China’s new U.S. envoy accused Washington of continuing an “extreme China policy” and warned the United States not to cross the regime’s “red lines.”
Qin Gang, who arrived in Washington in late July to take up the post, made his remarks at a welcome event hosted by the National Committee on United States–China Relations, a New York-based organization that promotes a friendlier relationship with Beijing.
His comments came as the Biden administration works to build a global alliance to counter threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), yet seeks cooperation with Beijing on issues like climate change. In a phone call earlier this week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that any cooperation with the regime on areas such as Afghanistan and climate change would be dependent on Washington’s “attitude toward China.”
Speaking at the virtual event, Qin blamed the current tensions between the world’s largest economic powers squarely on the U.S. side, repeating CCP rhetoric that Washington is “suppressing” China.
Qin’s speech, a mix of cautions and appeals, put an emphasis on cooperation—one in which the U.S. side would “avoid touching or challenging China’s red line.”
The CCP considers its abuses in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, and military designs on Taiwan as “red line” issues, not to be scrutinized by the international community.
In response to intensifying condemnation by Western nations over its rights abuses, economic coercion, and military aggressions, Chinese officials have taken to an aggressive approach known as “wolf warrior” diplomacy. During two high-level in-person meetings between CCP diplomats and Biden officials this year, Chinese officials have lambasted their American counterparts over a range of alleged U.S. transgressions domestically and internationally.
During the call with Blinken, the Chinese foreign minister told the United States to “take seriously” Beijing’s “two lists” and three “bottom lines,” which Qin explained to be “a list of U.S. wrongdoings and a list of individual cases of China’s concern,” and issues concerning Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, and the disputed waters of South China Sea.
He further described a number of “disturbances” to U.S.-China cooperation, including the virus origin investigation and legislative efforts that advocate for a tougher stance on China, including two bills aiming at countering China’s technological ambitions that have both passed one side of the chamber.
The regime is “confounding the cause and the result,” Su Tzu-yun, an analyst at Taiwan’s Institute of National Defense and Security Research, told The Epoch Times. “While their system is one that suppresses human rights, they don’t allow criticisms.”
The ambassador, who had two stints as the foreign ministry spokesperson and served as one of nine foreign ministers from 2018 to 2021, has earned a reputation for his combative public defenses for the regime’s positions, although he had seemed more toned down in recent appearances since assuming the new post.
“Chinese diplomats actually don’t have their own views,” Chen Weijian, chief editor of the Chinese language dissident magazine Beijing Spring, told The Epoch Times. “Whatever tone the central government adopts is theirs.”
The tough talks are all but a show for a Chinese audience, Chen said, adding that the spectacle was to allow the regime to “save face.”
Beijing wants to give the impression that “they have far surpassed the United States, and the United States could do nothing about us,” he added.
Qin in the speech defended the regime’s domestic policies, repeating the slogan that the Chinese people are “masters of their own country” and claiming that “everything the Communist Party of China (CPC) does is to pursue happiness for the Chinese people.”
The ambassador, when describing the state of China in the 1960s, glossed over a three-year famine that began in 1959 that killed tens of millions after the regime ordered farmers to make steel in their backyards rather than growing crops. He omitted this information, characterizing the period as a time when China was dealing with a “severe drought” that the Party ultimately overcame with resilience.
“They call themselves the representatives for the people. But historically, the communist party has always had the word ‘people’ on their lips but never acted on people’s interests,” Chen said. “They only care about their own privileges.”
Su, the Taiwan analyst, said Beijing’s interpretation of democracy is “fundamentally different” from that in the West.
“The CCP’s ability to say backhanded words is impressive,” he said. “But I think it’s plenty clear … They are suppressing human rights in Hong Kong, committing genocide in Xinjiang, hindering basic autonomy in Tibet, and destroying the history and even language and culture in Mongolia. How could such a regime be grounded in the respect for people?”
Luo Ya contributed to this report.