The lengths these adherents of one-party politics will go to corroborate the superiority and promote the virtues of their system of governance over alternatives is no laughing matter (or rather it is but not exclusively). In this recent case from the diplomatic milieu, you have the Chinese Ambassador in Washington pointing out (helpfully, gleefully) the corruption of bipartisanship, and by extension of multi-party democratic politics, as exposed in Netflix's "House of Cards".

 

Now, even if one assumes that the Ambassador is unfamiliar with the laisser-faire culture of fictional entertainment in the USA (as opposed to the straightjacket of censorship the Chinese productions are encumbered by) or that his grasp of fiction versus reality is clouded due to years under the virtual reality of Chinese state propaganda, one is still baffled by the grandstanding of his statements. Then again, if we place them in the context of international diplomatic shenanigans (the authoritarian kind in particular), where scoring points and propagandizing is the norm, they make perfect sense.

 

In this respect, all sources are game for exploitation, even popular entertainment which, through the prism of cultural studies, does to a certain extent reflect and/or expose the predominant talking points and anomalies of the society it stems from. So in a sense, although exaggerated, the criticism over Washington politics has a point (elaborated by the Southern People Weekly newspaper but still reflecting Chinese governmental line as do all newspapers). Ironically though, concentrating on that misses the broader issue of the comparatively far more sinister & opaque workings of the China's political system. And distraction from the latter is the real point of these kind of statements with an additional opportunity to preach to the domestic Chinese audience, avid consumer of US shows through streaming services and more likely to take what it watches at face value.

 

The Chinese are very adept at this game of detecting obvious vulnerabilities in others and spinning them to their advantage, especially if they are covering or distracting from their own miserable record. Case in point the recent Chinese castigation of France for Paris' high pollution levels, quite rich coming from a country which just went through a smog-filled nuclear winter. And let's not forget the neighboring North Koreans that have elevated this methodology into higher art form.

 

After the "House of Cards" poignant allegories about American politics that the Chinese successfully revealed to the world, expect more such didactic analysis of popular American shows to be publicized by the critical theorists of Beijing. For example, HBO's "Homeland" blatantly exposes the sinister extremes the CIA stoops to in order to intervene in the internal affairs of foreign countries and the rampant psychosis & salaciousness ravaging its agents. In ABC's "Revenge", one can plainly watch the thoroughly corrupt workings of the Wall St. financial sector, its underhanded ties with terrorism and the unscrupulous megalomania of the 1%. In "Scandal" (again on ABC, apparently the masters of primetime exposé) viewers can be educated about the duplicity, cover-ups & salaciousness (yet again) of the American elite. The Chinese can also brag about their one-child policy by pointing out the dysfunction and debauchery of a single-father-family of 7 in Showtime's "Shameless".

 

House of Cards embodies the corruption in American politics, says Chinese ambassador

May 09, 2014 | INTERNATIONAL | CULTURAL (NO)MORES

Chinese Diplomacy: Fictional Reality