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China Pours Gasoline on Hawaii Fires in Latest Propaganda War

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As the death toll of the Hawaiian fires climbs over 110, China sees the tragedy as a great opportunity to take cheap shots at the image of the United States abroad. China is using the developing events as a platform to wage a sophisticated propaganda campaign, claiming that the fires are a result of the US’ inaction on climate change, that the devastation shows that the US prioritizes conflict with China over the care of American citizens, that the US is incompetent and callous, and that root causes of the tragedy include racial and colonialist oppression.

CCP Claim: Fires Caused by US’ Failure to Address Climate Change

China frames the Hawaii fires as a result of the US not addressing climate change. According to Global Times, “[t]his kind of disaster is closely related to climate change but the Biden administration shows limited sincerity in restoring international cooperation to handle climate change issues.” Another Global Times editorial argued that the “vast majority” of the US “is ill-prepared for the disastrous effects of climate change,” and that “it is clear that the US cares little about the climate” given that Biden’s budget plan for fiscal year 2023 called for $45 billion for climate initiatives but $1.77 billion for the Department of Defense. Meanwhile, 20 people died in floods in Beijing and a landslide in northern China killed 24 this month, but I could not find similar criticism in the Chinese media linking these tragedies to the failure of the Chinese government addressing climate change.

CCP Claim: US Prioritizes “Containing” and “Competing” with China Over Saving Its Own People

China also claims that the US is prioritizing conflict with China over caring for US citizens. A Global Timeseditorial noted that the US’ “sluggish and indifferent response to its domestic catastrophic incidents sharply contrasts with its fervent resource mobilization in ‘competition’ with other nations,” and contrasts the US’ “over 800” oversees military bases and far-reaching Indo-Pacific command with its inability to address “domestic disasters.” A China Daily article advised President Biden to take the Camp David summit with South Korea as an opportunity to “explain why his administration can ignore the cries of the US people and focus only on containing other countries’ development.”

CCP Claim: US is Incompetent and Callous

China also argues that the US is being incompetent and unfeeling towards the victims. According to China Daily, the US government’s response was “heartlessly slow” while “people’s fury is smoldering in the ashes.” According to Global Times, citing “analysts” and “experts,” the wildfires “expose the incompetence of the US government” and ”the response of the US government made the US look ‘unlike a developed country.’” The American people, too, are callous: the same article makes the hyperbolic and unsubstantiated claim that “people from other states do not seem to care much what is happening in Hawaii.”

And just as a broken clock is right twice a day, the CCP media uses President Biden as a perfect example of incompetence and callousness. One opinion piece in China Daily stated that:

While the Hawaiians were struggling, US President Joe Biden was on vacation, riding his bike on a beach. What made the US people even angrier was that when asked about the rising death toll from the wildfires, Biden, fresh from sunbathing on the beach, responded nonchalantly: No comment.

Global Times also reported on the President’s “no comment” comment, and the subsequent backlash from it in the United States. The article specifically cited former Hawaii state representative Mark Kaniela Ing, a Democrat who now serves as national director of the Green New Deal Network, as calling the President’s remarks “shocking” and “out of character.” Another China Daily article stated that “[t]he response has drawn widespread criticism, with both Biden fans and critics admitting the answer was ‘extremely poor.’” That article also stated that the Hawaii fires could be “Biden’s ‘Katrina crisis’ moment.”

CCP Claim: Hawaii Fires a Result of Class and Racial Tensions

China uses class and race warfare to explain the root causes of the fires. A Xinhua editorial, citing a native Hawaiian activist, stated that “colonial greed” was a “root of the tragedy” by “drastically changing the ecosystem on the island.” Another contributing factor to the wildfire was “[m]issionary families [who] took over [Hawaii’s] economy and government…,” according to this activist as cited by Xinhua. Xinhua cites another Hawaiian by claiming that “[t]he fires of today are in part due…a history of colonialism in our islands, and the loss of our right to steward our ‘aina and wai’ (land and water).”

Perhaps to detract from bad news cycles of its own, which include recent belligerence towards the Philippinesin the South China Sea, Japan’s growing wariness to China, this week’s US-South Korea-Japan summit at Camp David, and the recent visit of Taiwan’s VP to the United States, China chooses to continue its old propaganda against the United States. But this time, China’s propaganda rings particularly hollow, as it is at the expense of those that have tragically died. Perhaps this will be yet another teachable moment to the US and its allies about the bad faith intentions of China.

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China

New documents show China trying to establish ‘satellite state’ in Caribbean

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China has been “exploiting a fragile security environment and taking advantage of the region’s need for economic investment to gain influence and advance its malign agenda” in a move that challenges U.S. hegemony in the Americas, U.S. Southern Command Comm. General Laura Richardson recently told Congress in written testimony.

The Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, located about 220 miles from the U.S. Virgin Islands, is where China is planning to establish a special Chinese-run economic zone, according to documents reviewed by Newsweek

Just The News  reports that per the documents, the area will have its own customs and immigration facilities, a shipping port and it will even issue passports. China will also establish different kinds of businesses that will specialize in things from facial surgery to virology, the latter of which is closely associated with the research in Wuhan that is the suspected source of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for SOUTHCOM said that the U.S. military is “aware that China may use its commercial and diplomatic presence for military purposes. In Asia, Africa and the Middle East, China has already abused commercial agreements at host-country ports for military aims; our concern is they may do the same in this region.”

More than two-thirds of the 31 nations under SOUTHCOM’s responsibility have signed onto China’s belt-and-road initiative, which is Beijing’s program to lend money to developing nations to use for infrastructure projects, according to Just The News.

Several nations have had problems with repaying such loans, resulting in Beijing seizing the country’s assets. For example, Sri Lanka struggled to pay back Beijing in 2017 and instead signed off the rights to a strategic port, according to Foreign Policy.

Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., a member of the House Oversight Committee proving China’s incursion inside the U.S. sphere of influence, told Just the News on Monday night that Beijing’s aggression in the Caribbean reminded him of the Soviet’s intervention in Fidel Castro’s Cuba more than a half century earlier.

“It reminds me of Russia’s involvement in Cuba, just 220 miles off the shore of the US Virgin Islands. We have Antigua. It used to be considered the United States back yard. Unfortunately, today, it’s China’s front yard,” Burlison told the “Just the News, No Noise television show. “And China has used the united front to enter into loan agreements and contracts to create trade zones within Antigua in order to gain a foothold into the Caribbean.”

“And this is just part of their efforts around the globe, whether it’s in African countries or Laos. They’re they’re creating a network to try to undermine the U.S. dollar and try to end run around some of our tariffs and other programs,” he warned.

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