Chinese state media asserted Sunday that the ongoing government shutdown highlights “chronic flaws” in the U.S. political system, strongly arguing that Washington is not the “shining city on the hill” it claims to be.
The U.S. government shut down Friday night over irreconcilable differences between Republicans and Democrats on immigration, with the left unwilling to yield ground to ensure the protection of illegal immigrants. America’s international rivals, as they have done in the past, are taking note.
“Washington loves to brand itself as a ‘shining city on the hill,'” China’s Xinhua News Agency wrote in an editorial Sunday, “yet the latest government shutdown in the heart of Western democracy has once again exposed its chronic flaws.”
“The Trump administration has backtracked on almost every notable policy Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama had put in place, [but] if there was any legacy that has survived the transfer of power, it was the spirit of noncooperation across party lines,” Xinhua said in its report, calling attention to the government shutdown during the Obama administration over healthcare reform.
“The Western democratic system is hailed by the developed world as near perfect and the most superior political system to run a country,” the state-run outlet, as usual seizing the opportunity to criticize America’s political system, explained. “However, what’s happening in the United States today will make more people worldwide reflect on the viability and legitimacy of such a chaotic political system.”
The Xinhua article called the shutdown an embarrassment for political leaders in Washington.
ALSO WATCH: Trump Won’t Leave DC Until Government Shutdown Ends
China similarly mocked the U.S. political system during the 2016 presidential election. “The race to the bottom will … make [people] rethink the value of democracy,” the Global Times, a nationalist Chinese tabloid wrote at the time. (RELATED: Communist China Calls US Democracy A Joke)
Such criticisms are common as China attempts to draw attention away from its own failings and celebrate its socialist traditions.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the National Party Congress in October, he appeared to pit modern Chinese socialist ideologies against Western democratic principles, asserting that the success achieved through “socialism with Chinese characteristics” shows that there are other options for developing countries.
In that same speech, Xi said that he will usher in an “era that sees China moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind.”
The People’s Daily, the paper of the ruling Communist Party of China, recently published a manifesto on China’s place in the world. The article argued that amid the failings of the democratic and capitalist-led systems, a new international order with new leadership is emerging.
China intends to “tightly grasp the very promising period of historical opportunity” and pursue a leading position in the new global order it sees forming on the horizon. “The world needs China, as all humans are living in a community with a shared future,” the article argued.
“That creates broad strategic room for our efforts to uphold peace and development and gain an advantage,” it added.
While the Trump administration has tried to establish a positive working relationship with China to solve the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, the bilateral relationship continues to be characterized by competition and confrontation rather than cooperation. Both the president’s National Security Strategy and the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy identify China as a rival and strategic competitor eager to upend the American-led international order.
“Great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis stressed in a speech Friday announcing the new National Defense Strategy.
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