The Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda is no longer awkward and heavily handed; indeed, it is perhaps China’s most impressive form of modernization. Gone are times when Mao’s portrait was hung everywhere; the CCP now shows off superiority with Olympic medals. Gone are the times when people where forced to read the Little Red Book; entertaining TV shows and movies now have patriotic themes. Gone are the times when the CCP would shut down the internet at “random” times; it would now censor key words and websites.
But as President Trump’s trade war squeezes China’s economy too hard, the CCP desperately need to project the image of a progressing nation. Thus, the CCP’s efforts in sophisticating its propaganda will now pay off more than it ever will.
Here’s its main problem: as more Chinese travel aboard, they can better see the disparities between the two worlds. That’s where you, my fellow American, come into play. The CCP needs us to believe their propaganda as well; otherwise, we’ll remain smart enough to tell visiting Chinese citizens they’ve been living under an illusion.
One Chinese who figured out that illusion is Yang Shuping, who denounced China’s tyranny and pollution after studying at the University of Maryland. In her graduation speech, Yang praised “the fresh air of free speech. Democracy and free speech should not be taken for granted. Democracy and freedom are the fresh air that is worth fighting for”.
And if enough Chinese can wake up like Yang, there may be another Tiananmen Square protest, one that the CCP can’t control. Western gullibility is key to their survival.
The key is to take a look at what the CCP propaganda machine is hiding:
1. Personal Income: China’s current GDP per capita is only $8,682, which is almost $300 lower than Mexico’s $8,967. Both are pitiful compared to the world average of $10,665 and America’s $60,055. Puerto Rico, which is impoverished by American standards stands at $28,451. So if China bordered Mexico, we can safely presume that there would be a massive flood of illegal aliens to the US. If Westerners don’t think of Mexico as prosperous, why do we think differently of China? Two words: Chinese propaganda
2. Quality of Life: Mexico has a drug problem, and China also has one, specifically with Fentanyl. And let’s not mention the excessive pollution, baby formula scandals, and bullet train accidents. At least Mexico doesn’t have those. China’s life expectancy is only at 84th, which is much lower than America’s 43rd. Sorry, but no amount of propaganda can fix people’s health and safety problems.
3. Technology: If China is really a technological superpower, why are its best companies still copying Western technology? Why did China panic when Trump threatened to cut ZTE and, later, Huawei from US technology? Chinese 5G is a joke if it can’t be made without American innovation. Doesn’t this top Chinese “technology” sounds less like technology and more like masterful CCP propaganda?
4. Military: The People’s Liberation Army is hugely overrated. Corruption is rampant, and its gotten so bad that President Xi had to remind troops that they’re supposed to prepare for war. Chinese aircraft designers can’t build the J-20 and J-31 without stealing US technology while little Sweden can independently build the JAS-39 Gripen and little France can independently build the Rafale. If China always copies US technology, it’ll always be a step behind. And are we really supposed to think China is a military superpower since they can only occupy little South China Sea islands and host military parades?
5. Space Exploration: What about China as a space superpower? China’s first astronaut went into space in 2003, when America’s landed on the moon in 1969, 34 long years before. China made headlines for sending a buggy to the moon while, at the same time, NASA sent a space probe trillions of miles further to Pluto. Is China impressive? Well, maybe to the Iranians that still struggle with basic rocket designs, but not to us Americans.
6. Tyranny: Finally, let’s talk about unrest and repression. China has 1.4 billion people, yet they can’t even crush the democratic aspirations of freedom-loving Hong Kong, a city of 7.4 million people? Forget Taiwan, which has an actual military. Forget unhappy minorities. Best of all, at hometown Beijing, Xi is having trouble controlling colleagues who are getting frustrated with China’s dimming prospects.
Maybe the Communist Party doesn’t actually have to make China prosperous. They just need to give the illusion of prosperity. And all that takes is for the world to believe its propaganda.
Don’t fall for it. Let’s make the house of cards crumble instead.