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Huanqiu, China

Why Western Media Sensationalizes
Chinese Defense

By Han Xudong

The Cold War between the Soviet and U.S. blocs has been relegated to the annals of history, but the U.S. still remains a proponent of the Cold War paradigm.

Translated By Nathan Hsu

3 June 2013

Edited by Lau­rence Bouvard

China - Huanqiu - Original Article (Chinese)

With the burgeoning of Chinese military strength and the eastward shift in the U.S. campaign to secure global hegemony, even the slightest change relating to Chinese military affairs is now likely to garner an inordinately large amount of attention. At the Shangri-La Dialogue these past two days, various reports about Chinese defense matters were blown entirely out of proportion by the Western media. This sort of attention-seeking sensationalism demands our careful reflection, as well as our vigilance.

First, Western countries, with the U.S. taking the lead, seek to seize on these military issues to cast China in a negative light. As early as the mid-1990s, relevant U.S. departments determined that from 2015 to 2020, China would most likely develop into a potential global adversary of the U.S. From that time forward, the U.S. continually schemed against the Chinese military. After Obama took office, the U.S. made sweeping changes to shift the focus of its strategy for global hegemony to the East, becoming increasingly concerned about Chinese military development. The manner in which the U.S. and China would adapt militarily became a widely watched issue. The actions of the Western media demonstrate their intent to lay blame for instability in the Asia-Pacific region on China, thereby hindering China from easily realizing its military development goals.

Second, this sensationalism is entirely intentional in some countries. Of these, it should not come as a surprise that the U.S. media is most active. However, ballyhooing in the so-called news is also present in many other countries in the West and around the Asia-Pacific region. What is the purpose of all this? The hype within Western media is really nothing more than trend-following. Newsmongers in these countries can hardly contain their excitement as they wait for calamity to strike somewhere in the world. Meanwhile, the media in certain countries around the Pacific eagerly await an outbreak of military conflict between the U.S. and China, hoping to capitalize upon the situation.

Third, the hype is meant to aid the U.S. in increasing arms sales to Asia and the Pacific. Drawing attention to developments in Chinese maritime power with catchy headlines effectively throws other Asia-Pacific countries’ military planning into disarray. These countries are then driven to dial up the importation of naval arms and equipment from the U.S. This strategy weakens Chinese naval development while simultaneously relieving the U.S. of some pressure and allowing it to further accelerate the pace of its strategic shift eastward.

This all contributes to the establishment of a new U.S.-led security order in Asia and the Pacific. Today, the Cold War between the Soviet and U.S. blocs has been relegated to the annals of history, but the U.S. still remains a proponent of the Cold War paradigm, working unceasingly to procure military alliances. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has expanded the number of member states in NATO from 16 to 28, essentially assuming the mantle of leadership in European security. The goal of the U.S., as it encourages its media to promote news centered on the "China threat theory," is to compel certain Asia-Pacific countries to buy into the U.S.-led security order and hasten its formation.

China is a responsible world power. The Chinese military is an important force for maintaining world peace. The brouhaha surrounding Chinese military affairs only illustrates U.S. adherence to traditional Cold War modes of thought in its understanding of these events. This is harmful to the Pacific region and the rest of the world, and what the West must learn now is how to reconcile itself to China's military development.

The author is a professor at the PLA National Defense University.



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