'Muckraking Frenzy' Damaging China's Global Interests (Huanqiu, People's
Republic of China)
networking undermining nationalism and patriotism in China? Furthermore, is the
failure of China's government to coordinate with and influence research
institutions and media at the root of the problem? According to this editorial
from China's state-run Huanqiu, nearly
simultaneous charges by cyber-security company Mandiant
and the White House that China's military is mounting hacking attacks on U.S. institutions
show that when it comes to stage-managing apparently 'independent' media, NGOs
and research institutions in confronting the nation's adversaries, America's government
does a much better job than China's.
According to U.S. cyber research company Mandiant, this nondescript Shanghai building houses 'Unit 61398', a secretive Chinese military unit that has been hacking U.S. enterprises and governemnt agencies. Beijing denies the charges, but admires what it sees as a well-coordinated public relations attack by Mandiant and the White House.
On Feb. 20, the White
House issued a 141-page strategy paper outlining strict measures aimed at cracking
down on the growing problem of international theft of U.S. trade secrets. The report was
published after U.S. cyber-security company Mandiant accused the Chinese military of participating
in hacking attacks on U.S. networks. Although the White House paper doesn't
focus on any particular country, U.S. media report that China is the primary
This is another outstanding example of the U.S. government
and non-governmental organizations joining forces to target China. In its
18th report, Mandiant offered a detailed
"behind the scenes" description of the so-called attacks by the Chinese
military, and just two days later, the White House came out with a similar
report. Does this seem like a coincidence?
The apparent coordination among U.S. non-governmental organizations,
media, and government came as something of a surprise. In the United States,
research institutions are said to be "free" and the media completely "ndependent."
Yet this time, it appears that public institutions have been carefully stage-managed
to pave the way for government policies. In the name of American national
interests, the U.S. government and related agencies are writing and directing
these theatrical productions aimed at powers like China, with the stage filled
Perhaps we shouldn't criticize this cooperation of forces in
the U.S. There is nothing wrong in people uniting to safeguard from, what their
point of view, is the national interest. But it is a lesson China should learn
Can today's China do what the United States has done here, uniting
government agencies and public institutions in a diplomatic dispute? Probably
not. Chinese authorities lack experience interacting with the public,
especially media, when formulating major policies. China's government sector almost
never takes the initiative to reveal sensitive information to the media. When
disputes with foreign countries occur, initial reports come almost entirely
At the moment, Chinese media, particularly the Internet,
lacks any clear-cut safeguards for China's national interests. Many people, in
the midst of a "muckraking frenzy," damage confidence in the
government and public officials, which also reduces support for China's
government during foreign disputes. Even patriotism is questioned and mocked,
and among some circles, "universal values" have become fashionable. Particularly
when it comes to the problem of cyber security, China's people are split, and
some even support the position of the United States and the West.
In fact, because of the lack of cooperation between official
and public agencies as exists in the West, China acts clumsily in its disputes
with outside parties. To guard the national interest, China relies primarily in
hard power, and doesn't know where to begin when it comes to soft power. In
China there are 1.3 billion voices debating incessantly, and when there is
friction with the United States, China mainly relies on fragmented official statements
and diplomatic cliché. Meanwhile, the Chinese public only has access to tidbits
of information and acts as onlookers.
This is a situation that has to change, otherwise China
risks being mocked on the global stage as a dim-witted giant. Western verbal
attacks not only damage China's international image, but the embarrassment and
humiliation could undermine the confidence of Chinese society, and cause some
people to question the credibility of the government's domestic policy.
Posted By Worldmeets.US
Key government agencies must change their way of thinking in
order to mobilize the public to cooperate with the formulation of government policies,
struggles with foreign entities and decision-making. The government must be
more collaborative about mobilizing social forces to maintain enthusiasm for Chinese
national interests and create fresh opportunities to put patriotism into
practice. When important issues arise, informed and experienced officials must
foster the cooperation of the people and united people across the country.
China's opening up to the world is comprehensive, and some
government departments simply cannot cope with conflicts with other countries
and the unpredictable nature of such situations. Without encouraging Chinese social
forces to engage in widespread mass communication with the world, China's voice
during this critically-important time will not be heard.