Discourse Power | August 2, 2022
Unearthing the mysteries of Jewish Discourse Power
Greetings from Jerusalem,
Today's issue of Discourse Power continues to explore antisemitism and racial nationalism in Chinese discourse. For context and caveats regarding the translations that follow, make sure you read Part I: The Racist Rabbit.
Today’s edition also stretches a little longer than usual, so make sure you click the heading above or the "view entire message" link at the bottom.
Thank you for reading,
Part II: Chinese Discussions on Jewish Discourse Power
"We must be determined to resolve the problem of being scolded”
Mao made China "stand up," thus solving its problem of being beaten and humiliated 挨打. China is no longer starving 挨饿 thanks to Deng's economic success. Now it is up to Xi to make China strong so that no one will ever dare to scold it 挨骂 - A crucial overview of the "Three Afflictions" 三挨, courtesy of former vice foreign minister Le Yucheng.
Cited from the Chinese diplomat's keynote speech, delivered on December 5, 2020, at Renmin University of China's 3rd China Think Tank International Influence Forum and 6th Symposium on Creating New Types of Think Tanks.
“Labelling China with ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy is a gross misunderstanding of its statecraft. China has always been a nation of etiquette that values harmony; it has never provoked others or invaded other people's homes.
“Now others have arrogantly marched 耀武扬威 to our doorstep, interfering in our domestic affairs and harping on us 喋喋不休 with insults and smears; we have no alternative but to rise up to defend ourselves and resolutely safeguard our national interests and dignity
“Clearly, the 'wolf warrior diplomacy' framing is just another version of the 'China threat theory,' another 'discourse trap' that prevents us from fighting back and wants us to capitulate. These people probably believe they are still living in the past century.
“People-to-people and country-to-country communications are more important and visible than ever in today's increasingly globalized and well-informed world. And a prerequisite for communication is the ability to express yourself so that others can understand you better.
“Others dubbed us the "yellow peril" and "the sick man of East Asia" in modern history because we couldn't express ourselves well. They continue to defame and demonize China by exploiting the discourse power that they have developed throughout history.
“This demonstrates that despite having made significant progress in terms of expressing ourselves, there is still much work to be done. According to General Secretary Xi Jinping, backwardness will result in a beating, poverty will result in hunger, and those who are at a loss for words will be publicly scolded 落后就要挨打，贫穷就要挨饿，失语就要挨骂.
“We must be determined to resolve the issue of 'being scolded' now that we have resolved the first two problems. This responsibility must be assumed by experts and academics.
“Everyone should get out of the study room more often, go to the media, and speak out about China's culture, China's stories, China's spirit, and China's contributions. Furthermore, China's 1.4 billion population is constantly changing.
“The success of the path of socialism with special Chinese characteristics has provided us with enormous materials to tell the story of China well.” (Guancha)
“Israel had the problem of being scolded...I believe it is worthwhile to learn from their methods and ways...The most difficult challenge we face, however, is that we can’t simply lie with a straight face as they can”
Mr. Li Shaoxian, a nationally renowned Middle East scholar and think-tanker, and Mr. Sima Nan, an online influencer, both agree that the State of Israel is demonizing Iran, only to launch into a 25-minute diatribe demonizing the State of Israel and the Jews in general.
Yu Li (alias Sima Nan) is a Party member and a former government employee, that is no longer affiliated with any party-state body. Nevertheless, his articles and videos are frequently shared on leftist and neo-Maoist websites, some of which are run by Party organizations, and top scholars from the nation's leading institutions are swarming to his door to take advantage of his millions of social media followers.
One such scholar is Li Shaoxian, Director of the Chinese-Arab Research Institute at Ningxia University and one of the country’s leading experts on MENA affairs. For years, Li had served as vice president of CICIR, a top think tank in Beijing affiliated with China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) and overseen by the Party's Central Committee.
Li is also an Executive Director of the China Association for Middle East Studies and a member of the Ministry of Education's Expert Committee on National and Regional Studies. He is a frequent guest on party-state primetime television, and in addition to winning the May 1st Labor Medal for his political achievements, he enjoys the State Council's Special Allowance for Experts.
Following are excerpts from Li’s interview with Sima Nan (Dec. 2020):
Sima Nan: “Iranian top officials, including nuclear scientists, have been targeted in a series of attacks... This type of state terrorism has now been perpetrated against [Iranian nuclear physicist] Moshen Fakhrizadeh.
“The Mossad is being accused by everyone, but what's interesting about Israel is that it keeps quiet about it and maintains a dubious silence in the face of the accusations.
“What we don't understand is how a country like Israel, which portrays itself as a civilized 文明 nation and goes to great lengths to mobilize public opinion to worship 神化 Jews and Israelis, can present itself as a civilized and even aggrieved nation, God's chosen people.
“How is this possible after it has been engaging in state terrorism and political assassinations for so long?..something is off with your character development 人设未免太强了…Let's hear what Mr. Li makes of it.”
Li: "If it had been a different country, there would have been a global uproar (Sima Nan: Totally), but nothing happened here. In addition, I noticed that many Chinese netizens still believe Israel did a good job and that Iran deserved to be attacked. In actuality, I believe it’s because Iran has been demonized 妖魔化 and portrayed as this devil over the years by all parties involved, including Israel, of course.
”I think that most people around the world, including those in our own country, either agree with Israel's actions or don't have strong opinions about them. Surprisingly, they believe that Iran “deserved it” - that it deserved to be attacked and suppressed.
“Many Chinese netizens believe that Iran is developing - or has already developed - nuclear weapons. (Sima Nan: Because Israel keeps peddling this line) But that's not true. Twenty years ago, I heard very authoritative Israeli officials, including Mossad executives, say that Iran would have a bomb in five years. And after another five, ten years, they'd still say, "Iran will have a bomb in five years."
“(Sima Nan: and they'd go over every detail as if it were true 有鼻子有眼) and they'd go over every detail as if it were true.”
Sima Nan: “The truth is that Israel has nuclear weapons that it uses to threaten others... The late [Prime Minister] Ariel Sharon's son [Gilad Sharon] published an op-ed in one of their newspapers [Jerusalem Post] calling to nuke civilians in the Western bank [he didn't]. How can such a “civilized” country say such inhumane things?
Li: “This is due to Western propaganda, including countries such as the US and Israel, which claim that since Iran has cheap energy sources like oil and natural gas, [it makes no sense for it to] forgo developing these natural sources in favor of nuclear energy... They further claim that Iran is in possession of nukes. Needless to say, it has absolutely none, zero.”
Sima Nan: “In addition to engaging in international terrorism and political assassination, they also frame others by fabricating evidence 栽赃陷害 in an effort to sway public opinion around the world.”
Li: “I think that's an excellent point. I've noticed that our media believes Israel is correct in doing so, and that Iran deserves to be sanctioned and assaulted. They primarily justify this by claiming that Iranian nuclear weapons would be catastrophic for humanity; this is totally and utterly baseless.
“It fits into a well-known propaganda narrative, making it extremely effective. That is why the assassination of Fakhrizadeh and similar incidents elicited no sympathy or condemnation.
“When Israel takes such measures, they are not only uncriticized but also praised, with everyone in the world believing that the Mossad is omnipotent. This is incredibly unsettling 可怕.
“In fact, I've always felt strongly that the world is [unjustly] glorifying Israel, the Mossad, and the Jews. I believe there is a very strong force behind this constant worship. Is Israel really that holy? The truth is, if you look closely, you will find that it isn't.
Sima Nan: "There are very few people who expose [their scams] and call them out on their BS [打脸, lit=slaps them in the face]. Everyone appears to have accepted their fairy tales.”
Li: “Nobody calls them out on their BS. I believe there has been a disruptive shift in Chinese public opinion toward Israelis, Jews, and the State of Israel over the last 20 years.
“People need to understand that this was not an easy task to achieve. Why? China has long advocated for the restoration of Palestinian national rights since the 1950s and 1960s. This had long been China’s national policy: everyone is united in support of Palestine.
“However, after China and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1992, Chinese perceptions of Israelis shifted quickly and dramatically. I believe that what is driving all of this - and, of course, Israel has its successes... - is a powerful unnatural 人为 driving force.”
[Here, Sima Nan interjects with a non-sequitur Holocaust inversion, that is, an antisemitic tactic equating current Israeli policy to that of Nazi Germany, or, as he does here, its WW2 allies, the Imperial Japanese Kwantung Army.]
Sima Nan: “I'll just say what I've seen for myself about Israel as a country. When I looked at those settlements, which the UN has repeatedly ordered and demanded to disband in countless resolutions, I saw that they had not only not withdrawn, but had intensified.
“And the way they rule over those people in the West Bank reminded me of my hometown in the northeast and what the Japanese Kwantung Army had done to the Chinese people there a century ago. This is what Israel is currently doing to the Arabs in the West Bank.”
[The video then cuts to a low-budget Chinese documentary showing shirtless “Japanese” soldiers running in formation on a Chinese street in Manchuria.]
Narrator: “Chinese people living in Manchuria under Japanese rule were considered "third-class citizens 三等国民," subject to all forms of injustice and humiliation. When a Chinese person saw a Japanese soldier, he had to stop, salute, and obey any Japanese command. They were not permitted to consume wheat or sugar. Many Chinese children had never eaten a sweat thing ever since they were born."
[Skipping to 22:50. Sima Nan refers to former Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng's speech (see previous entry), in which he stated that China had solved the problems of being beaten and starved, but now needed to solve the problem of being scolded.]
Sima Nan: "In the past, Israel had a similar problem of being scolded 挨骂. They had been derided by many nations around the world. However, they were able to find ways to stop it. I don't think we should get into specifics, but I do believe it is worthwhile to learn from their methods and ways (Li Shaoxian nods in approval and says "correct").
“The most difficult challenge we face, however, is that we can’t simply lie with a straight face as they can.”
Li: “I believe one of the world's biggest and most successful myths is that there is a covenant between the Jews and God and that the Jews are God's chosen people. Many people believe it is a myth, but it appears that after all these years, this myth has gained traction.
“I once used the inappropriate analogy that the Jews were the ones who actually wrote the Bible, which is Judaism. According to our current records, the Bible first appeared after 500 BC. It is similar to our Records of the Grand Historian 史记. I looked it up, and the Records were written around 300 BC.
“In other words, we can draw parallels between the Records and the Bible; the Bible is also a work of history. Like the Records, it straddles the line between history and fiction...Eventually, the Bible took part in creating the world's civilizations.
“And then, to take another example, since modern times, the most common thing that we've all heard is how the Jews are this and that, how there are so many famous Jewish figures in the world, so many Jewish luminaries, shining like stars in the sky, in numbers that far outnumber their proportion of the total population of all mankind; there's nothing they can't do.
“Based on this, I believe we can conclude that the Jewish people, like the Chinese people, are an outstanding nation 民族. I believe they have some redeeming qualities, such as strong regard for education and family, just like the Chinese nation 中华民族. They are also hardworking and brave, among other virtues.
“However, there is a very strong force behind all of this worship. And what exactly is this force? Most likely the world’s Jewish capital.”
Sima Nan: “I once asked an Israeli official about this because he was always complaining about how antisemitic the UK and Germany were. Then he named several other anti-Semitic countries. He was doing this to gain our sympathy for Israel, but it made me wonder: Why are so many countries against you if everything you're doing is so great?
“This is not something that can be explained in a single sentence, but I'd like to suggest one thing: maybe if you cease your political assassination and state terrorism against some rival countries, it will reduce people's suspicion of you to some extent? This is something that our Israeli friends should think about.” (Sima Nan’s Channel)
“Jews constitute only 2% of America’s population, but the Jewish elite controls the lion’s share of society: Capitol Hill, from the White House to Congress, the financial sector via Wall Street, entertainment through Hollywood, new-tech and high-tech in Silicon Valley, and the media”
Professor Ma Xiaolin is the director of the Institute for Studies on the Mediterranean Rim (ISMR) at Zhejiang International Studies University (ZISU) in Hangzhou. Before joining ZISU, Ma spent three decades as a Xinhua News Agency correspondent and news editor covering the Middle East. He receives a State Council allowance and is a frequent guest expert on state-run media. In addition, he is a recipient of the ACFTU's National "May 1st" Labor Medal. (Phoenix TV)
“China has much to learn from Israel and Jewish diaspora about soft power”
What prompted Australia's initial decision to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's capital, Jerusalem (later canceled)? Has the Israeli Foreign Ministry finally made headway after half a century of efforts? Was Australia, perhaps, following in the US's footsteps in accepting that Jerusalem is Israel's de facto and administrative capital?
Nah, according to Beijing-based journalist Wang Xiangwei, a columnist and former editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post (SCMP), it had to be the powerful Jewish lobby that controls Australian foreign policy.
“Warming ties with Israel are not only good for trade and technological cooperation. At a time when China is trying to increase its soft power on the international stage, the Chinese have much to learn from the Israelis.
“The Chinese have shown great admiration for Jews’ business acumen, which they have tried hard to emulate. They seek inspiration from the stories of Jewish contributions to civilization through people such as Albert Einstein and Karl Marx, whose Marxism was revered by the ruling Communist Party.
“And the Chinese can still learn more from Israel, for instance, Israel’s tenacious efforts to transform itself into one of the world’s hi-tech leaders over the past 20 years. In a country with a population of 8 million, about 9 percent of working-age Israelis – or some 300,000 people – are directly employed in such hi-tech industries.
“As China struts towards the center of the international stage, its leaders and people could do much better by emulating Israel and the Jewish people in building up and wielding their influence worldwide.
“Because of its tumultuous history, Israel has a vast diaspora of Jews scattered around the world, which has given Israel considerable influence, particularly in the US. Their lobbying efforts are extensive and powerful but low-key and effective.
“The latest example is that Australia has signaled an intention to move its embassy to Jerusalem, following Washington’s controversial move. Most media reports have focused on the timing. It coincides with a crucial by-election, which, if in favor of the Australian government, would help it maintain its single-seat majority in the House of Representatives. The district for the by-election has a sizeable Jewish community.
“Fewer reports have attempted to explore if the powerful Jewish lobbying efforts are behind Australia’s proposed move. There have been no calls for invoking the foreign interference laws recently passed in Australia to deal with this kind of issue.
"One may argue that Australia’s mainstream media would have cried foul had the country concerned been China. Similarly, China also has a vast diaspora of Chinese around the world but its efforts to project its image, largely through over-the-top propaganda, are crude and ineffective. The fact that it often pressures overseas Chinese to show support for China’s leadership has proved counterproductive.” (SCMP)
“Even though the majority of Jewish Americans are Democrats, they still get Republican support when making decisions that affect them. This is how money talks; cash is king”
Renowned economist and theoretical physicist Chen Ping believes that "there is one thing about the Chinese people that is far behind the Jewish people."
Chen earned his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987 and is now a professor of economics at Peking University's National School of Development. He is also a senior researcher at Fudan University's Center for New Political Economy and a Foreign Member at Columbia University's Center on Capitalism and Society.
His online presence spans millions of followers across a number of social media platforms and is managed by April Media, a PR and news firm that specializes in content management for well-known nationalist academics like Zhang Weiwei and Jin Canrong.
"Jews and Chinese people are both minorities in the US, accounting for only 1% to 2% of the overall population. According to the general principles of democratic politics, these two ethnic groups shouldn't have a voice in the US.
“However, we see the opposite: Jews have tremendous discourse power; any bill involving Jews or Israel in Congress can get almost unanimous support from the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as independent members of Congress, with limited opposition.
”In contrast, bills involving China, such as those on Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, have the opposite outcome, with a nearly universal anti-Chinese sentiment.
"Israel is a little country with tough diplomacy and a clear attitude, namely that it wants to protect the interests of Jews; conversely, China is a large nation with considerable national strength, but many of its statements frequently come across as diplomatically unsatisfactory.
"There is, of course, a conflict between diplomatic demands. Our diplomatic position was very clear during the Mao era: we were the leader of the Third World people, a revolutionary party, and a resolute opponent of imperialism; after reform and opening up, we pursued taoguangyanghui 韬光养晦 foreign policy (keeping a low profile).
“Now the US refuses to let China pursue its taoguangyanghui, while China, on its part, wants now to fenfayouwei 奋发有为 ("strive for achievement,” a Xi phrase). However, I don't believe China has a clear answer to the question of what strategy to pursue at this time.
"Having said that, why do Jews have such a strong presence in American politics? It all comes down to Jewish shrewdness; while Arabs and Japanese are also wealthy and contribute to the US, they are generally less savvy than Jews.
"Despite the fact that the Jewish community is fragmented into many factions, there is a consensus among them. After WWII, Jews desired to form an independent state in the Middle East.
“Israel had to rely on US assistance to survive and live in peace because it was surrounded on all sides by Arab nations with populations more than 100 times larger than its own.
“And how exactly does one go about winning over America? Donations 捐款. The so-called Western democratic politics can also be described as "donation politics 捐款政治". When it comes to money, it all boils down to what's the asking price.
“Despite their fragmented nature, Jewish groups have some very clear and coherent political goals, and they frequently act in harmony, as far as I can tell. That is why, to a greater or lesser extent, all members of both chambers of Congress in the United States receive donations from people of Jewish ancestry.
“Different positions, of course, necessitate different "karats." Members of Congress who chair key committees like the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Armed Services Committee, and the Committee on Appropriations, for example, frequently get millions of dollars in campaign contributions.
“When it comes to major matters, the chairs of these committees will introduce laws in support of Israel and guarantee that they are passed in Congress; if there isn't a vote, they will use other methods and tricks.
"So, if you observe closely, you'll notice one common thread: Even though the majority of Jewish Americans are Democrats, they still get Republican support when making decisions that affect them. This is how money talks; cash is king." (Guancha)
“Through their financial clout and connections, they exert control over the American media, lobby and support American legislators, sway presidential elections and the White House”
Mr. Zhang Guoqing, a research fellow at the Institute of American Studies at the state-run Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and author of books on "media discourse power," identifies the "biological chain" that is pulling America's strings behind the scenes.
Excerpts from Zhang’s article, published in 2013:
“US media wields enormous discourse power both at home and abroad. The support and influence of large corporations and interest groups are particularly visible in this regard.
“As I point out in my recent book Media Discourse Power «媒体话语权», the discourse power of US media is largely an extension of the discourse power of major corporations and interest groups.
“With nearly 1,600 daily newspapers, more than 8,800 radio and 8,900 television stations, and 98% of households owning at least one television set, many people think that the US media landscape is diverse.
“The truth is that six large corporations control more than 90% of US media sector. This high degree of concentration is surprising, and it is what many academics and media professionals in the US fear as a "monopoly in media and communications."
“The development of a strong web of relationships between major corporations and the media is a direct result of this growing monopoly. Any major US media outlet out there almost always owns businesses in key sectors, and there are hardly any major corporations that don’t own at least one key media outlet.
“Interest groups frequently use the news and media to sway public opinion in order to affect the decisions made by the government regarding its foreign policy. They wield a significant impact on American media, public opinion, and even political and economic life.
“Data show that almost 160 countries operate on US soil with support from public relations firms and lobbying groups, through which they build relationships with the media, government, and the general public in an effort to influence American decisions both internally and externally.
“Jewish interest groups are a prime example. Jewish organizations in the US both locally and nationally number around 500. The majority of them have ties to Israel, with Jewish interest groups frequently spearheading extensive lobbying efforts to change US foreign policy, swaying numerous Congress members.
“In addition to their targeted lobbying efforts, Jewish interest groups use the media to influence US domestic and foreign affairs, particularly its foreign policy.
“Their media-targeted campaigns have two main goals: for one thing, coordinating measures regarding key Israel-related issues, and for another, ensuring that Israel enjoys positive coverage.
“As it turns out, the $3 billion in annual US aid to Israel is always approved by Congress thanks to intense lobbying by Jewish interest groups and some US media outlets that support the bill as it is debated.
“This amounts to roughly one-third of total annual US foreign aid, despite the fact that Israel has no more reason than any other country to receive it. Furthermore, the repeated use of the US veto for Israel in the UN Security Council is closely linked to Jewish lobbying and the media's bias in its favor.
“The crux of the problem is that the US mainstream media is in the hands of the Jews 掌控在犹太人手里. This is why the anti-Israel camp's ability to shape the narratives and discourse (public opinion):
“Time Warner, Disney, and Viacom, three of the six major corporations that dominate American media, are all owned by Jews, as are the majority of the senior executives of their subsidiaries;
“all of the major American media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Time magazine, as well as the ABC, CBS, and CNN television networks, are Jewish-owned;
“almost all of the six major Hollywood production companies, Warner Brothers, Universal, MGM, Columbia, Fox, and Paramount, were founded by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and Russia.
“After years of frequent engagement, the media, corporations, interest groups, Congress, and the government have naturally coalesced into a unique biological chain…Wall Street and US major corporations function as the node at the center of this biological chain that operates behind the scenes.
“Through their financial clout and connections, they exert control over the American media, lobby and support American legislators, and sway presidential elections and the White House. The media's negative coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement is largely to blame for its eventual demise.” (April Media)
Playing in the Background
Since we’re in the business of demonizing Iran, here is Tehran-born Israeli superstar Rita Yahan-Farouz singing Sha'a Dumad, a traditional Persian wedding song:
Discourse Power is written by Tuvia Gering, a research fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, a non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global China Hub, and a Tikvah’s Krauthammer Fellow, specializing in Chinese security and foreign policy, and emergency and disaster management. Any views expressed in this newsletter, as well as any errors, are solely those of the author. Follow Tuvia on Twitter @GeringTuvia