On Wednesday, the New York Times ran what can only be described as a hit piece on China. The writer, Carlos Tejada, points to videos released by China’s state media that target children. The subject of the videos? The Belt and Road Initiative, China’s ambitious plan to establish a permanent trade route linking China, Europe and Africa.
“Sometimes ‘Goodnight Moon’ just won’t do the trick,” the piece opens. “So for parents struggling to get their little ones to rest their eyes for the night, China’s state propaganda apparatus has a suggestion: Tell your child about President Xi Jinping’s ambitions to extend China’s political and economic power across Asia and the Middle East.”
Notably, Tejada only mentions to readers that this extension of China’s power will pass through the Middle East — a region that, in these times, tends to conjure thoughts of pissed-off militants and drone strikes. Not once in his piece does Tejada inform readers that a successful “One Belt, One Road” initiative would link Europe and Africa to Asia.
Tejada highlights some of the dialogue from the videos, which are animated clips of a father explaining to his daughter what the Belt and Road Initiative aims to accomplish, then goes on to talk about other videos released by China’s state media — which, as Tejada has already said, he believes to be pure propaganda.
As many among the Anti-Media readership would undoubtedly agree, whenever the corporate media is pointing to something, saying it’s bad, and warning what’s left of its dwindling audience against it, prudence suggests it’s probably a good idea to take a closer look at what’s really happening.
To that effect, let’s take a quick peek at what the Asian media has been reporting on this week regarding the “New Silk Road.” We’ll start with announcements from China’s state-run outlets, since Tejada wishes to discuss government propaganda.
From China Daily on Tuesday:
“China aims to complete a basic cooperation network in science and technology for countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative by 2030, it was announced Tuesday.”
Another from China Daily, which ran Wednesday:
“The Red Cross Society of China has launched a fund to boost humanitarian activities and cooperation in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.”
Another post from that paper, which also ran Wednesday, informed readers that nearly 50 journalists from 22 foreign nations have just arrived in Beijing to attend a week-long event aimed at giving the media a better understanding of the technological side of China’s grand plan:
“Through visits to Xinjiang Software Park and some companies, the journalists are getting a closer look at the development of the AI industry and other industries serving the Belt and Road Initiative in Xinjiang.”
Here’s a sampling from Xinhua News Agency, which is also state-run, on Wednesday:
“Beijing will award scholarships to students from Belt and Road countries studying in 160 programs at universities in the city by 2020, local education authorities said Tuesday.”
As for Asian media outside the range of the Chinese state, on Tuesday the South China Morning Post — which is privately owned and based in Hong Kong — wrote about the geopolitical angles of the new Silk Road plan.
The newspaper reported that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is now willing to give way on sovereignty claims over the South China Sea in exchange for heavy Chinese investment in Filipino infrastructure. Duterte and China’s President Xi are set to hold discussions in a matter of days in the back rooms of the coming Belt and Road economic summit.
And for those such as Tejada, who apparently wants his readers to view the Asian superpower’s leader as a man looking to dominate the globe, consider the opening paragraph from a Reuters report on Wednesday:
“China’s President Xi Jinping initiated the ambitious ‘Belt and Road’ development plan but it has become a world plan not tied to his presidency, the Commerce Ministry said on Wednesday, days before Xi hosts a global forum on the initiative.”
The point is this: If the New York Times and Carlos Tejada are right, and China, with all this Silk Road talk, is really only trying to brainwash its young into believing their leader is some god-like visionary a la Kim Jong-un, then it’s burning a hell of a lot of time, energy, and resources to sell the idea — far more than it takes to stitch together a couple of animated videos.
This article originally appeared at Anti-Media.