US elites praise China not for US to learn, but to shame political opponents
Published: Sep 05, 2021 07:45 PM
Fox News host Tucker Carlson  Photo: AFP

Fox News host Tucker Carlson Photo: AFP

The Chinese people have a philosophy: "When we see men of worth, we think of equalling them." But when the US elites praise China, they do not aim to learn from China to equal it, but to shame their political opponents.

In his recent program, Fox News host Tucker Carlson praised several of China's latest nationwide measures, including stopping registrations for private equity funds that raise money to invest in residential real estate, the ban on online fan culture and the restrictions on online gaming for under-18s. All these, in Carlson's words, are "something virtuous."

It is worth noting that Carlson is one of the most anti-China hosts in the US. In China-related matters, Carlson's stance is no different from that of notorious China doomsayer Gordon Chang and his ilk. In the wake of China's rise, these US elites have resorted to anti-China discourse to mislead the American public. 

So it is both interesting and surprising to see Carlson giving China points for its policies, although a few words of praise can hardly change the overall negative US media coverage of China. By saying China has done "something virtuous," at least he agreed with China this time. After all, skyrocketing housing prices or a generation addicted to video games does no good to any country. One does not require much sense to acknowledge that.

As an American media person, Carlson obviously serves American interests. By praising China, he actually aimed to make a comparison to the US, reveal the flaws in US politics and express his dissatisfaction with Washington's politicians and policies. Carlson is clear about US political flaws - politicians are only good at shouting slogans rather than serving the people. What China has done right is what the US is incapable of - the median price of a house in California is $800,000 and homelessness there is "totally out of control," and 86 percent of 963 surveyed parents in 2020 thought their teens spend too much time on video games. 

Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, noted that when Carlson talked about houses, he cited the example of California - a voter base for Democrats. Carlson and the conservative Fox News have a clear goal of shaming President Joe Biden and the Democrats.

The US media's criticisms and praises of China both aim to serve the interests of a particular party. When Trump was in office, liberal media like CNN spoke positively about China's anti-virus fight. VOA once called China's Wuhan lockdown a successful "model." These media outlets reported on China favorably only to highlight the Republican leadership's ineptitude, not to sincerely praise China. 

Actually, not only the Biden administration but also the Trump administration did not try to solve public governance problems. Public governance issues can only be solved when placed beyond the partisan struggle and at a public interest level. China's political system allows its government to dedicate its efforts to solve these problems, but the US looks at these problems through the lens of partisanship. 

As US society further divides, political stance appears to be the only guidance for media practices and China unfortunately becomes the scarecrow of US politics - being used whenever needed by one party to smear the other. This, however, further prevents the US from facing up to its woes.