Archive for zhao lijian

China’s Mask Diplomacy

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 6, 2021 by andelino

China saw the coronavirus pandemic as “a window of opportunity to boost its influence” over Southeast Asian nations, the South China Morning Post wrote. By sending medical supplies, vaccines and personnel to Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines, China was able to increase its soft power over them.

China first directed attention to Cambodia last March, donating hazmat suits, face masks and other necessities. The Chinese also sent a team of medical experts to provide education in handling the crisis. A few months later, China provided Cambodia with even more medical materials. China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency quoted Cambodian Health Minister Mam Bunheng as saying: “This assistance is a new testament to the unbreakable friendship, solidarity and cooperation between Cambodia and China.”

That “friendship, solidarity and cooperation” has continued. On February 7, Cambodia received 600,000 doses of Chinese-made covid-19 vaccines. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that China was building testing labs, giving out test kits, and providing vaccines for Cambodia, according to Global Times. “China will continue to provide assistance to Cambodia’s fight against the outbreak as much as it can according to the needs of the Cambodian side,” Zhao said.

China has repeated this foreign policy in so many nations that it has been dubbed “covid-19 diplomacy” or “face mask diplomacy.”

Last April, Laos received over 2,000 test kits from China, in addition to a small group of medical staff to help the Laotians learn how to fight the virus. Xinhua News Agency quoted a hospital worker, saying, “I am grateful to have experienced Chinese medical staff in our country. We can learn directly from them to control the spread of the virus. The assistance makes me feel hopeful.”

This April, Laos received its fourth shipment of vaccines and more medical staff from China. Lao Deputy Prime Minister Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune said the help from China reflects the profound friendship between the two countries.

A similar pattern has developed in both Myanmar and Thailand, where China has provided a continuous stream of coronavirus aid from last spring until now. Last March, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said relations between China and Thailand “will emerge even stronger in this joint campaign against the virus.”

Last July, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to give the Philippines access first when a vaccine was developed. President Xi agreed, and Chinese vaccines first arrived in the Philippines on February 28. Two months later, the Philippines received another half million doses from China.

The South China Morning Post stated that China “has managed to transform the pandemic into a strategic opportunity to assert its leadership role and expand its geopolitical influence.”

It’s a strange turn of events considering the virus originated in China, and the Chinese Communist Party directed its energies to deflecting blame instead of preventing a global pandemic.

Yet instead of blaming China, these countries in Southeast Asia are relying on China for help and looking to China for leadership.

Don’t Be Fooled by China’s Mask Diplomacy

Chinese Rectal Swabs

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2021 by andelino

Welcome to China!

American diplomats literally “Bend Over” (Wánliǎo) and spread their “derriere” cheeks for Chinese disease control experts to get a COVID “anal swab” tests upon arriving in Beijing.

Washington complained the “rectal” procedure was “undignified” and told staff to “decline” future test if asked to take one.

The Chinese government say the “anal swab” tests were given to US diplomats “in error” and promised to stop using “anal swabs” on American diplomats.

“The State Department never agreed to this kind of testing and protested directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when we learned that some staff were subject to it,” a State Department spokesperson said.

“Beijing assured Washington that diplomatic personnel were exempt from the test, which was mandatory for incoming travelers in some parts of China.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily news briefing in the Chinese capital: “To my knowledge China has never required U.S. diplomatic staff stationed in China to conduct anal swab tests.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian says the reports from Vice and Washington Post are false.

Some Chinese regions have been ordering anal swabs for people under quarantine, including those who arrived from abroad. Authorities say the tests can avoid missing infections.

It’s not clear how many U.S. diplomats or their family members have gone through the tests. The State Department spokesperson said it is committed to preserving the “dignity” of American diplomats and their families, consistent with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and other diplomatic law provisions.

In an online post earlier, China’s National Health Commission said in some cases, the Wuhan virus can be more readily detected in anal samples than in throat and nasal samples. But it acknowledged rectal swabs are not suitable for mass use because they are inconvenient and unpopular.

According to the commission’s instructions, to collect test samples, the swab needs to be inserted about three to five centimeters (1.2 to 2 inches) into the rectum and rotated several times.

To collect the nucleic acid samples, the swab needs to be inserted about three to five centimeters (1.2  to 2 inches) and rotated several times.

After completing the motion twice, the swab is removed before being securely placed inside a sample container. The whole procedure is said to take about 10 seconds.

The “woke” Chinese anal testers began using the “derriere detecting method” more frequently during mass testing drives after a nine-year-old boy tested positive for the virus last month.

A video widely circulated online shows a doctor holding a visual demonstration of the procedure.

Reports about anal COVID-19 testing prompted a “wave of panic” on Chinese social media. A traveler from Australia to China who was given anal swabs in September said it felt like having diarrhea.

“Anal swabs” have been used in China to test the Wuhan virus since last year, but the method is mainly used in key groups at quarantine centers because of its inconvenience, according to a Chinese disease control expert.

Some Chinese cities used samples taken from the anus to detect potential infections amid stepped up screening during a spate of regional outbreaks ahead of the “Lunar New Year” holidays.

Tests using “anal swabs” can avoid missing infections as virus traces in fecal samples or anal swabs could remain detectable for a longer time than in those from the respiratory tract, Li Tongzeng, a respiratory diseases doctor in Beijing, told state television last month.

“Stool tests may also be more effective in finding infections in children and infants as their waste carries a higher viral load than adults” researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said in a paper published last year. But the accuracy and efficiency of anal swabs remain controversial among experts.

Chinese Anal Testers.

Yang Zhanqiu, a deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told state media Global Times that the nasal and throat swabs remain the most efficient test as the virus is proven to be contracted via one’s upper respiratory tract rather than the digestive system.

“There have been cases concerning the coronavirus testing positive in a patient’s excrement, but no evidence has suggested it had been transmitted through one’s digestive system,” Yang explained.

China has largely contained the pandemic; only a handful of cases are reported daily across the country of 1.4 billion people. Its relatively early recovery helped its film industry break records earlier this month during the Lunar New Year holiday, but the authorities remain wary of “foreign visitors” who could bring new outbreaks.

Assistant Secretary of Health Richard “Rachel” Levine.

Judging from the current crop of appointed diplomats by “Fraud-In-Chief” Joe Biden, I would be willing to bet that most of them enjoyed the “anal swab” experience.

It will be interesting if our illustrious Government leader, liberated from the oppressive binds of conservative ideology, will condemn the Chinese government for never offering a “Ginseng Colonic” after the anal probe.

Perhaps to avoid “gender norms” and wrap themselves in a cloak of moral superiority, it will become fashionable to display feathery “butt plugs” instead of decals or ribbons that inform everyone that you have been “anally” tested.

American diplomats in China complain they were forced to take anal swab tests for coronavirus

China’s Viral Propaganda

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 8, 2020 by andelino

The spread of “lies” and “disinformation” has triggered a new form of diplomatic “rhetoric” between China and the US.

Hua Chunying read from a prescripted communiqué. She appeared to relish the opportunity to “clarify” the position of China’s “Ministry of Foreign Affairs” when it came to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As an “official spokesperson,” she was outlining the views of the “ruling” Communist Party during a routine media briefing last week. The topic was again predictable.

“We have no intention to judge another country’s response to the pandemic. But while China set an example and bought precious time for the world with huge efforts and sacrifice … did a certain country make full use of the time to enhance preparedness?” Hua asked.

Obviously not, according to the next part of her prepared statement.

“Now, so many days have passed, and some in the United States still claim China should be held responsible for the Covid-19 epidemic in the US. Don’t they feel guilty or ashamed? They are trying to shift the biggest blame of the century to China and make it the biggest scapegoat. However, such an attempt is just impossible as the blame is too heavy to be shifted. Sorry, it won’t work,” Hua continued.

By now, she was “warmed” up and in “full” voice mode.

“The pandemic is in some way like a magical mirror that exposes a person’s morality and character to the fullest extent. The virus knows no ideology, border or race. The destinies of all countries are closely intertwined … We don’t have the interest or the time to launch any despicable disinformation campaign,” Hua added.

More than 1.2 million people have been infected by this new “Chinese Coronavirus” strain, which was “first reported in Wuhan on December 31,” the World Health Organization confirmed.

Politically, this has been a public relations “disaster” for President Xi Jinping and the ruling Communist Party. Accusations of “incompetence” have been leveled against Beijing for its early response to the crisis, as well as claims of a “cover-up” by officials in Wuhan, the initial epicenter of the epidemic in Hubei province.

During the “Lunar New Year period in late January, about five million people left the city before the “lock-down order” was announced to slow the spread of Covid-19. Numbers that were verified by Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang, Chinese media revealed on January 26.

Yet not one person who left the cultural and economic heart of Hubei was “tested” for the virus. What followed was a “scramble” by Xi’s administration to quarantine 15 cities of more than 56 million people in surrounding regions.

By February, up to half of the nearly 1.4 billion population were caught up in some form of “travel ban” as factories and companies were shut down. Hotels, cinemas, restaurants and shops were also closed.

A month later, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and North America were left reeling from the “aftershocks” of the pandemic. Economies were put into mothballs as nations started to “isolate” large pockets of their populations.

Before bringing the outbreak under control, China suffered 3,300 deaths. Medical workers have “suggested that the count” could be much “higher,” the New York Times reported on Friday. Radio Free Asia also disclosed in mid-February that “funeral homes in Wuhan” were “working 24/7 to cremate bodies.”

So far, the overall number of global infections has reached 1.27 million, while the “death” toll has spiraled to nearly 70,000 as of this writing. Recession looms across the planet.

“It is now clear that we have entered a recession as bad or worse than in 2009 and it will be quite deep. The human costs of the coronavirus pandemic are already immeasurable and all countries need to work together to protect people and limit the economic damage,” Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, told a media briefing last month.

Changing the “narrative” has naturally become a “priority” for China and has involved a “diet of drip-feed diatribes” by the country’s heavily-censored state-owned media.

“Beijing will face great difficulty in promoting its narrative on the current crisis for a couple of different reasons. For one, it is based on a blatant lie, that China was somehow not responsible for the disaster that is now encompassing the whole world,” Rajesh Rajagopalan, a professor of international politics at “Jawaharlal Nehru University” in New Delhi, said.

“Hypocrisy and lying are expected of states but as the scholar John Mearsheimer points out, states don’t actually lie to each other as much as we think, which makes Beijing’s behavior stand out,” he wrote in a commentary for the “Observer Research Foundation,” an independent think tank based in India.

The Covid-19 “calamity” has also created a new form of Twitter “diplomacy” from Beijing, which is straight out of the “playground” playbook. Needless to say, Twitter is “banned” in China and “blocked” by the “Great Firewall” for the peasants. Apparently that does “not apply” to Chinese Communistic Party leaders.

“2/2 CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation! pic.twitter.com/vYNZRFPWo3 — Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 12, 2020

But it has not stopped Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian from peddling “conspiracy theories” that Covid-19 was “unleashed” on Wuhan by the United States military.

Again, this “in-your-face mask” rhetoric has triggered a generational storm in diplomatic circles.

“To counter others’ prejudices, we cannot simply criticize them and get defensive. We must put forth a true, three-dimensional, and comprehensive portrait of China to the international society,” Fu Ying, the former deputy minister of foreign affairs, said as quoted by the People’s Daily.

State-run media has also played a crucial role in a slightly harder version of soft power. Between stories of China shipping medical supplies to the rest of the world, English-language newspapers such as Global Times have launched an intensive propaganda campaign.

Headlines like “US, UK politicians can’t twist virus public opinion” are served up with lashings of “bellicose and bile.” The tabloid sister publication of the People’s Daily pointed out:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the weakness and idleness of some Western governments in handling an emergency. Some officials in the West tried to make China a scapegoat of their incompetence, demonstrating how shameless Western politicians can be. No official in the US or Britain or any other Western country has reportedly been held accountable and removed from their position due to gross neglect of duty that led to the dire outbreak in their countries. The lawmakers always have excuses for whatever they do. It is absurd to accuse China of a disinformation campaign or attempt to hold China accountable. It is [also] a daydream for some Western politicians to make China accountable and ask for compensation. There is no legal basis for it.”

What makes these government “inspired” editorials amusing even to a domestic audience is the lack of “sophistication” compared to the taunt, street-style “elegance” of Western tabloids.

Just as bizarre is that the first cases of what has since become a viral pandemic were traced to a wet market in Wuhan. Indeed, seafood was not the only “catch of the day” being sold. Snakes, raccoons, porcupines and deer were just some of the species crammed inside cages before the popular “exotic menagerie” was closed down at the end of January.

Still, perhaps, Rajagopalan, of “Jawaharlal Nehru University” has captured the mood of these dark days.

“China’s authoritarianism is a natural disadvantage in many ways, especially on its efforts to project soft power. If China’s propaganda effort is ham-fisted, it is partly the consequence of Beijing’s difficulty in understanding how a free media works and how best to shape the narrative,” he said.

“This is not something that can be reverse-engineered, and China cannot solve this problem simply by throwing money at it, or by changing the head of the propaganda department. That probably explains China’s miscalculated expectation that it will win brownie points by supplying pandemic aid, without at least accepting responsibility for creating the mess, to begin with,” Rajagopalan added.

Unfortunately, that is unlikely to appear in a “Ministry of Foreign Affairs” communiqué in the near, or distant, future.

China’s wild and woolly medical equipment heist
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Xi trumps Trump with charm offensive

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