achievements that have left our enemies frightened. It demonstrates that China’s leaders are men of conscience who make our enemies jealous and fearful. It demonstrates that the anti-corruption momentum in China will root out the infiltrators hiding in their nests behind the curtain, that it will defeat the conspiracy by Western countries to change the color of China. So naturally anti-China forces in the West will stamp in rage.
The faces of the people of China are wreathed in smiles to look at today’s anti-corruption drive, and to think back on those years when the anti-China chorus was so loud. This certainly puts corrupt officials and hostile ones in a state of constant anxiety . . . so they must, like so many flies flicking against the wall, drone on and on . . . Like ants shaking the tree, their calumnies are doomed to fail.
When you compare the slanderous statements of Western hostile forces about China’s anti-corruption actions to certain domestic statements inhibiting or opposing anti-corruption, you can’t help but notice a similar stink about them. Concerning economic development, for example, there are some in China who say that anti-corruption has impacted economic development, and overseas there are others echoing them, saying China’s anti-corruption drive has cost 100 billion US dollars. Then, for example, you have some people saying domestically that anti-corruption is about eliminating opposition, and then right away overseas they slap on the label “authoritarian anti-corruption.” . . .
How, all in all, are we seeing such things of a similar nature? For this chorus to sing in such unison, like a seamless heavenly robe — if this is not foreign-domestic collusion, what then is it? If it is not evil collusion between master and servant, what then is it? We have always been alert to infiltrants; we have always been aware of hostile forces working within China to carry out a color revolution (颜色革命). We never thought these dangerous elements would be working right at our side, corrupt officials and “elites” (精英) making trouble. Their collaboration with forces from the outside demonstrates even more the necessity of the anti-corruption drive, and demonstrates even more the necessity of carrying the anti-corruption project to the end.
Western hostile forces and their domestic agents seek right now to use public opinion to launch crossfire from the inside and outside, attempting to kill the anti-corruption drive. In the future, they will employ even more base and insidious means to attack us. We must remain increasingly alert to this. . . If only the entire Party and all the people of our country are resolutely united around the Central Committee with Xi Jinxing as General Secretary, millions united as one man, can we surely carry the anti-corruption struggle through to the end, creating a brightness that raises the eyes of the world, and soon bringing to realization the Chinese dream.
(The writer’s office: Science and Technology Bureau, Xinxiang City, Henan province)