The open confrontation at the U.S.-China meeting in Anchorage, Alaska on March 18 has been used by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) propaganda department to create an uproar in public opinion in China aimed at the United States.
The state media CCTV stated that China was invited to Anchorage and went with sincerity to conduct a strategic dialogue with the United States. However, they said, “the U.S. side exceeded severely the set time limit in the opening remarks to begin with, rampantly attacked China’s domestic and foreign policies, and provoked disputes.”
They claimed: “this is not the way one should welcome his guests, nor is it in line with diplomatic etiquette. China, therefore, made a solemn response.”
The time that CCTV accused the U.S. side of severely exceeding was about 20 seconds.
In fact, in the opening remarks of the Anchorage talks, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke for 2 minutes and 27 seconds, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office of the CCP Yang Jiechi’s opening speech lasted 16 minutes and 14 seconds, and then the interpreter took 3 minutes and 26 seconds. Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s opening speech took 4 minutes and 09 seconds.
Afterward, Blinken called the reporters back and responded again. He directly said that because the Chinese side took a long time to speak, he needed to respond.
The diplomatic protocol on the time limit to speak is a mutually agreed limit. If one party goes over the allotted time, the other party has the right to supplement. Therefore, the step Blinken took was reasonable.
But CCTV reversed cause and effect and took Blinken’s step as an excuse for Yang Jiechi to speak over time. This is a normal propaganda trick of the CCP.
Of course, what angered Yang was that Blinken directly crossed CCP’s red line by including in his opening remarks comments about Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan issues.
CCTV’s manipulated report included half-true and half-false information, another propaganda trick the CCP excels at. The misleading statement that the U.S. exceeded the time limit served to cover up Blinken’s statements about “domestic and foreign policies.”
CCP Propaganda Applauds Victory
Xinhua News quoted Yang as saying, “The United States is not qualified to speak to China in a condescending way from a position of strength.”
This received 2.45 billion views and 1.16 million comments on Sina Weibo, a Chinese social media site.
This meeting will be “written in the annals of history,” wrote Hu Xijin, the Global Times editor-in-chief. “Whoever provokes China, don’t expect China to respond politely.”
On March 19, Xu Pan, a China Daily reporter tweeted with a historical picture of the signing of the Boxer Protocol on Sept. 7, 1901, “From 1901 to 2021. It takes China 120 years to tell the U.S. they don’t have the qualification to speak to China “from a position of strength.”
From 1901 to 2021.
It takes China 120 years to tell the US they don’t have the qualification to speak to China “from a position of strength”. pic.twitter.com/pKlyGV6fYV
— Xu Pan 徐潘 (@PenicilinPan) March 19, 2021
People’s Daily followed that with a comparison of two Xin Chou Years, which set off a further wave of angry comments, attracting more than 700 million views.
History Repeats Itself?
In ancient China, there was a profound method of chronology that allowed people to understand the future by examining the past.
Chinese Taoists believe that heaven and earth each have their own cycle. Heaven has a 10-year cycle, and earth has a 12-year cycle. Finally, through certain regulations, heaven and earth meet and form a cycle of harmony every sixty years, which is known as the Chinese sexagenary cycle.
Heaven and earth repeat anew every sixty years. Xin (a heaven year) Chou (an earth year) is one name of a year in this sexagenary cycle.
According to Taoism, every 60 years when heaven and earth reach the same year, such as the Xin Chou year, in this case the 38th year of the cycle, politics and economics will be very similar to Xin Chou years that have taken place in previous cycles.
This is a Chinese-style metaphysical expression of the philosopher’s saying that “history repeats itself.”
The Xin Chou year has a very mysterious and turbulent concept in Chinese history.
The 120 years mentioned in the CCP’s propaganda compared the Xin Chou year from 1901 to 2021. They compared the humiliation of China’s diplomacy in 1901 with Yang’s tough statement in Alaska in 2021, as proof of the CCP’s success in governing China.
However, in these 120 years, there are two Xin Chou years to examine.
1900 was known as the Geng Zi year in the sexagenary cycle, just one year before the Xin Chou year. It was the year the Boxer riots broke out in northern China. The Qing Dynasty used the Boxer rebellion to launch a wave of xenophobia, killing foreign missionaries, businessmen, and even foreign diplomats on the streets of the capital. With the assistance of the regular troops of the Qing Dynasty, the Boxers attacked foreign embassies for several months.
That year, an Eight-nation Alliance landed from Tianjin, and within a month they invaded Beijing.
In the next year, the 1901 Xin Chou year, Li Hongzhang, on behalf of the Qing Dynasty signed a treaty in Beijing that had the Qing Dynasty pay 450 million taels (16.9 million kgs) of silver, based on the Chinese population of one tael per person. This was known as the Geng Zi Indemnity or Boxer Indemnity.
This is the story of the Xin Chou year. But, if we continue, we can examine another Xin Chou year, 1841.
The Opium War broke out between Britain and China in the Geng Zi year of 1840. In the Xin Chou year of 1841, the British army captured Ningbo and Tanggukou and occupied Hong Kong. In the end, the Manchu government ceded land to the British.
The Most Tragic Xin Chou Year
1841 and 1901 are two Xin Chou years that both ended in failure for the Chinese in foreign conflicts, where they lost land and wealth. But these two Xin Chou years are not the most tragic for the Chinese.
For the Chinese, the most miserable and most memorable Xin Chou year was 1961. But the CCP will never mention it.
From 1959 to 1961, tens of millions of Chinese died from starvation because of the CCP’s Great Leap Forward campaign. A report from the CIA in 1962 stated that there was a great famine in mainland China, and at least five million Chinese died of starvation.
By the end of the last century, there were various official and semi-official figures within the CCP. The general basic understanding was that in the three years, including the Xin Chou year in 1961, the number of deaths in mainland China was at least 25 million and could be as high as 45 million. No matter what the number is, there were more deaths than China’s eight-year war against Japan.
I was born after the famine. Our generation did not know the existence of the Great Famine when we were young. The only thing I remembered was that we were generally taller than our older brothers and sisters. This used to be the topic among us. For this reason, we asked the adults. The adult’s answer was usually “eat well.” But why did we eat better than children who were only a few years older than us? The adults never explained.
Alexander Liao is a columnist and journalist in research on international affairs in the United States, China, and Southeast Asia. He has published a large number of reports, commentaries, and video programs in newspapers and Chinese financial magazines in the United States and Hong Kong.
Editor’s note: The headline of an earlier version this article misspelled Xin Chou. The Epoch Times regrets the error.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.