Shanghai turned into a 'ghost town'? Newsweek's anti-China propaganda venom
Moulik Jahan
Tourists flock to the Bund in Shanghai, east China, August 12, 2023. /CFP
Tourists flock to the Bund in Shanghai, east China, August 12, 2023. /CFP

Tourists flock to the Bund in Shanghai, east China, August 12, 2023. /CFP

Editor's note: Moulik Jahan, a special commentator for CGTN, is an independent researcher, freelance columnist and strategic and security affairs analyst. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN. 

Yet another Western media outlets has nakedly spewed venom against China. Some Western media outlets are clearly waging a propaganda war against China. A constant onslaught of falsehoods is used to degrade China's successes and global stature, delegitimize its governance system, tarnish its people and policies, and push the "new Cold War" narrative against China.

"Has China's Shanghai Turned Into 'Ghost Town'? What Photos Show" is the headline of an article that appeared in the American news magazine Newsweek released on September 5. The story mentioned a tweet and cast doubt on China's economy based on a few images of deserted streets and businesses, attempting to portray one of the world's largest cities with 25 million inhabitants as a "ghost town." Without checking the facts from social media sources, Newsweek published the article to further its evil intent.

On the other hand, reporters from certain local media publications visited the locations shown in those images and debunked such false assertion. The Chinese economy is not what Western politicians and media outlets have portrayed as "collapsing" in recent months. Over the last four years, China's economic growth has outpaced other major economies. But according to John Ross, a former head of economic and corporate strategy for the mayor of London, the U.S. has intensified its propaganda-dissemination efforts to obscure this truth.

As the Chinese economy picks up speed after years of disruption brought on by COVID-19, Credit Suisse, a global financial institution, anticipates that China's economic growth will also outperform that of the majority of other major countries in 2023. Credit Suisse believes that as China's financial market opens up further, there are many prospects for cooperation and expansion.

The accuracy of coverage from Newsweek has often been contested. Back in 2017, the media house reported that the First Lady of Poland Agata Kornhauser-Duda declined to shake Donald Trump's hand, but it was amended later on because some pointed out the report was "false." That same year, Unbounded Capital partner Dave Mullen-Muhr wrote an article titled "Newsweek Abandons Journalism, Opts for Growing Market of Propaganda."

Moreover, in 2020, The New Republic senior editor Alex Shephard wrote the piece "Newsweek and the Rise of the Zombie Magazine." In his essay, he described how a dying legacy magazine is spreading right-wing conspiracy theories. Former Newsweek journalist Matthew Cooper also blasted the publication for many erroneous pieces in 2018.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, Western media sources have consistently churned out propaganda against China and its economy. In order to demoralize the foreign business community that has a stake in China, Newsweek published the article as part of this strategy. Propaganda has long been used in the West. For example, the allegation of Iraq using weapons of mass destruction is well-known.

In the "new Cold War" period, the Western ruling elites want the average Westerner to fear and despise China, thereby discouraging foreign businesses from making investments in the country. U.S. media sources are also attempting to sway public opinion against China by spreading false information. Here, the goal of controlling China is obvious.

This deception helped rally support for a deadly war. Therefore, Western anti-war protesters must oppose the constant falsehoods and defamation against the People's Republic of China.

After a powerful earthquake struck Morocco in northern Africa, Shanghai's medical team sent there has been operating on the front lines. The fact has proved that China is not as "scary" as some reports described, so Western media is expected to see more positive aspects of Chinese behavior, rather than just peddling disinformation against China.

Overseas Chinese in Morocco assemble donated supplies to support earthquake-stricken areas, September 11, 2023. /CFP
Overseas Chinese in Morocco assemble donated supplies to support earthquake-stricken areas, September 11, 2023. /CFP

Overseas Chinese in Morocco assemble donated supplies to support earthquake-stricken areas, September 11, 2023. /CFP

The International Monetary Fund expects China's economy to rise 5.2 percent in 2023, higher than the U.S. at 1.8 percent. Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Statistics reported 2,541 foreign-funded firms in Shanghai's financial center were established in the first half of 2023, up 63.3 percent year-over-year.  Foreign capital use in the city topped $12.7 billion, up 7.1 percent year-over-year. Shanghai continues to maintain its status as the city with the most concentrated regional headquarters and foreign-funded research and development centers of global firms in China, solidifying its position as a favored foreign investment destination.

A group of 26 projects totaling 67.4 billion Chinese yuan ($9.8 billion) in investment were inked at the Shanghai Global Investment Promotion Conference 2023 a few months ago. For the first time, a new signing ceremony between scientific organizations and business institutions was organized at the conference this year. It sought to promote the city's new technological advancements.

Shanghai, far from being a "ghost town," is buzzing with tourists and commerce, according to the official figures. Even American company Starbucks invests more in China, showing its trust in China's economy. In early September, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo shifted her tone and urged U.S. corporations to invest in China before departing. Newsweek hit the wrong target this time again

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