On Saturday, September 15, the official communist news agencies in China were buzzing with news of a new “White Paper” from China’s government stating that China and the U.S. were having a wonderful year of comity and togetherness.
According to China’s Foreign Ministry, the relationship between China and the United States has been stable in the past year, with some “major” advances.
The next day, two newspaper items caught the eye.
The first headline is rather self explanatory: “China recalls leukemia drugs in safety scare.”
The headline “Quality control urgency” brought readers to a commentary in the Washington Times by Herbert Klein. The essay begins, “Toys, toothpaste and pet foods are only a small part of the U.S.-China trade. But the angry public reaction to the sale of contaminated products demands priority attention from both nations.”
Hardly the stuff of a smoothly sailing international relationship.
The relationship between China and the U.S. is complex and multi-faceted, certainly. But to allow the communist government and their state controlled media to distort the facts unanswered is unconscionable.
China views the world this way, according to an amassed pile of Chinese Foreign Ministry press releases and state controlled media stories during the past year:
–despite several food, toy and other product safety scandals this year, more than 90% of China’s products are safe and China continues to strive for product safety perfection.
–while the West questions China’s intent as it expands and modernizes its military, China only seeks better self defense and no nation should be alarmed.
–critics say China has a pollution problem but China is a developing nation exempt from the Kyoto treaty and other measures and China is working very hard to lesson pollution everywhere.
The facts in all these issues may be debatable. But in the view of many China watchers, international diplomats and international organizations including the United Nations, the counter arguments to China’s Foreign Ministry and state controlled media look like this:
On food and product safety, the central government in Beijing has little control over a vast and far-flung array of farms, factories, entrepreneurs, middlemen and vendors.
According to Les Lothringer, a China expert based in Shanghai who has done business in China for many years, “It is quite impossible for any Chinese official to guarantee anything in China because of the lack of control that the government has and the lack of standards we take for granted in the West.”
On the issue of China’s military build-up, China has embarked on a huge military build-up. But nobody knows how much China is spending on defense, and procurement projects are shrouded in secrecy.
Since late last year, a Chinese ship-attack submarine surfaced within sight of a U.S. aircraft carrier before being detected for the first time in history, China demonstrated an anti-satellite missile capability the first time in history, and China has continued to verbally bully Taiwan.