'Iconic humiliation', 'internal collapse': Chinese media hits out at US over Capitol violence

The Global Times described the storming of the Capitol using a Chinese term referring to a ruler’s subordinates coming to his rescue when his authority is threatened

FP Staff January 08, 2021 23:25:00 IST
'Iconic humiliation', 'internal collapse': Chinese media hits out at US over Capitol violence

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the US Capitol on Wednesday. AP

Shortly after supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to overturn election results, China criticised the "sharp contrast" between Washington's response to the chaos and how it criticised the 2019 Hong Kong anti-government protests.

Communist Party-run Global Times said in an editorial that the US’ “double standards are rampant”. "In Hong Kong, violent actions are described as a 'beautiful sight’, in the US, people involved in this chaos are called ‘mobs’.” The newspaper reported that “words like ‘karma’, ‘retribution' and ‘deserving’ were frequently mentioned in Chinese netizens’ comments”.

The protests "had pricked the beautiful bubble of the universal values shaped by the US”, Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University, told the newspaper. "The 'beacon of democracy' is falling down, or at least becomes gloomy. It might be too early to declare the 'twilight of the gods' in the US, but that day is coming closer and closer,” he added.

On the front page of the Global Times’ Chinese website, articles were accompanied with headlines such as “An iconic humiliation! The madness of the Capitol [incident] has dragged the US’s standing [as a democracy] into its Waterloo!”

The Global Times described the riots as a sign of “internal collapse” that could not easily be reversed. “As time goes by and with abuses of resources by generations of politicians, the US political system has degraded,” the paper said, adding that such politicians “deserve chaos, violence”.

“The unprecedented mob in the Capitol, a symbol of the US system, is the result of the US society’s severe division and the country’s failure to control such division,” it said.

The Global Times described the latest scenes in Washington using a Chinese term referring to a ruler’s subordinates coming to his rescue when his authority is threatened. “This is likely Trump’s closing performance to the world,” blogger Buyidao wrote in an article shared by the newspaper. “Thankfully, Chinese people can watch this drama in a relaxed mood.”

The state-run tabloid also tweeted side-by-side photo comparisons of Hong Kong protesters occupying the city's Legislative Council Complex in July 2019 with the Washington riots on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the China Daily newspaper said Trump’s “narrow nationalism” had taken a toll on the US. “If the Biden administration can draw lessons from the ‘darkest day’ in US history, the pain the country experienced these days may come to be viewed as growing pains,” it said.

“The violence and chaos that have erupted in the US over the past year show what happens when a country’s leaders lose touch with reality,” it added.

State broadcaster CCTV used the crisis to lambast the US political system, saying "the figleaf of so-called American democracy has been torn clean off". "The United States, which has always promoted democracy and human rights, is now the country of riots, conflicts and curfews," it said.

The Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection ran a commentary by political columnist Lan Linzong, saying that the US image as a “beacon of democracy and freedom” has been shattered. “This ‘beautiful sight’ is just one of many outbreaks resulting from deep-rooted internal conflicts in America,” she wrote.

Beijing's foreign ministry echoed those sentiments, saying "the reaction of some people in the US, including that of some media outlets, is completely different”. Speaking at a press briefing Thursday, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the "sharp contrast (in reactions) makes one ponder, and deserves serious and profound reflection."

“We hope that the American people can enjoy peace, stability and security as soon as possible,” Chunying was cited in state media.

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