Campaign against U.S.-led 'cultural strategy'
China's ruling Communist Party is waging a counteroffensive against what party General Secretary Hu Jintao calls the "ideological and cultural infiltration launched by hostile forces in the West."
In his view, the United States is regarded as chief conspirator and China's anti-American propaganda is reaching a new high.
The latest edition of one Communist Party Central Committee mouthpiece, the Qiushi Weekly, last week published Mr. Hu's renewed warnings in what observers say is the most belligerent tone in his 10-year tenure against what the Chinese leader says is a comprehensive and sustained Western conspiracy to divide and infiltrate China.
"The international hostile forces in the West are stepping up their efforts to implement their strategic objective to Westernize China and to divide China," Mr. Hu was quoted as saying at the sixth plenum of the 17th Party Congress.
The United States is singled out by Chinese propaganda organs as the chief organizer of this so-called "cultural war" against China.
Jon Huntsman Jr., who recently dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination and who espoused the mildest China policy of the field of candidates, called for engaging rather than confronting China. Paradoxically, the former Utah governor is the main target of an orchestrated anti-American campaign because Mr. Huntsman, a former ambassador to China, made the rather casual statement in November during a debate in Iowa that "we should be reaching out to our allies and constituencies within China. They're called the young people. They're called the Internet generation ... and they are bringing about change the likes of which is going to take China down."
China's propaganda organs seized on Mr. Huntsman's remarks, which were viewed as most offensive. Official spokesmen and "experts" said in state-run media that this as a prime example of the grand U.S. conspiracy to stir up an Arab Spring-like popular uprising.
But the severe attack on the United States reflects deep insecurity and fear among Chinese authorities over U.S. influence. The United States remains the primary and most preferred destination of asylum for those politically persecuted, including the recently arrived Chinese dissident writer Yu Jie.
Yet what appears far more dangerous to the Beijing regime is the illicit flight of state assets to the United States taken by government officials, many of whom secretly arranged for their spouses and children to obtain U.S. green cards or passports. Analysts say the reason is that should their criminal embezzlement activities come to light, these officials can easily join their families in the United States, where no extradition treaty with China is in place.
These government employees and party apparatchiks are so prevalent inside the vast Chinese bureaucracy that the largest official Internet outlet, Strong China Forum, which is operated by the Communist Party, recently carried a rare article criticizing these "naked officials."
One particular angle of the article last week was peculiar. It pointed out the hypocrisy that many of the anti-American "comrades" are often those with spouses or children who are U.S. citizens or at least green card holders.
In Guangdong province, party authorities passed a rule Jan. 3 prohibiting Communist Party cadres whose spouses and children have become citizens of another country from holding top party and government positions at all levels.
In addition, a blockbuster movie directed by Zhang Yimou, "The Flowers of War," which is showing across the nation, elicited strong criticism from party ideologues.
The movie portrays Japanese brutality during the 1937 Rape of Nanking and shows an American missionary, played by Christian Bale, in a positive light. Party officials view this as a "pro-American" slant.
On Tuesday, the lead article in the official Communist Party newspaper Global Times bannered a headline that read: "Our Intelligentsia Adores the U.S., Yet Hates Japan and Russia. But the Americans Are the Most Dangerous Enemy!" The author, He Qing, a professor at China's elite Zhejiang University, charged that despite the many movies on the Sino-Japanese war that demonize the Japanese, few films show how China fought the Americans in the Korean War. Mr. He said the Americans are the real and most dangerous enemy hindering China's rise.
Mars probe lost
Along with the Russian Mars probe Phobos-Grunt, which crashed in the Pacific on Sunday, China's first Mars exploration spacecraft called Yinghuo-1 also was lost.
The twin probes were launched Nov. 8 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Shortly after the launch, the booster carrying the Russian probe failed to break free of Earth's gravitational pull, leaving both spacecraft stranded in orbit for months. That ended with Sunday's destructive re-entry.
Before the launch, the Russians insured the Phobos-Grunt for $40 million. There has been no word from either Moscow or Beijing about whether Yinghuo-1 was insured or not.
On Tuesday, according to Agence France-Presse, Russia's government blamed U.S. radar interference as the cause of the demise of the Russian and Chinese joint venture.
• Miles Yu's column appears Thursdays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.