A 100-minute film produced by the Chinese military that has been circulating widely on the Internet accuses the US of trying to undermine the Chinese Communist Party’s control of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and impose US values on China.
Among the US tactics denounced in the film are military-to-military exchanges, which Washington has long promoted to improve communications in the event of a crisis. The video, complete with an ominous soundtrack, warns that such visits are intended to corrupt Chinese officers.
The film, titled Silent Contest, also takes aim at Western non-governmental organizations, the US and British consulates in Hong Kong, and prominent reformers in China. It accuses Washington of sponsoring exiled minority figures such as Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and Uighur dissident Rebiya Kadeer.
It is not clear if the video was intentionally released or leaked, but it began disappearing from Chinese Web sites on Thursday night last week. Its heavy ideological content and propaganda style suggest it may have been produced to support the work of the Chinese military’s political commissars, who are charged with indoctrinating troops and maintaining their morale, discipline and loyalty. As such, the film appears to offer a remarkably straightforward glimpse into the Cold War mindset of the Chinese military leadership.
Cutting from crude graphics of US dollar bills, to shots of the Statue of Liberty and blurry footage of US leaders, the video bemoans the fall of the Soviet Union and warns that China faces a similar fate if it fails to counter Washington’s nefarious efforts to infiltrate Chinese society.
The PLA’s General Staff Department is listed as a producer of the film, along with its National Defense University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
University president Wang Xibin (王喜斌), a PLA lieutenant-general, appears on film describing how the US grooms “friendly forces, so-called democratic forces,” inside China and on the “exterior goes against the party’s absolute control of the army.”
He also criticizes visits by US and Chinese military officials to each other’s countries, saying that the exchanges will increasingly be used by the US for “infiltration.”
The US has long urged a reluctant Beijing to boost military exchanges, saying that such visits yield transparency and trust. In recent months, several top Pentagon officers have traveled to China or hosted visits by their Chinese counterparts, a flurry that Washington has described as progress.
The film was undated, but contained footage of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) after he took office in March. It makes no mention of US whistleblower Edward Snowden.
A spokesman for the US embassy in Beijing had no comment on the film.