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Chinese state-run media mocks US over Capitol storming, says ‘democracy doesn’t work’

Demonstrators on Capitol Hill, Jan. 6, 2021. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
January 12, 2021

China’s state-run Global Times criticized U.S. democracy after demonstrators pushed their way into the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. One opinion writer wrote the incident “fully demonstrates that the US democracy to some extent doesn’t work the way it used to.”

On Thursday, opinion author Zhang Tengjun wrote, “Even though the US has boasted itself as a beacon of democracy, it has never been a paradigm of global democracy.”

Referring particularly to President Donald Trump’s time in office, Zhang wrote, “The US political system has many problems, most of which have exploded since Trump took office. By virtue of his power, Trump has vandalized the US democratic system. This demonstrates that the US system is very fragile.”

Zhang went on to write, “The US is deeply divided right now, with severe racial and partisan rivalries. If these cannot be properly mended, it will end with conflicts. Against this background, the turmoil on Wednesday might not be viewed as surprising, to some extent.”

Zhang then questioned whether the U.S. could even complete the transition of power between Trump and President-elect Joe Biden.

“Under such circumstances, it remains unknown if power can be smoothly transferred on January 20 and whether Biden can successfully be sworn in,” Zhang wrote.

In a separate opinion article Monday, Global Times Editor-In-Chief Hu Xijin wrote, “The US has really blown it, not just the Trump administration, but the whole of the US. Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, which was shocking. Social media platforms including Twitter suspended Trump’s account, and triggered controversies over freedom of speech. This is more shocking. Trump’s followers gathered on social networking platform Parler, which was later banned by three US internet giants. This is especially shocking.”

Xijin added, “The US is gradually doing exactly the same thing it once condemned what other countries did. It will be hard to dress itself as a global beacon of democracy again.”

Global Times also responded to comparisons being made on social media between the demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol and protesters who stormed Hong Kong’s Legislative Council building in July of 2019, in opposition to a proposed bill that would have allowed Hong Kongers to be extradited to mainland China for prosecution.

Global Times criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for calling protests in Hong Kong “a beautiful sight to behold,” in a set of June 2019 comments, over a week before demonstrators broke into Hong Kong’s legislative council and clashed with police.

On Wednesday, Global Times tweeted, “.@SpeakerPelosi once referred to the Hong Kong riots as ‘a beautiful sight to behold’ — it remains yet to be seen whether she will say the same about the recent developments in Capitol Hill.”

The Global Times tweet included photos of demonstrators in Hong Kong and comments by Pelosi and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the Hong Kong demonstrations, alongside photos and their same comments about the demonstrations at the Capitol on Wednesday.

China and Chinese media have regularly directed criticism at U.S. democracy and U.S. institutions in recent months. In April, amid the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, the Global Times wrote that the U.S. system of federalism slowed its virus response and “some believe that American democracy is dying,” as a result. In October, China led a delegation of nations at the U.N. that signed a statement accusing the U.S. of “systematic racial discrimination and violence” over police interactions with black Americans such as George Floyd and Jacob Blake.