Rigid Thinking Beggars China's Soft Power

In recent weeks, China has emitted glints of intensifying anti-Western xenophobia. Last week, following the announcement of a three-month crackdown on foreigners without valid visas, CCTV anchor Yang Rui (杨锐) encouraged police to “clean out the foreign garbage”. Yang seemed to revel in China’s recent decision to expel Al Jazeera reporter Melissa Chan (“that foreign shrew,” he called her), the first case since 1998 of a foreign journalist kicked out of China. Like the last wave of populist anti-Western sentiment to hit China back in 2008 (remember the “Cafferty Affair” and the controversy over the Olympic torch relay?), these recent remarks — including a number of editorials in state media — stem from a foundational sense of victimization at the hands of the West. And Western media, once again, are bearing the brunt of the attack.

Politics, Society