John Ross: Yearend: Bad faith tactics employed by Western media to hype ‘China collapse’ theory lose support among audience


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John Ross: Yearend: Bad faith tactics employed by Western media to hype ‘China collapse’ theory lose support among audience


Source: GT Published: 2023-12-19

Editor's Note:
Launching 'cognitive warfare' against China is an important means for Western anti-China forces to attack and discredit the country in 2023. Some politicians and media outlets in the West have publicly smearing China's image by propagating narratives including 'China's economy collapse theory' in an attempt to incite and provoke dissatisfaction with China. This article is one of a series looking back at China's economic work this year and reveal the intrigues of the US-led West's 'cognitive warfare' targeting China.

When the Chinese economy experienced a challenging time in June and July, with major economic indicators fell below expectations, a chorus of voices pushing the 'China collapse' theory across the Western media reached a frenzied pitch, churning out some of the most sensational and absurd stories of the year in their cognitive warfare against China.

A number of falsehoods have emerged in several highly regarded Western journalistic publications, mobilizing four frequently seen techniques when it comes to smearing and discrediting China's economy. Analysts said such irresponsible reporting has been debunked by facts and dismissed by a sharp-eyed audience.

Foul tactics
Western media outlets have been using double standards, selective reporting, manipulation of statistics and misleading expectations across the year as the Chinese economy experiences both ups and downs on its arduous path to recovery.

When the Chinese economy meets temporary issues in its path toward development, these media outlets issue an outcry that the Chinese economy is 'collapsing' and when the Chinese economy somewhat outperformed expectations in certain sectors, they quickly labeled it as a threat to the global economy.

They blame China as a drag to the global economic recovery and conveniently omitted the US wreaking havoc across global markets with its 'decoupling' and 'de-risking' push targeting China and intervention that impeded global trade. They also excel in arbitrarily choosing data set to 'explain' China's economic performance and hype up unwarranted expectations.

The most typical example appeared in September when the Western media highlighted an empty coffee shop and deserted streets in Shanghai's financial center Lujiazui as a sign that China was on a path to irreversible decline.

Analysts noted the absence of logic in this approach, saying that it kills the essence of journalism and such ignorance and negligence reflected a deep-down impulse by the Western media and establishment to throw whatever they have at China to badmouth the country's growth and development.

John Ross, a senior fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Tuesday that 'they've been writing this [type of story] for more than 30 years.'

'It's always next year, as it never happens. And then when it doesn't happen, they will tell you the Chinese economy will collapse next year,' Ross said.

Ross said there will naturally be various short-term fluctuations when countries emerge from lockdowns... but an isolated case doesn't show anything.

'If you take the four years since the beginning of the COVID pandemic up to the third quarter of 2023, which is the latest available data, China's economy grew 20 percent while the US economy grew 8 percent. That means that China's economy was growing 2.5 times as fast as the US and more than six times as fast as the euro zone,' Ross said.

'It is absolutely absurd to paint the 'China crisis theory' when China's economy is growing at that speed. It shows that those reports have nothing to do with objective analysis, they are just propaganda,' Ross said.

Yet the fact that such falsified claims have repeatedly run into wall of facts has not prevented the Western media from clinging to the belief that their economic model is the only viable model and simply denied to recognize the success of the Chinese economic model, analysts said.

Sadly, such reports have an audience in the West as they correspond to the fact that there is a lack of information about the real China, experts noted.

'This [lack of understanding] is deliberately played upon,' Ross said. 'There is no economy in which there are no problems. But the difference is that China's ones do not affect its overall growth.'

China's economy is expected to see more favorable conditions and more opportunities than challenges in 2024, Office of the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs said over the weekend.

Malicious intents
Analysts said that apart from wishful thinking and ideological prejudice, the Western media's deliberate reports on China always carry a hidden motivation to shepherd international capital and investors away from the Chinese market, as draining such valuable resources away from China will hinder the country's effort to catch up technologically and cultivate new strategic industries.

Some experts even warned of a confluence by some Western media and financial institutions.

In earlier December, US ratings agency Moody's moved to cut its outlook on China's government credit ratings to negative from stable. Chinese analysts pointed out that the move is 'politically biased' and could be a part of US-led campaign to badmouth and smear China's economy, which will prove to be futile as the economy always thrives after surviving challenges.

The great potential of the Chinese economy is beyond all doubt and the US' containment and crackdown did not and will not hinder China's economic growth, according to Tian Yun, a veteran economist based in Beijing.

Rogue journalism
Rogue journalism by the Western media, who often describe themselves as impartial and data driven, has not gone unnoticed by those with insights among their audience.

'I don't think they ever had such values. They proclaim they had such values, but they haven't. The fact is that they report favorably and mix up economics and politics,' Ross said. 'And that sort of inaccurate nonsense went on for decades or even in centuries.'

Ross, who spent a large part of his life advising large companies, said it's likely to lose money for any company that's unwise enough to follow such reports that are 'a simple piece of propaganda, but extremely expensive for the companies that get caught up in such things.'