Apart from a minuscule minority of reporters and commentators who may provide an objective account of current Chinese affairs, it is fair to say that Western media outlets are an untrustworthy source of information.
From the most prominent private media outlets (say, Fox news) to publicly funded ones (say, the BBC) or even your small independent and seemingly progressive outlets (say, Democracy Now), they all have one thing in common; A loyal adherence to anti-China propaganda.
This disdain for China does not just stem from illogical or ignorant racism but, deep down, from an understanding that the country represents a challenge to Western liberal capitalist civilisation. Whether or not we agree with the system and methods that the Chinese people and their government have developed over the decades, it is clear that they are no longer under the thumb of Western capitalist interests.
They have dared to carve out their own political and economic path without much concern for the international (imperialist) rules that the West and their allies have projected onto the world.
As they have done in other parts of the global South, the West’s ruling class and their media apparatus have successfully portrayed China as backward and evil to the Western masses. They need to create this consensus in the West to justify their aggressive foreign policy, which today includes highly threatening military operations near China’s borders.
A recent example of the propaganda war against China claimed that officials had ordered the public removal of ex-president Hu Jintao at the annual Communist Party Congress. Pictures of the former leader being escorted out of congress were plastered everywhere, with speculation that he was being ‘banished’ by the current leadership.
The BBC immediately reported it as a sinister incident and published an article in which they claimed it was a ‘mysterious exit’. The implication was that the evil and oppressive Chinese leadership was cracking down on dissent and using this public figure as an example – leaving open questions about his safety.
In reality, however, there was nothing sinister about Hu Jintao’s exit from congress. The elderly former leader, whose health is quite frail, was being helped out of the venue so he could take a break. He was later seen back at the congress during the voting session.
As Latin Americans who subscribe to an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist ideology, we must become conscious of the West’s attempts to portray China and other rival countries and regions as evil and backward. That’s not to say that we must uncritically support China. There are policies that we could question, particularly when it concerns our region’s political and economic sovereignty. We do not want to replace one master with another.
Ultimately, however, the evidence points to the West attempting to maintain its capitalist-imperialist hold on the world. They, not China, continue to be the biggest threat to our freedom and independence as a region.