The Biden administration's new direction on China

The new administration is nominating people who have a more positive view of Communist China.

In 2019, Anita Dunn was hired by the Biden campaign as a senior adviser on communications strategy.  In September 2020, Dunn was made co-chair of the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Team.  She had been a top adviser in the Obama administration when she was forced to resign after comments she made about Mao Tse-tung.  In 2009, speaking to high school students in Maryland, she remarked that Mao was one of her two favorite political philosophers.  She commented, "In 1947, when Mao Tse-tung was being challenged within his own party, on his plan to basically take China over, Chiang Kai-shek and the nationalist Chinese held the cities, they had the army, they had the air force, they had everything on their side, and people said, 'How can you win?  How can you do this?  How can you do this against all odds against you?'  And Mao Tse-tung said, 'You fight your war, and I'll fight mine.'  Think about that for a second.  You don't have to accept the definition of how to do things, and you dont have to follow other people's choices in the past."

Biden nominated Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who served as the assistant secretary of state for African affairs in the United States Department of State's Bureau of African Affairs from 2013 to 2017, to be the next United States ambassador to the United Nations.  She has been criticized for praising Communist China during a 2019 speech at the CCP-funded Confucius Institute in Savannah, Georgia.  She praised China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for the "rollout of critical projects in Africa," including ports in Djibouti and major railways in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ethiopia.  She also criticized the Trump administration's approach to Chinese investment in Africa, which she described as a "battleground for great power competition rather than engagement with African leaders."  She believes that a "win-win situation" is possible if China and the U.S. can come together over "shared values of peace, prosperity, sustained economic growth and development, and a firm commitment to good governance, gender equity."  She added, "In fact, China is in a unique position to spread these ideals given its strong footprint on the continent."  Perhaps she had not heard what former president of Zambia Michael Sata said in a rare moment of honesty: "We want the Chinese to leave and the old colonial rulers to return.  They exploited our natural resources, too, but at least they took good care of us.  They built schools, taught us their language, and brought us the British civilization[.] ... [A]t least Western capitalism has a human face; the Chinese are only out to exploit us."

Thomas-Greenfield reportedly received a $1,500 honorarium from Savannah State University for her speech.  The following year, Savannah State closed its Confucius Institute chapter after the State Department labeled the organization a "foreign mission" operating on behalf of the Chinese government.  Congress had passed bipartisan legislation claiming that the CCP used Confucius Institutes for propaganda and espionage.  During her confirmation hearing, Thomas-Greenfield expressed regret over her speech and stated, "I am not at all naïve about what the Chinese are doing."

Anita Dunn and Linda Thomas-Greenfield are just two of the many Biden administration officials who have a sympathetic view of Communist China.  It is not an uncommon view.  It inspired the officials responsible for the Empire State Building to honor the Mao regime with a lighting ceremony.  To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China under Communist rule and Mao's 1949 revolution, the Empire State Building illumined its familiar spire with red and yellow lights.

The Western media and prominent Americans have done their best to promote the communist regime.  The Washington Post reported, "Mao the warrior, philosopher and ruler was the closest the modern world has been to the god-heroes of antiquity."  Senator Charles Percy asserted, "Mao is the George Washington of his country."  David Rockefeller wrote that "the social experiment in China under Chairman Mao's leadership is one of the most important and successful in human history."

A review of "Art and China's Revolution" at the Asia Society Museum by Li Onesto reveals some of the reasoning behind the pro-communist stance.  He begins by describing the big banner with a drawing of Mao Tse-tung surrounded by images of workers, soldiers and youth on the outside of the building.  She claims that in the '60s, "millions of people around the world, including here in the United States, looked to socialist China as a truly liberating society."  She admits that she was "one of those youth in the United States who, inspired by the Chinese Cultural Revolution, carried a Red Book in my back pocket and put posters of Red Guards on my bedroom wall."  She states that "this art is a powerful chapter in the history of the Cultural Revolution.  It sheds real light on the overwhelmingly positive achievements of socialist China."  She claims, "I heard one woman declare, looking at a wall of art, 'this was all destroyed by Mao.'  On one level, this is just ridiculous."

Onesto writes as though she were unaware of the "Four Olds," a term used during the Cultural Revolution by the student-led Red Guards in the People's Republic of China regarding the pre-communist elements of Chinese culture they attempted to destroy.  Examples of Chinese architecture were destroyed, classical literature and Chinese paintings were torn apart, and Chinese temples were desecrated.  The burial place of Confucius was attacked.  According to U.S. News and World Report, Mao Tse-tung was responsible for more deaths than Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin combined.

How would people react to an art exhibit called "Art and the Nazi Revolution"?  We frequently see videos of the Nazi book-burning event.  How often do we see the comparable Chinese event?  This is all a consequence of media misinformation.

John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy (Algora Publishing).  He has a Master of Arts degree in international relations from St. Mary's University.  He is retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.  He is featured on the BBC's program "Things We Forgot to Remember": Morgenthau Plan and Post-War Germany.

Image: Frank Schulenburg via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 (cropped).