What outsiders have failed to highlight is that the propaganda apparatus and MoFA are independent of each other in the Chinese system. They're 2 departments reporting to different leaders
But the fact is that Chinese propaganda and messaging has been effectively hijacked by MoFA
The propaganda apparatus has effectively ceded its own jurisdiction to MoFA - subjecting state media to the narratives of MoFA, especially the Spoxperson's Office represented by Zhao Lijian.

Nobody knows if it's a purposeful arrangement, but my personal guess is it isn't.
The unwritten rule is that you must not openly criticize others in the system, however horrendous and terrible they are. You must not speak up against one of your own.
This is not limited to China of course. When did you see Treasury criticize DoD or State, for example?
That in China leads to whatever Zhao Lijian, spokesperson and MoFA says will not get public criticism from media, experts, and many wiser minds in the system.
Nobody will do that, unless they want to commit career suicide.
Meanwhile, there is this tradition in PRC that 外交无小事 and 外交=大局, which basically means that there is this assumption that whatever comes out of MoFA is seen in and outside the system represents some higher power - higher than, say, an ordinary Ministry like Education
Adding to that, MoFA traditionally has big sway over the Chinese propaganda apparatus ON EXTERNAL MATTERS.
But everyone knows MoFA especially spoxperson's office has been pretending to speak to a foreign audience on external matters whereas in fact they have been speaking to domestic audience and fanning nationalist sentiments. Plus the general atmosphere is bad already on nationalism
So if you put all that together, MoFA Spoxperson will not be challenged, they traditionally influence state media's narrative on foreign affairs, and now they effectively use foreign matters as an excuse to talk to the domestic audience.
What do you have here?
What you have now is a MoFA that supposedly should conduct foreign affairs is now the biggest megaphone on the domestic discourse.
It has de facto power to set agenda, it has immunity from criticism, and it is unregulated by the Department of Propaganda.
With or without itself knowing, the Department of Propaganda has effectively abandoned its own jurisdiction/power/work and has let MoFA in on the domestic discouse.
This is unprecedented in the PRC history or any other country's history: having a ministry supposedly dedicated to foreign affairs now wielding the biggest megaphone in the domestic discouse.
This is abnormal. This is not good. This should not happen.
Report and anlaysis out there haven't properly separated - they should - MoFA and the propaganda apparatus (state media).
so every time you hear about 大外宣 big external propaganda you need to ask this question: who are we talking about here? are we talking about MoFA as well?
Restoring China's external messaging/image, supposedly the message from the May 31 group seminar, can not and must not rely solely on any changes or perfections to propaganda apparatus.
One root cause is MoFA which has been the de facto leader, and others were just following it.
Westerners haven't appreciated this: when you talk about Chinese propaganda/messaging, you guys have been counting MoFA as one part.

But when it's in the Chinese context and when Chinese talk about propaganda/messaging/media, the underlying assumption is MoFA is not part of it.
there are two ways out now:
1) the propaganda apparatus suddenly grows its own balls and wisdom to no longer follow MoFA blindly - if not countering it with its own means, even if not in public.
2) somebody very very high enough intervenes - a devine intervention.

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More from @itrulyknownchi1

10 Jun
When you look at certain behavior from somebody or some organization from China, the 1st Q you gotta ask is: who is this? who is his supervisor? which Party/state organ does he belong to? Is his supervisor or organ TRULY the one you think?

Consider this Weibo post which caused int'l pushback and condemnation: who published it? the piece describes it as "a news service of the ruling party’s powerful law-and-order commission."
It's good enough, and since this is an NYT
news report which doesn't have enough space to elaborate, the description is totally fine and acceptable.
However, a really good expert should ask: what's different about this "news service" from China's numerous other news media?
A short answer is they have different Daddies
Read 20 tweets
8 Jun
.@IsraelinChina meet 卢克文 Lu Kewen, one of China's most popular WeChat blogger

Lu published hate-spewing anti-Jew near-Nazi rhetoric on May 29 mp.weixin.qq.com/s/CRemOpfC_0ZH…
and then got invited to International Finance Forum 2021 next week to give a speech mp.weixin.qq.com/s/0nBCY-O6NLOR…
"In fact, the Jews have done a lot of disgusting things in fact, it can be said that in order to earn money, there has been no lower limit."
@IsraelinChina check out this anti-Jew garbage
"The Jews will tell you how badly they were killed by Hitler, but no one ever tells you that 560,000 Jews in Germany at that time, accounting for 1.5% of the total population of Germany, occupied the key sectors of German livelihood and accounted for 1/16th of the total wealth"
Read 15 tweets
8 Jun
I have no idea what contributes to Peter Hessler 何伟 apparently being forced to leave China. But I suspect this article from 林一五 Lin Yiwu (not sure if it's real name or fake) is the cause. This is in recent months the most high-profile and widely-read attack on Hessler
The link to Guancha.cn 观察者网, the Chinese equivalent to Breitbart, which first published the attack against Peter Hessler 何伟 guancha.cn/linyiwu/2021_0…

The link to the personal WeChat blog of the author of the attack, 林一五 mp.weixin.qq.com/s/uSbYJfSNMTMa…
According to 林一五 Lin Yiwu's self-introduction, he studied 法哲学 Philosophy of law for a few years and then spent a few years being a lawyer in Beijing's CBD and the London City.
Read 10 tweets
8 Jun
Notorious nationalists including 孤烟暮蝉 and 地瓜熊老六, each with 6m followers on Weibo respectively, have initiated public political persecution against female writing talent Jiang Fangzhou 蒋方舟 because she participated in a Japan govt-funded exchange program a decade ago.
and these notorious nationalists have since expanded their targets to many other Chinese intellectuals including PKU Prof. He Weifang, law professor He Bing, TV commentator Ma Licheng, etc. who participated in the Japan govt-funded exchange.

They are creating atmosphere of FEAR.
Their logic is simple and stupid: whoever participated in these foreign govt-funded exchange programs are 汉奸 traitors to the Chinese nation.
It is certainly not true. But it is effectively in their nationalist circle, which has dominated Weibo, Wechat, and other social media.
Read 11 tweets
8 Jun
It is crystally clear that Zhao Lijian and the entire spokesperson's office - and even the entire MoFA - has been working solo on its rebuke of the lab leak theories.

All their statements are recycled from the internet rather than professionals with knowledge and wisdom.

It's apparent Zhao and the spokesperson's office hasn't received any help from, say, China CDC or medical experts. From the outside, it's impossible to know which is true: they never bothered to ask for advice, or they asked but can't get any.

It's also apparent & acutely interesting, something that China correspondents and watchers have yet to write about, that no serious Chinese scientists or doctors have spoken in support of Zhao's and MoFA's and Chinese state media's narrative on Fort Detrick and other rubbish.

Read 14 tweets

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