Chinese Regime Turns US–China Meetings Into Propaganda Coup

By Frank Fang
Frank Fang
Frank Fang
journalist
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a Master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.
and Eva Fu
Eva Fu
Eva Fu
China Reporter
Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S.-China, religious freedom, and human rights.
July 27, 2021 Updated: July 27, 2021

The Chinese regime had a field day pushing anti-American propaganda in the aftermath of high-level diplomatic talks between the two countries.

On July 26, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met separately with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his deputy Xie Feng in the Chinese port city of Tianjin. Beijing’s confrontational manner, dubbed “wolf warrior” diplomacy, was on full display, with the two officials leveling a range of accusations about the United States’ alleged “wrongdoings,” according to statements emerging from the meetings.

Xie accused the United States of setting Beijing up as an “imaginary enemy” to reignite its own “sense of national purpose.”

Meanwhile, Wang demanded that the United States not cross the regime’s “three bottom lines”—Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong—claiming that the three issues had “nothing to do with human rights or democracy.”

The communist regime’s abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong are just one area of focus for the Biden administration, which has sought to rally allies to push back against Beijing’s various transgressions, from its state-sanctioned cyber espionage to its military activities in the South China Sea. These concerns were raised by Sherman during the talks.

The Tianjin talks echoed the brazen tone set by Chinese officials during the first high-level meeting under the Biden administration in Alaska in March. In a public tirade, the regime’s top foreign policy official Yang Jiechi dressed down Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan over what he described as the United States’ poor treatment of minorities and struggling democracy.

Xie also handed Sherman two lists of Beijing’s concerns and demands, including requests to remove U.S. sanctions against Chinese officials and entities.

For Beijing, the Tianjin talks were never about sincere engagement with the United States, according to China expert Gordon Chang.

“China used the meeting with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman like it used the March meeting in Anchorage—not to work with the Biden administration, but to launch a hostile propaganda campaign against America,” Chang told The Epoch Times in an email.

“[Chinese leader] Xi Jinping no longer wants to accommodate others or compromise with them, even Americans. Xi’s China lectures, dictates, and demands.”

Propaganda Coup

State-run media outlets were quick to promote Xie’s aggressive comments in social media posts, setting the narrative that the regime was standing up to an “arrogant” United States.

In a July 26 editorial, hawkish state-run newspaper Global Times heaped praise on the officials’ performance.

“​​We must make the American people more and more aware of how stupid they are to forcibly shape China into a strategic opponent,” it stated.

A day later, the paper published an op-ed defending the regime’s “wolf warrior” diplomacy by quoting a Chinese professor.

“We are used to being lectured by the West and by the Western media. I think now it’s time for the West to get a bit used to Chinese lecturing back. This lecturing-back is now described as wolf whatever-like diplomacy. I think it’s time for you too, to experience what we experienced in the past,” professor Zhang Weiwei, director of the China Institute of Fudan University, told the outlet.

State-run China Daily ran an editorial gloating that “Sherman will not return home empty-handed” since Beijing gave her the two lists.

Other local media articles framed the engagements as Sherman getting “schooled” by Chinese officials. One video by a provincial state-run broadcaster had the headline, “How strong is China’s energy field now? In front of the entire world, Xie Feng fiercely scolds Sherman.”

‘Stop Talking’

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has no choice but to continue its aggressive stance toward the United States, according to Ming Chu-cheng, emeritus professor in the Department of Political Science at the National Taiwan University.

Beijing fears that if Chinese officials keep a low profile in these talks, negotiations will tilt heavily in favor of the United States, he said.

“Taking a hard stance means that these officials can show the Chinese people how they dare to challenge the United States, they will not bow in front of the United States, and subsequently these officials are qualified to lead the country,” Ming told The Epoch Times.

Days before Sherman’s visit, the CCP placed retaliatory sanctions on former U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and other Americans in response to the Biden administration’s sanctions targeting Beijing officials involved in suppressing freedoms in Hong Kong.

Caving to the United States’ demands would also hurt Xi Jinping ahead of the all-important 20th National People’s Congress next year, putting him in a difficult position to either name his successor or seek a new five-year term, Ming said.

He said the CCP wasn’t in a hurry to resolve bilateral issues in these talks because it sees itself in a better position to negotiate if the United States struggles domestically to contain the spread of the CCP virus.

Hu Ping, a New York-based dissident and chief editor of the Chinese political magazine Beijing Spring, dismissed Xie’s accusations against the United States as “laughable.”

Rather than being an “imaginary enemy,” as alleged by Xie, the CCP is in fact “not only a huge threat to the Chinese people, but the same to America and the entire world,” Hu said.

“So it’s only reasonable that the international society and the United States stay on high alert toward the one-party-ruled China and the Chinese government.”

For Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” these talks indicate that engagement with the regime is a dead end.

“It’s way past time the Biden team stop meeting with Beijing,” Chang said.

“Why should we put up with this arrogance? Stop talking, start acting. We need to begin defending ourselves in earnest.”

Luo Ya and Cathy He contributed to this report. 

Frank Fang
Frank Fang
journalist
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a Master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.
Eva Fu
Eva Fu
China Reporter
Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S.-China, religious freedom, and human rights.