China’s state-run Global Times on Wednesday published an op-ed praising President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and dismissing his critics as globalist fanatics.
This was, to put it mildly, a bit different from Chinese media’s coverage of the Trump administration in general, and the current wave of riots in particular.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) usually takes pains to portray itself as the champion of globalism and it has used the riots to attack the Trump administration from every conceivable angle, including the impressive stretch of comparing the U.S. blacklisting of Chinese mega-corporations to the death of George Floyd.
On Wednesday, however, the Global Times ran an op-ed by author Mario Cavolo, a senior fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, which describes itself as a “leading Chinese non-government think tank based in Beijing.” Unlike most previous CCP editorials, this one was not terribly friendly to the looters and rioters, although Cavolo took pains to acknowledge that many are “rightfully aggrieved with yet another black man senselessly murdered in cold blood.”
The meat of Cavolo’s argument was that President Trump is right about the importance of strong borders and national sovereignty, and about the importance of individual civic responsibility over collective accusations of racial guilt:
President Trump is a populist and aggressive president, even if sometimes he offers proper presidential messages to the citizens and to the world. For example, it is easy for many to agree that a strong country needs a strong border and other laws to protect its society and its sovereignty.
Pure, open border fanatical globalists might disagree, but the majority agrees. Unfortunately, in Trump’s unique efforts to “drain the swamp”, he also runs his mouth in a Twitter feed that is often no better than a gossipy soap opera drama. It is surely not worthy of the president of the country, of any country.
We must see past these weaknesses at this very moment to understand though that President Trump is correct: that two wrongs don’t make a right, that individual responsibility to society is part of your civic duty as a citizen no matter what. In other words, he is 100 percent right that looting, that violence, destruction of property, assault of other citizens; each of these is a crime in and of itself without justification, without relation to the crime of George Floyd’s death.
Cavolo postulated that the real problem underlying today’s unrest is the “long-term and steadily increasing deterioration of the middle class, the increasing wealth gap, the inability for a lower middle income family to obtain reasonable healthcare,” all of which were exacerbated by the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and its attendant lockdowns.
“This is happening for the overarching reason that the U.S. has steadily and definitively lost its primacy over the past 10 years as the world’s superpower and as the world’s respected leader. There is no joy in writing about this, there should be no mockery. The rules of engagement apply to each and every one of us. Two wrongs don’t make a right,” he concluded, offering up a finale that should please the Global Times editors more than his indictment of globalism. Regular consumers of Chinese state media can be forgiven for detecting just a little bit of joy in its constant epitaphs for the American Century.
China’s lusty embrace of “globalism” is entirely hypocritical, of course. The CCP absolutely insists on China’s sovereignty, tight borders, trade barriers, and privileges to violate the rules of transnational organizations whenever it sees fit, on every issue from human rights to trade and climate change. Good luck getting Beijing to recognize an international court ruling or vitally important protocol it deems inconvenient to its ambitions. The Chinese would respond to a massive, organized effort to overwhelm their borders with a hail of bullets and artillery shells. They do not even pretend they have some global responsibility to take in refugees and give them citizenship rights.
International organizations know that China is completely hypocritical about “globalism,” and they know they must quietly tolerate Beijing’s hypocrisy if they want China to participate in their activities, donate money, or allow them to operate on Chinese soil. This is why, to take a very notable recent example, the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) quietly seethed about China withholding vital coronavirus data while publicly thanking Beijing for its full cooperation. As leaked W.H.O. documents and emails have now made public, its officials decided that indulging China’s secrecy and lies was required for getting any cooperation from the CCP at all.