The great power race between the US and China is on. And Beijing is confident of winning
“He’s deadly earnest on (China) becoming the most significant, consequential nation in the world,” Biden said of Xi. “He and others — autocrats — think that democracy can’t compete in the 21st century with autocracies.”
“The autocrats will not win the future,” he vowed later. “America will.”
Responding to a question about Biden’s speech, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said the US was merely feeling insecure and jealous about China’s development.
“While China devotes itself to improving people’s lives, some in the US habitually target China every time they speak,” Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing. “This is in nature out of Cold War thinking, a zero-sum mindset and ideological bias — and a sign of lack of self-confidence.”
“We hope the US can discard this ‘sour grapes’ mentality towards China, and treat China’s development with a more peaceful and rational mind,” he added.
Biden’s comments, and Beijing’s reaction to that speech, speak to a role reversal between the two nations: the US used to set moral, economic and political benchmarks for other countries. But as China becomes an increasingly confident world player, Washington is beginning to measure itself against Beijing in many ways, from the development of advanced technologies to geopolitical influence.
The Chinese Communist Party has in recent years grown increasingly confident that China is on an ascendent trajectory and will one day surpass its Western rivals. That view received a boost during the Trump presidency. Despite his tough rhetoric on China, many Chinese nationalists hold the view that by withdrawing the US from global leadership and sowing political and social divisions at home, Trump gave China an opportunity to assert greater leadership in the world.
“The East is rising, and the West is declining,” he concluded — a message that has since been repeatedly pounded in the Party at various meetings and political studying sessions.
Officially, Beijing has repeatedly said China focuses on its own development and is not interested in promoting its political system or development model. But to party elites, international recognition of China’s ideological and political systems has always been important — and with the Communist Party’s centenary on July 1 that is only more acute.
For many, the Covid-19 pandemic was further vindication of Beijing’s rise. China’s ability to swiftly contain the outbreak — despite an initial mishandling — has been touted as a vivid proof of the superiority of its authoritarian political system, with the faltering response of Western governments cast as a fatal weakness of democracies. As the world’s major economies plunged into recession, China roared back into economic growth.
- The coronavirus crisis in India continues to worsen, with funeral pyres burning throughout the night.
- Facing a backlash, a spokesperson for India’s ruling BJP said “responsibility is first and foremost ours.”
- A global shortage of computer chips is going from bad to worse.
- Japanese airline ANA is trialing hands-free bathroom doors.
- Taiwan’s Coast Guard is launching a new flagship to handle Chinese fishing and sand-dredging ships, which Taiwan says operate illegally in its waters.
- Meanwhile in China, 100 people gathered at a hotel in Sanya, in southern Hainan province, to break the Guinness World Record for largest underwater mermaid show.
The business of China: Will ‘Nomadland’ censorship haunt Marvel in China?
Hollywood and filmmakers are increasingly making decisions about content, casting, plot, dialogue, and setting to “avoid antagonizing Chinese officials who control whether their films gain access to the booming Chinese market,” according to a recent report from PEN America.
But even when filmmakers take painstaking steps to appease Chinese audiences, it doesn’t always pay off. Last year, Disney had bet that “Mulan” would be a major success at Chinese box offices. Instead, it was eschewed in China for its westernized flair and unfaithful retelling of the original legend; and abroad, Disney was scorched for publicly thanking a Chinese government agency accused of human rights abuses in Xinjiang for its helping in making the movie.
While “Nomadland” may not have made it to Chinese cinemas, Disney is hoping for box office success for Zhao’s next film: Marvel superhero picture “Eternals,” starring Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Don Lee. The big question for Disney is if the government’s censorship of Zhao’s win and online nationalists’ attacks on her character will linger when “Eternals” releases in China.
— By Selina Wang
Photo of the day
Disney denies responsibility for Xinjiang controversy
A top Disney executive has denied responsibility for thanking a Chinese government agency accused of human rights abuses in Xinjiang in the credits of “Mulan,” saying the decision was made by a local contractor.
Bailey said “the production company, Beijing Shadow Times, provided our production team with the list of acknowledgments to be included in the credits for Mulan. The Walt Disney Company has no separate, independent or ongoing relationship with government authorities in the Xinjiang autonomous province.”
Quoted and noted
“China’s population continued to grow in 2020, and the detailed numbers will be released in the seventh census report.”
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