‘Do Not Let Chinese Propagandists Take Advantage of You’: Former Adviser on Lessons From US–China Meeting

March 23, 2021 Updated: March 23, 2021

Beijing’s delegation came to Alaska to “score a cheap propaganda” while trying to divert international attention away from the Chinese regime’s abuses, the China adviser to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says.

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan held a two-day meeting in Anchorage, hosting their Chinese counterparts Foreign Minister Wang Yi and top diplomat Yang Jiechi.

The bilateral talks have since been remembered not for what the two sides talked about, but for how the Chinese delegation threw a diplomatic temper tantrum during the in-person meeting. Yang, in particular, veered off the usual diplomatic protocols and lashed out over what he said was the United States’ struggling democracy and poor treatment of minorities.

Yang’s public outburst has since been heavily criticized by several U.S. lawmakers and former U.S. officials. Meanwhile, China’s state-run media have touted that the meeting was a diplomatic win for Beijing, with China’s hawkish mouthpiece Global Times calling it “a grand show of China’s strength” in an article published on March 20.

Miles Yu, a Chinese-born academic who helped shape the Trump administration’s China policy, said the Chinese delegation didn’t travel to Alaska with the intention to solve problems underlying the bilateral relationship, but rather to promote the Chinese regime’s political agenda.

“They are here to basically try to discredit American democracy, try to score a cheap shot,” Yu said in an interview with The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” program.

The Alaska talks came at a “very unique time,” when the Chinese regime is “unprecedentedly isolated internationally,” Yu said.

In recent years, policymakers around the world have become increasingly alarmed by how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) poses a threat to their governance, economic systems, and national security as Beijing becomes more assertive.

The general public in many countries also views China negatively. In October 2020, a Pew Research Center poll showed that negative views of China in nine countries—including Australia, Canada, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States—had reached their highest levels in more than a decade.

In the United States, the Trump administration spent four years pushing back against China’s malign influences, including unfair trade practices and espionage.

In March, another Pew Research Center poll showed that more than 70 percent of Americans stated that Washington should stand up to the CCP over its human rights record, even if it means bilateral economic ties taking a hit.

Beijing’s initial coverup of the CCP virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, also has contributed to the global backlash against the Chinese regime. At the early stage of the pandemic, Beijing silenced whistleblower doctors who tried to warn the public of a new form of pneumonia.

As a result, the Chinese delegation traveled to Alaska to vent, trying to blame the United States as the only country responsible for China’s international isolation, according to Yu.

He added, “They come here to basically to shift the focus of the real issue of the day, which is the global challenges posed by the Chinese Communist Party.”

The CCP’s Diplomacy

The Chinese delegation’s public blow-up was also useful in one respect, according to Yu.

“It seems to me the Chinese have lost [their] grace, diplomatic finesse, and aplomb, but that’s actually very educational to the rest of the world to see, to see how Chinese diplomats truly function,” he said.

“Chinese diplomats are not really diplomats, per se, they are the agents of the will of the Central Committee of Chinese Communist Party,” he added, referring to the body comprising the top leaders of the Party.

Yu said Yang was known as a man of political skill, but for him to behave like that in public showed that he was simply acting on the orders of China’s top leadership to behave like a bully or “wolf warrior” in Alaska. The CCP has increasingly taken an aggressive form of diplomacy dubbed “wolf warrior” in an effort to fend off mounting international criticism over its aggressions.

Nonetheless, Yu said he found it “absolutely crazy” for the Chinese delegation to lecture the United States on the virtue of democracy, given China’s records of human rights abuses against dissidents, religious groups, Uyghur Muslims, and Falun Gong, and the regime’s state-sanctioned practice of harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience.

In January, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that Beijing had committed “genocide” and “crimes against humanity” against Uyghur Muslims. On March 22, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union jointly unveiled sanctions on six Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

When Chinese officials leveled criticism at the United States, it was very different from Americans criticizing their own country, Yu said.

“We Americans criticize our system because we wish our system to be better,” he said.

“When the Chinese Communist Party criticizes the American system, it doesn’t wish us well. It challenges the foundation of American democracy. It basically tries to destroy the entire system of freedom and democracy. They [the CCP] are completely different.”

Looking back at the talks, Yu said the Chinese delegation missed an opportunity to work with the Biden administration because the administration really wanted “to find common areas to work with China.”

In conclusion, Yu said that the Biden administration should learn a lesson from the Alaska talks.

“You have to deal with China with candor, with strength, with unapologetic strength, and self-confidence in our own democratic system. Do not let Chinese propagandists take advantage of you,” he said.

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