When I was a boy, Communists were communists and Americans were free traders. I would not have imagined the Chinese Communist Party’s house organ, the People’s Daily, lecturing the United States on being a “spoiler” of economic globalization while calling Beijing its staunch defender.
But here we are. I should be used to it by now, but I still find myself shaking my head in amazement. The People’s Daily’s top story today is: Don’t let momentary difficulties blind your sight — Economic globalization is unstoppable (in Chinese). The piece is a full throated defence of free trade — at least by China’s definition of it. It begins like this:
In the 21st century, economic globalization has leaped forward, and free trade has shot ahead like a meteor, bringing global economic prosperity, a surge in wealth, and general improvement in people’s lives. However, current U.S. trade protectionism and the rise of unilateralism have provoked trade frictions with many countries, such as China…
The pseudonymous author of the piece is Zhōng Xuānlǐ 钟轩理, an exact homophone for 中宣理 — or “Central Party Propaganda Department commentary” — so we can expect this argument to be repeated by commercial and state media across China.