by Fei Liena, Hao Weiwei
BEIJING, June 16 (Xinhua) -- The South China Sea proves to be a tranquil sea with inherent freedom of navigation, but some countries, with ulterior motives, have launched publicity campaigns to deliberately play up the South China Sea issue in support of their hegemonist military moves.
Let's first take a look at an example. In February, Western media started to hype up China's missile deployment in South China Sea's Xisha area. On Feb. 16, the U.S. Fox News network reported that China deployed HQ-9 anti-aircraft missiles on Xisha's Yongxing Island. On Feb 17, U.S. secretary of state, White House spokesman and commander of the Pacific Command all criticized China for what they called "militarization" in the South China Sea.
On the same day, the Japanese government also expressed "grave concern" over China's action. Afterwards, the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies released a set of satellite photos, claiming China was setting up high frequency radar facilities on the South China Sea, echoing the so-called "China threat" claim.
In Western media's reports on the South China Sea issue, China has often been described as a restless empire "bullying" smaller countries, "militarizing" in the South China Sea, sabotaging "freedom of navigation", challenging international law, and seeking hegemony in the Asia Pacific region.
The farce, led by the U.S. and supported by its allies, was intentioned to make China the scapegoat for the tense situation in the South China Sea region.
Uncle Sam and its friends are good at staging biased media publicity campaigns, confusing different concepts and applying double standards. They often choose to ignore the fact that the Philippines and other countries have illegally occupied Chinese islands in the South China Sea and deployed radar facilities, planes, artillery pieces and missiles there. Yet, they tag "militarization" on China for doing lawful construction work on its own islands.
When asked whether sending large U.S. naval ships and military planes to the region means militarization at a press briefing, U.S. State Department spokesperson Mark Toner gave a funny answer by saying the practice was "basically freedom of navigation."
Western media publicity campaigns' prejudice against China on the South China Sea issue originates from their presumption of guilt on China -- Everything China does in the South China Sea must have been wrong.
This logic reminds people of the so-called "power's original sin". Concluding from their own history of expansion, Western countries take it for granted that once China becomes powerful, it will surely dominate.
According to Zheng Yongnian, director of East Asian Institute of the National University of Singapore, the U.S. has misjudged China's intention and role in the Asia Pacific region on the basis of its own history of expansion and power politics rather than China's diplomatic performance in the region.
The increasingly obvious trend is that the U.S. has been mobilizing political, economic, military and diplomatic resources to "come back to the Asia Pacific", and to contain China. Among the U.S. manoeuvres, staging a biased publicity campaign on the South China Sea issue is a clever trick with low input and substantial returns.
By employing the South China Sea issue, U.S. politicians intended to humiliate and attack China and force China to make some "difficult choices" to concede. However, their wishful thinking of using publicity campaigns to press China to compromise and concede on fundamental issues such as territorial integrity is nothing but a pipe dream.
A straight foot is not afraid of a crooked shoe. Time will reveal China's goodwill and endeavor to promote peaceful development of the Asia Pacific region. Meanwhile, some countries' ulterior motive will also be brought to light in time.