China trumpets popular narrative that 'the East is rising & the West is declining'

China has succeeded in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic is the common message.

Kayla Wong | March 11, 2021, 02:15 PM

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China's parliamentary sessions, its largest annual political gathering, is coming to a close.

They opened on Mar. 4 and will end on Mar. 11.

In these meetings, the narrative that the East is rising and the West is declining is often repeated by Chinese officials.

China riding out global challenges that the West has difficulties with

In lauding the country's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, Zhang Chunxian, the former party boss of Xinjiang, claimed that since no country was spared from this "major test", the trend that "the East is rising while the West is declining has become very obvious", South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported, citing a briefing summary.

He further highlighted the growing competition between China and the United States, saying that "the phenomenon of China advancing and the U.S. retreating has also been conspicuous".

In addition, he brought up a French media report that claimed that China's average life expectancy would soon overtake the U.S.'

Chinese President Xi Jinping also stressed the superiority of China when it came to controlling the pandemic, telling officials that the country had succeeded in doing so, and that its young people can now "stand tall and feel proud" when they go overseas, unlike in the past.

Back in January, Chen Yixin, a senior law enforcement official close to Xi, reiterated that "the East is rising, and the West is declining", adding that international developments at the moment are "favourable" to China, the Wall Street Journal reported.

China promoting itself & hitting back at criticisms

In response to criticisms that it has covered up the severity of the pandemic when it first broke out in end-2019, China has since defended itself by offering alternative theories of the origins of the virus, and launching mask and vaccine diplomatic offensives.

These efforts often emphasise China's superiority over the efforts in other countries.

For instance, in promoting its own vaccines, China often questioned the efficacy of other foreign-made vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna shots.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, known for his assertive social media posts, retweeted two posts by CGTN anchor Liu Xin, who asked why Western media has yet to "follow up" on the deaths of elderly people in Germany and Norway who received the Pfizer jabs.

Zhong Nanshan, China's SARS hero, had also criticised Pfizer and Modern's clinical trials as "very insufficient", and praising China's vaccines that were "developed with rigour", The Washington Post reported.

Top image via Kevin Frayer/Getty Images