Chinese State Media Welcomes Taliban’s Rise in Afghanistan, Exults in US ‘Defeat’

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The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan gave the Chinese regime a golden opportunity to attack the United States and attempt to widen its own influence. And it wasted no time to seize it.

State-run newspapers, broadcasters, and Chinese diplomats have launched a propaganda offensive not dissimilar to the regime’s ongoing efforts to deflect blame around the origins of the pandemic.

The propaganda includes touting the prospective Chinese friendship with the Taliban insurgents, who have taken over Afghanistan at a sweeping pace in the past week, mocking the U.S. “defeat,” and threatening Taiwan by questioning U.S. commitment in the Asian region.

Put together, the narrative put forward by the communist regime was: the United States has failed Afghanistan, and Beijing is ready to offer an olive branch.

“Wherever the U.S. sets foot in, be it Iraq, Syria, or Afghanistan, we see turbulence, division, broken families, deaths, and other scars in the mess it has left. The U.S. power and role is destructive rather than constructive,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying in an Aug. 17 press briefing. She had told reporters a day prior that the changes in Afghanistan were a result of “the will and choice of the Afghan people.”

In late July, about a month before the scheduled U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Chinese regime was among the first countries to signal its support for the Islamist militants when Foreign Minister Wang Yi hosted a delegation of Taliban representatives in the port city of Tianjin.

The Enemy’s Enemy Is a Friend

Images and videos showed thousands of Afghan civilians thronging Kabul airport in a desperate bid to escape the war-torn country, fearful of a revival of the past harsh practices—including public stoning, whipping, and hanging—under Islamic militants’ rule two decades ago. In the Taliban-captured cities, many residents have chosen to lie low and stay indoors, while shops, supermarkets, and government offices remain shuttered.

China and Russia are among a handful of countries that have chosen to keep their embassies open, as the United States and its allies evacuated diplomats by helicopter. Meanwhile, Chinese state media were painting a welcoming picture of the Taliban’s victory, with one article dated Aug. 17 headlined “normalcy returns to Afghan capital.”

State-run news agency Xinhua, in an Aug. 16 article, found similarity in the Talibans’ military strategy and how the Chinese Communist Party won the Chinese Civil War against the Kuomintang during the 1940s, calling the Taliban takeover a case of “the weak overcoming the strong” through rural guerrilla warfare.

By Eva Fu

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