In this perceptive and deeply revealing article in The Financial Times, Jamil Anderlini describes how a US State Senator was approached by the Chinese Communist Party – CCP – asking him to promote a Bill praising China’s response to Covid19. It describes the CCP’s attempts to control the narrative and why its failure to be open, honest, and transparent, is hardening attitudes instead of fostering a global response to a humanitarian disaster.
When Roger Roth received an email from the Chinese government asking him to sponsor a bill in the Wisconsin state legislature praising China’s response to coronavirus, he thought it must be a hoax. The sender had even appended a pre-written resolution full of Communist party talking points and dubious claims for the Wisconsin senate president to put to a vote.
“I’ve never heard of a foreign government approaching a state legislature and asking them to pass a piece of legislation,” Sen Roth said told me last week. “I thought this couldn’t be real.” Then he discovered it was indeed sent by China’s consul-general in Chicago. “I was astonished . . .[and] wrote a letter back: ‘dear consul general, NUTS’.”
The article goes on to say that China’s attempts to control the narrative have backfired and been counterproductive :
It is impossible to see this episode as anything but another disastrous own goal in Beijing’s attempts to boost its global standing in the time of coronavirus….
…Even allowing for questionable data, China has so far reported under 5,000 deaths, versus almost 30,000 in the US and nearly 20,000 each in Italy and Spain. But Beijing’s attempts to take advantage of the situation are more likely to leave it isolated and distrusted on the world stage when the crisis recedes…..
…The expulsion of much of the US press corps from Beijing will also harden international attitudes. China’s main government mouthpiece has even threatened to withhold medical supplies and block medical exports to the US so it can “cast America into a novel coronavirus hell”.
…This is the biggest crisis that President Xi Jinping has faced since he took power in 2012. The Communist party’s legitimacy has been damaged by early mistakes and the crackdown that followed. …China’s economy shrank 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of this year.
…China’s goal was to publicise the resolution in state propaganda to validate party rule back home. But now the Wisconsin senator plans a very different bill. While praising the Chinese people, it will “strip the brutal Chinese Communist party naked for the world to see . . . as well as the damage it has done to the whole world through covering up this coronavirus,” Sen Roth said. It is likely to pass with a hefty majority.