Editor’s note for Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A note from the editor of today's SupChina Access newsletter.

My thoughts today:

Ideology and nationalism continue to dominate Chinese government thinking on everything from education to how companies should be run:

  • “Chinese companies should be more patriotic as well as enhancing their ability to expand overseas, as the country strives to make up economic losses caused by the coronavirus epidemic, President Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 said on Tuesday,” according to Reuters.
  • “Four ministries of China’s central government on Tuesday issued a draft regulation (in Chinese) that would require foreign teachers to be taught about the country’s laws and refrain from ‘harming China’s national sovereignty, honor, and public interests,’” reports Sixth Tone.

Meanwhile, China’s all-weather friend Pakistan “has threatened China’s TikTok and blocked the Singapore-based Bigo Live streaming platform, citing what the regulating authority called widespread complaints about ‘immoral, obscene, and vulgar,’” reports the Diplomat. The move seems to be motivated by religious conservatives rather than anti-China political elements, but it is yet another example of how China cannot continue to be a friend to all people, all win-win. Beijing is now a 10,000-pound gorilla, a King Kong of countries. Just like the U.S., China is going to have to learn to deal with the criticism that comes with superpower status.

One of the ways China is trying but failing to deal with global criticism is on Twitter, where diplomats and other Party members and organizations have been trying very hard to tell their stories, but usually failing to connect with foreign internet users. See this excellent roundup on What’s on Weibo for more: The PRC Twitter list: The rise of China on Twitter.

Our word of the day is to use “human rights” as a pretext (以所谓“人权”为借口 yǐ suǒwèi “rénquán” wèi jièkǒu), which is what China’s newest Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Wāng Wénbīn 汪文斌, accused (in Chinese, in English) the U.S. of doing with its newest blacklisting connected with Xinjiang and Uyghur labor.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief