BEIJING – When press soldier Michael Forsythe parades another academic quack for the New York Times‘ ‘Q. and A.’ on the future demise of the Communist Party of China, the “China experts” are all tuned in.
Not because Mr. Forsythe is particularly original or anything, but because he’s member of a very militant group blending journalism with soldiery. It’s like “journdiery.”
You know what I’m talking about. It is no secret that the New York Times, like so many other powers in this day and age, have abandoned traditional “news reporting” and instead focused on “news creation.”
And why not? Here’s how they create Chinese “Dissidents” and “Heroes,” and “Saviors”.[i] Here’s how they support violent riots in Hong Kong.[ii] Here’s how they shame Chinese women for marrying too early.[iii] And you can’t blame politics. Those press soldiers are the vanguard of a very violent, sick society. (Donald Trump, anyone?)
But let’s not digress from this Minxin Pei. His actual name is Pei Minxin. He’s been turned into a “Minxin Pei” by Western media. It’s an old European fetish. We have to turn the names of the “good Chinese” around (as opposed to “evil Chinese” such as Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping who stay the same). So, Minxin Pei has this crystal ball and predicts… hold your breath: “that the odds are high that by 2030, China’s government will be quite different…” Bravo! Feichang hao!
He could also have said: “Nothing will ever be the same again,” or “Mike, we won’t meet so young anymore.” It is very interesting how truisms and prophecy are now sold off as the latest New York Times “journalpop.”
Journalism + agitprop. I can’t help but think that Mr. Forsythe must have foreseen that this interview was going to be complete trash. Mr. Pei has “predicted” the Party’s downfall no less than three times! In 1994, in 2006, and in 2016!
Ok, his 1994 take doesn’t really register, because he could not possibly have predicted the rise of the internet, email, September 11, and Starbuck frappuccinos. But by 2006 Mr. Pei could clearly tell, deduced from the wiggle of his toes, that the 60-million-members strong Communist Party of China would call it quits after his powerful book was published. Well, they didn’t.
So, when asked about his colleagues’ professional skepticism, this charlatan said, and I quote: “This is understandable since regime transition is an ultralow probability event.” Well, so, maybe, just MAYBE, this interview really has a ‘ultralow probability’ of ever becoming a triumph for journalism? Just saying.
Not that Mr. Forsythe isn’t morally flexible, though. He’s been manipulating another professor before, making Gardner Bovingdon look as if he condoned terrorism in Xinjiang.[iv] That was fun! So, maybe Mr. Forsythe, reluctant to do this interview in first place, purposely let stupid escalate.
This is one of my all-favorite Mr. Pei quotes: “China may be huge, but it is governed by human beings who, like their counterparts in small countries, make choices that are limited by practical and predictable constraints.” He could also have said: “Listen, I have nothing to say, so I say how it is.”
Journalists are scheming creatures: They call you up because they did research on you and know you are probably going to say certain things to support their agenda. And if you don’t, they’ll never call again.
Such test of integrity cannot deter Pei Minxin, for now. His “serious intellectual exercise with potentially profound policy implications” is selling like hot potatoes to Westerners who must be thinking, hey, why don’t I become a China expert myself. I can do that! I can do ‘serious intellectual exercise with potentially profound policy implications’! [Like this wacko.[v] Or this one.[vi] Oh, and here’s another one.[vii]]
Look, this is a video, “Minxin Pei: China’s Crony Capitalism,” with Steve Paikin,[viii] where Mr. Pei’s friendship with Ezra Vogel, previously on the show, is mentioned. Ezra Vogel is a fine Harvard man. But he is also a former government adviser and CIA man. Michael Forsythe is Harvard, too. Mr. Pei is a PhD Pei from Harvard. They all quote and reference each other, you see. So here’s a pitch for the next Paikin show: “Harvard’s Crony Media!” No? I thought so.
But maybe our propaganda press has ‘good intentions’, right? In 2030. The probability is high. The Communist Party of China. Could indeed be very different. The crystal ball. The smoke. Mr. Forsythe’s creepy pasta: “Bigger forces shaping our lives.” But brother Pei is not lying, is he? “He believes one-party rule in China is unsustainable,” says Mr. Forsythe. Much like biodiversity, the environment, your health, capitalism, and the Cable TV model. Damn he is right! That shit over there in China is unsustainable! I knew it!
So, what’s it gonna be, asks Mr. Forsythe: “Reform? Revolution? Or… a combination of the two: refolution?” Since Mr. Pei is too stupid to answer this simple question, I’m going out on my nipples here and say: It’s definitely gonna be a “refolution.”
Yes! “Refolution!” it’s gonna be!
Here’s another New York Times‘ ‘Q. and A.’, this time by Chris Buckley, with a certain David Shambaugh, on the Communist regime going down the toilet.[ix] Shambaugh is a regular at Harvard, too. [Here[x] and here.[xi]] So he says things like: “This is where the exodus of the elite and the systemic traps in the economy come in.” Or: “For these reasons, this is why I see the “endgame” of the Communist Party as being underway.” Now, you will say, wait a minute: Mr. Shambaugh’s message is essentially the same as Mr. Pei’s? From the same group of people, Harvard? In the same paper, the New York Times? Wow! Woow!
It gets better. The New York Times evidently promote such charlatans and quacks all the time. Gordon G. Chang, a favorite of Voice of America, for example. Although he’s no Harvard material, he still made it into the New York Times with an op-ed, here.[xii] As one commentator, AmateurHistorian, remarks: “[Mr. Chang] has been banking on his 2001 book ‘The Coming Collapse of China’ for the last 15 years. Talk show and universities absolutely love him when he extols the virtue of America and why China must collapse.”
This is not to say that the New York Times only features doomsayer and pro-US Chinese muppets. They do try hard to throw in, every now and then, some proud Chinese patriot, like Yan Xuetong from Tsinghua University with his “more assertive China” theory. But than, “Xuetong Yan” is also a graduate from the University of Berkeley, California. Tsinghua is plagued by US agents and CIA people. Mr. Forsythe’ spouse, also a New York Times journalist, also from Harvard, is a (feminist-PhD) graduate from Tsinghua.[xiii] So, this is a surprisingly small group of collaborators orchestrating subversive campaigns and deciding who gets mentioned, and who doesn’t.
Anyway, if the US flagship media says Minxin Pei is our man, he’s our man. The Wall Street Journal, following top-down propaganda protocol, immediately set up a page: “Notable Quotable Minxin Pei on China,”[xiv] honoring Mr. Pei’s latest contribution to ‘The American Interest’ magazine and his essay “The Twilight of Communist Party Rule in China.” And – do we really need to mention this – The Wall Street Journal did similar features for David Shambaugh and Gordon G. Chang, too.
I’ll be completely honest with you, alright: Our Western media are practicing a form of unnatural selection by promoting not giants but quacks who tell them what they want to hear. This has inflated Pei Minxin (and many others) unrecognizable. It has corrupted academia. Who needs serious scholarship if you have benefactors with the New York Times, right? And if we don’t say anything to this monstrous manipulation and abuse of media power, they’ll just keep on doing it.
[iv] New York Times, Q. and A.: Gardner Bovingdon on Uighur Discontent and China’s Choices, May 23, 2014, New York
[viii] The Agenda with Steve Paikin, Minxin Pei: China’s Crony Capitalism, March 19, 2012, Ontario
[ix] The New York Times, Q. and A.: David Shambaugh on the Risks to Chinese Communist Rule, March 15, 2015, New York
[x] Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, David Shambaugh, Quarterly Journal: International Security, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge
[xi] Fairbank Center, David Shambaugh, ‘China’s International Identities’, Charles Neuhauser Memorial Lecture, Harvard University, Cambridge
[xii] The New York Times, Chinese Economy On the Edge, July 25, 2013, New York
[xiii] Big Think, When Should Chinese Women Marry –And Whom, April 10, 2014, New York
[xiv] The Wall Street Journal, Notable & Quotable: Minxin Pei, Nov 26, 2015, New York
Thor Tukoll is a pen name of Thorsten J. Pattberg, a German writer and cultural critic. He is the author of The East-West Dichotomy, Shengren, and Inside Peking University.
2016 (c) Thor Tukoll