China’s two decades of dominant economic growth for the past two decades has been nothing but a miracle. As China continues to move towards centre stage in the global community, the CCP has taken an active stance towards improving their global image. While the country enjoys its newfound wealth, it has also helped the government develop an arrogance, fueling a disillusion over China’s assertive position in the world. However, if China is to ever make amends with the global community, Chinese senior leaders will have to check their egos at the door.
In his recent visit to Ottawa, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi lost his temper at a press conference, when asked by a Canadian journalist about China’s records on human rights and the detention of Canadian missionary Kevin Garratt.
Wang scolded at the Canadian journalist for raising the “irresponsible questions” as he waved his pen and expressed his anger:
“Have you been to China? Do you know China has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty and do you know China is now the second-largest economy in the world… Do you think development is possible for China without protection of human rights?”
"Your question is full of prejudice and arrogance against China. ... I don't know where that comes from. This is totally unacceptable," Mr Wang said through a translator.
Apparently, the journalist’s question pushed the buttons of the senior leader of a country with an abysmal human rights record, but asking tough questions and challenging the government’s wrong doing are part of the journalists’ job functions in a democratic society that values freedom of speech.
Wang’s agitated reaction is hardly surprising. The Chinese government’s actions have never been put under such a scrutiny by journalists in his home country, where media has totally lost its independence and become the government propaganda tool. Earlier this year, Chinese president Xi Jinping made a rare visit to the country’s top three state-run media outlets, demanding newsrooms’ absolute loyalty to the Communist Party and obedience to the government’s leadership.
Media with placard pledging loyalty would only add to a burgeoning supremacy and arrogance of the Chinese government, encouraging an egotistic belief that, under their strengthening power, China has once again become the “Middle Kingdom,” occupying a central position in the world and demanding global deference. It seems that they have abandoned Chinese virtues of modesty altogether, and are increasingly less willing to play gentle on the global stage.
Wang’s lashing out comes a year after an incident during President’ Xi Jinping’s state visit to Britain that once again, demonstrated Chinese senior leaders’ particular arrogance. London Metropolitan police commander D’Orsi claimed that at one point Chinese officials “walked out” on both her and the British ambassador, telling her “that the trip was off”. The behaviour was criticized by the British Monarchy as “very rude”.
In fact, the arrogance has revealed Chinese government’s profound feeling of insecurity and uncertainty – domestically and internationally. Amid the economic slowdown and following the stock market crash, the Chinese government has increasingly lost its confidence on its political dominance, adopting an assertive posture to hide their vulnerability. Insecurity might be a good explanation of Chinese senior leaders’ arrogance and an accurate description of their characters at the moment.
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