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March 31, 2021

False Assertions, Misleading Quotes, Fake Sources - How The NYT Writes Anti-China Screeds

This, from yesterday's New York Times, is supposed to be a news piece:

An Alliance of Autocracies? China Wants to Lead a New World Order.

Written by Steven Lee Myers, the NYT's bureau chief in Beijing, the piece is full of false and unsupported assertions. It changes explicit Chinese statements in support of democracy and human rights into the opposite. It is also untruthful about the sources of its quotes:

China hopes to position itself as the main challenger to an international order, led by the United States, that is generally guided by principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to rule of law.

Such a system “does not represent the will of the international community,” China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, told Russia’s, Sergey V. Lavrov, when they met in the southern Chinese city of Guilin.

In a joint statement, they accused the United States of bullying and interference and urged it to “reflect on the damage it has done to global peace and development in recent years.”

There is no evidence and no quote in the piece to support the assertion that the unilateral  "international order, led by the United States" is in fact "guided by principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to rule of law." The wars the U.S. and its allies have waged and wage in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and other countries are, in fact, not in adherence to the rule of international law nor are they executed with respect for human rights or the principles of democracy.

The Wang Yi quote in the second paragraph is taken completely out of context. By placing it after his false assertions the author insinuates that Wang Yi rejected the "principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to rule of law."

Wang Yi did not do that at all. He did in fact the opposite.

Here is the original quote from the report of Wang Yi's meeting with Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov:

Wang Yi said, the so-called "rules-based international order" by a few countries is not clear in its meaning, as it reflects the rules of a few countries and does not represent the will of the international community. We should uphold the universally recognized international law.

The there is the Joint Statement from the Lavrov-Wang Yi meeting which contradicts the New York Times insinuation:

The world has entered a period of high turbulence and rapid change. In this context, we call on the international community to put aside any differences and strengthen mutual understanding and build up cooperation in the interests of global security and geopolitical stability, to contribute to the establishment of a fairer, more democratic and rational multipolar world order.
  1. All human rights are universal, indivisible and interrelated. ...
  2. Democracy is one of the achievements of humanity. ...
  3. International law is an important condition for the further development of humanity. ...
  4. In promoting multilateral cooperation, the international community must adhere to principles such as openness and equality, and a non-ideological approach. ...

The Chinese Foreign Ministry report about the issuance of the above Four Point Statement quotes Wang Yi as saying:

Today, we will issue a joint statement on several issues of current global governance, expounding the essence of major concepts such as human rights, democracy, international order, and multilateralism, reflecting the collective demands of the international community, especially developing countries. We call on all countries to participate in and improve global governance in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and equality, abandon zero-sum mentality and ideological prejudice, stop interfering in the internal affairs of any country, enhance the well-being of people of all countries through dialogue and cooperation, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.

In no way has China rejected human rights, democracy or the rule of law. The New York Times author simply construed that.

The third NYT paragraph quoted above is likewise false. The Joint Statement did not urge the U.S. to “reflect on the damage it has done to global peace and development in recent years.” There is nothing in there that could be construed as such. The U.S. is not even mentioned in the Joint Statement.

The quote the NYT author uses is not from the official Joint Statement, as falsely claimed, but from a Chinese State TV's summarization of a press conference:

Both foreign ministers said that the international community believes that the United States should reflect on the damage it has done to global peace and development in recent years, stop unilateral bullying, stop interfering in other countries' internal affairs, and stop pulling "small circles" to engage in group confrontation.

Unsupported assertions about the motives of the "U.S. led" order, out of context quotes that turn the actual statements by the Chinese foreign minister into their opposite and missattribution of a news summary as a diplomatic statement is something that one would not expect from a news outlet but from a propaganda organ.

That is then, obviously, what the Times has become.

Posted by b on March 31, 2021 at 16:40 UTC | Permalink

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"China hopes to position itself as the main challenger to an international order, led by the United States, that is generally guided by principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to rule of law."

My initial response to that was: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! I had to wait about 20 minutes until I finally stopped laughing before I could even gather my thoughts together enough to even begin to offer a coherent response.

Once I calmed down the first thought that crossed my mind was, "Man, what universe are YOU living in?”

Then I more or less boiled it down to a couple/few possibilities. Either this guy is so completely clueless as to what's going on in the world that he isn't capable of offering any kind of meaningful analysis of anything remotely to do with the subject matter he's covering... in which case he has no business being a journalist… (at least not in this area… maybe he ought to consider going over to the sports section.)

Or he’s so brainwashed by the propaganda his ideological blinders won’t allow him to acknowledge the reality… resulting in a sort of willful ignorance/bad case of cognitive dissonance.

Or he knows what’s going on and is just corrupt… just wants to keep that cushy job with all the perks… with an eye towards advancement in the corporation. And is basically prostituting himself for his filthy thirty pieces of silver. In other words, a professional liar.

There may be some overlap here… but any one, or any combination, of the above doesn’t speak too well for him.

Posted by: Steverino | Apr 2 2021 4:32 utc | 101

A laughable disregard for the truth on display by Steven Lee Myers. Reminds me of Lionel Hutz, the shyster lawyer in The Simpsons...

Posted by: Jimm | Apr 2 2021 19:13 utc | 102

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