An 826-character sharply worded commentary by "Xin Zhiping" -- a pseudonym for a Xinhua media platform dedicated to promoting Xi Jinping thought -- published on December 16, 2020, appeared to be directed at people who have been critical of China's more assertive stance towards America. Titled: "The "Worshipping America" and "Kneeling to America" soft-bone disease must be cured!", it appeared to back Xi Jinping's decision to adopt a tough foreign policy. The article bluntly criticised those advocating a policy of compromise with the US and also castigated those few people who for some time now "have been spreading all sorts of arguments about "worshipping America" and "kneeling to America": they envy American "democracy" and "freedom", or tout the current situation of human rights in the United States, or exaggerate the "self-repair ability" of the American system. Some even go so far as to "open their minds" and praise the "anti-epidemic ability" of the United States". Pointing to America's failures in tackling the Coronavirus or racism, it charged: "The people who "worship America" and "kneel to America" are often the ones who will praise the United States and disparage China, they only ask the position, not the right and wrong. They believe that "the moon in a foreign country is rounder than that in China" and they do their utmost to denigrate and slander their own country. They are happy to weave all kinds of "American fairy tales", and even create and spread rumours; when some American politicians go against the grain and cause serious consequences, they either pretend to be confused, or are busy helping to whitewash. In turn, China's development achievements are not worth mentioning in their eyes, a vigorous, flourishing new era of China, in their view, useless". The commentary said those who believe in "worship America" and "kneel to America" and "bow down to the "world overlords" and suffer from "soft-bone disease" of their minds" are also those who "naively believe that the benefits for security, relying on compromise to seek self-preservation, as long as China "does not hit back, does not return the scolding," can be exchanged for peace and quiet". Calling it "Such an absurd argument, Such a ridiculous theory", it asked "where is there a little bit of Chinese integrity and courage!" The commentary declared "we must resolutely struggle against them, pierce their painted skin, eliminate their influence, and not let wrong values confuse people". It asserted in conclusion that "The Chinese people are not afraid of trouble, in front of any difficulties and risks, our legs will not shake, our waist will not bend. In the face of big winds and big waves, as long as we have confidence and determination, and steadfastly do our own thing, there is no hurdle that can not be overcome. A self-reliant, civilized and progressive China is the best cure for "soft-bone disease"."

(Comment: Since the US-China trade war began, prominent Chinese Party cadres, academics and strategists have publicly argued that China is nowhere near strong enough to take on the US. They called for reverting to Deng Xiaoping's policy of 'hide your strength, bide your time'. As the trade war intensified and US pressure on China increased some well known Chinese strategists and cadres called for arresting the slide in bilateral relations and suggested some areas of possible convergence. Despite this criticism, Xi Jinping has not wavered and has persisted with his aggressive foreign policy and hard-line stance with the US. Appearing as it does after US President-elect Biden and his nominees for the posts of Secretary of State and National Security Adviser suggested their preference for talks rather than confrontation with China, this Xinhua commentary appears to warn advocates of a compromise with the US in a bid to improve ties while strongly indicating that Xi Jinping's hard-line policy will not change.)

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