Analyzing Alt-Media’s Reluctance To Critique China’s Anti-Iranian Joint Statement With The GCC
It’s indisputably the case that the Alt-Media Community failed to rally around Iran in the face of China’s unintentional diplomatic violation of its legitimate national interests despite having previously shown full solidarity with the Islamic Republic on similarly sensitive issues. Any truly objective observer knows that these same folks would have been furious had the US, Israel, or a European country signed that fiercely anti-Iranian joint statement, yet they’re silent or even sympathetic just because China did this.
Iran publicly expressed its displeasure with last week’s Chinese-GCC joint statement that pushed the Gulf Kingdoms’ claims that the Islamic Republic is the source of regional instability and also touched upon disputed islands under its control that Tehran officially refuses to discuss. I put forth some explanations here as to why Beijing abruptly recalibrated its hitherto balanced approach to West Asia by having President Xi sign such a fiercely anti-Iranian document, but most of my peers failed to follow suit.
The Alt-Media Community (AMC) conspicuously refused to critique China’s anti-Iranian joint GCC statement despite many of these same influential voices previously supporting the Islamic Republic on innumerable occasions. Some like former Indian Ambassador M.K. Bhadrakumar even went as far to write that “In the final analysis, Iran can only blame itself” for what China just did. Quite clearly, their prior support for Iran was insincere, but there’s also more to it than just that.
Frankly speaking, many among the AMC are reluctant to constructively critique China on anything whatsoever at all owing to their de facto deification of the People’s Republic. This is in spite of the Communist Party of China (CPC) “highlight[ing] self-reform as the key to consolidating its position as the long-term governing party” during October’s 20th National Congress per publicly financed Xinhua’s report about that important political event.
Many of these same folks at the very least tacitly support Western protests against their governments’ COVID policies yet simultaneously condemned the recent ones in China even though the CPC shortly thereafter eased its related policies in response and thus proved that they weren’t a Color Revolution. The unofficial “politically correct” dogma of the AMC is that China is always right, it mustn’t ever be critiqued, and all those who don’t follow this informal rule are supposedly working against multipolarity.
Simply put, the AMC has largely appointed itself the task of managing popular perceptions in China’s support, but many have taken this to an extreme to the point where it’s actually counterproductive. China, like all countries, isn’t perfect and thus always has room for improving its policies as evidenced by the CPC’s emphasis on self-reform. Even so, these folks can’t bring themselves to publicly recognize this, with the latest scandal surrounding the Chinese-GCC joint statement serving as a perfect example.
Instead of acknowledging that China shouldn’t in hindsight have signed that fiercely anti-Iranian document, they’re either conspicuously ignoring Iran’s publicly expressed displeasure, making excuses, or even blaming the Islamic Republic like Bhadrakumar had the chutzpah to do. They could have respected Iran’s legitimate interests simultaneously with reaffirming that China had no negative intentions, only sought to advance its ambitious petroyuan plans, and that ties will remain on track.
To elaborate on the preceding insight, the only reason why the People’s Republic overlooked its Islamic counterpart’s interests is because of how optimistic it was that the latest summit would accelerate multipolar processes in West Asia, first and foremost among them introducing the petroyuan. While tangible progress in that last-mentioned respect has yet to occur, President Xi did indeed call for that to happen during the event, which speaks to its grand strategic intentions.
Nevertheless, China was so caught up in doing its utmost to advance this scenario that its policymakers regrettably overlooked how the joint statement went against Iran’s legitimate interests, ergo why they advised President Xi to sign it instead of having him request that the text be amended or removed first. The AMC could easily explain this to their audience, but doing so would defy their unofficial “politically correct” dogma that China is supposedly infallible and therefore above being constructively critiqued.
The consequence is that their credibility further eroded in the eyes of many after it became obvious that they’re driven by the unstated agenda of running interference for China. By trying to be “more pro-Chinese than the self-reform-driven CPC itself”, they ended up inadvertently functioning as anti-Iranian propagandists after refusing to recognize how that joint statement went against the Islamic Republic’s legitimate interests.
President Raisi was so incensed by what happened that he told visiting Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua shortly thereafter that “some positions raised during the Chinese president’s recent visit to the region triggered unhappiness and grudge among the people and in the government of Iran.” This sharp remark was reported upon by the Tehran Times, which is one of his country’s most credible outlets and therefore certainly wouldn’t lie about their leader’s words on such a sensitive issue.
Despite that, most of the AMC’s influential figures – including those that previously voiced their full-throated support for Iran on a multitude of other issues over the years – have either remained silent or continued making excuses for China that imply whether intentionally or not that Iran supposedly has no reason to be offended. Those like Bhadrakumar who blame Iran for what happened are the radical minority, but the very existence of their views in the AMC’s discourse is still very concerning.
It’s indisputably the case that the AMC failed to rally around Iran in the face of China’s unintentional diplomatic violation of its legitimate national interests despite having previously shown full solidarity with the Islamic Republic on similarly sensitive issues. Any truly objective observer knows that these same folks would have been furious had the US, Israel, or a European country signed that fiercely anti-Iranian joint statement, yet they’re silent or even sympathetic just because China did this.
The takeaway is that the AMC isn’t as friendly towards Iran as many might have earlier though, with key influencers’ prior support of it simply being a means of expressing displeasure with the West in retrospect instead of signaling sincere solidarity with the Islamic Republic. When its interests were unwittingly violated by China, they made the conscious decision to side with Beijing over Tehran, which proves that they can’t really be relied upon for analyzing, articulating, and/or advancing Iran’s policies.