China may be big, but it’s just like a giant panda minding its own business, according to the country’s foreign ministry.
The metaphor came in response to two recent articles from Western media outlets, which argued that fears of China’s growing power have crossed over to the paranoid.
In his article, Zakaria articulated how China, despite being a one-party state, “hardly qualifies as a mortal danger” to the “imperfect” liberal international order, which the United States has worked to achieve since the aftermath of World War II.
Meanwhile, Curran shed light on how Australia is caught between China’s “increasingly aggressive” position toward exceptionalism and America’s weakening credibility in Asia, which ultimately resulted in Canberra’s strategic anxiety “stepping into the world of paranoia.”
At a regular press conference in Beijing on Thursday, ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that she had read both articles, which she also praised on Twitter for their “objectiveness.”
“Indeed, some politicians and media in western countries seem to be plagued by ‘China phobia and paranoia,’ which is manifested as backlash against China on all fronts,” Hua told reporters. “They slander and smear China in every possible way, confuse right with wrong and have lost their moral compass and conscience.”
The spokesperson went on to highlight China’s peaceful foreign policy. “We have not initiated wars, interfered in others’ internal affairs, occupied a single inch of other countries’ territory, or violated international rules and order. We are open and aboveboard in our policies and actions. We are just living a better and better life through our own efforts,” she said.
Hua also pointed out the country’s resilience in dealing with threats, asserting that it only fights the necessary battles in pursuit of equality and dignity.
“When China’s sovereignty and security are threatened or infringed upon, we have shown greater ability and confidence to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests. When others throw dirt on us, we are now able to wipe it off more swiftly and effectively. We fight the necessary battles just to win the equality and dignity we deserve,” the spokesperson said.
Finally, Hua likened China to its national animal, the giant panda.
“China is big, but its size has nothing to do with threat. A giant panda is big, but is it more dangerous than a bald eagle? And the ‘Kung Fu Panda’ is adored by all as it is an amicable friend and justice defender.”
In a Twitter post, Hua expressed appreciation for Zakaria and Curran’s “vision and objectiveness,” reiterating that “big doesn’t mean threat.”
“[The] ONLY THERAPY for dangerous #Chinaphobia: Openness & Inclusiveness,” she added.
Appreciate #JamesCurran & @FareedZakaria vision & objectiveness. Big doesn’t mean threat. Giant panda more dangerous than bald eagle? KungFu Panda adored by all. ONLY THERAPY for dangerous #Chinaphobia: Openness & Inclusiveness.https://t.co/iJ41tLWSZShttps://t.co/CyhCC2a9Gn pic.twitter.com/esgShCrUmj
— Spokesperson发言人办公室 (@MFA_China) December 12, 2019
The tweet drew mixed reactions from users:
USA invades for decades!
every one knows who love peace!
who creates wars!
DNA proof, historically proved,
USA even can’t say a better lie!
pretty lousy even in English!
— Omega In Heaven Sky (@SKY__OMEGA) December 12, 2019
How are you allowed on Twitter while the Chinese people are not because you suppress # their freedoms? Double standards 🤮
— StandWithHK 😷 (@expat219) December 13, 2019
Really? China is like panda? I don’t think panda shoot guns and throw tear gases at her babies. #StandWithHK
— BeCalm (@livenow1419) December 12, 2019
Big doesn’t necessarily mean threat, but cruelty surely does.
— Akira Wang (@realWhatTheFuck) December 12, 2019
A panda is less dangerous than an eagle, but a nuclear-armed tyrannical dictatorship that ruthlessly murders its own people in #Tiananmen, #Tibet, #EastTurkistan, #HongKong, and denies that #Taiwan is an independent country is surely the greatest threat humanity faces.
— Chinazi4ever #手足互科 (@chinazi4ever) December 12, 2019