{RE: the captioned photo above, In this April 13, 2020, photo, a woman wearing a face mask walks by a Chinese flag placed on a street prior a curfew set up to limit the spread of the new coronavirus in Belgrade, Serbia. While China struggles elsewhere to polish its image tarnished by its initial handling of the coronavirus outbreak, Beijing has no problem maintaining its hard-won influence in Eastern Europe, where it battles for clout with the EU as well as with Russia in countries like Serbia. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)}

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — When China’s first shipment of coronavirus medical aid landed in Belgrade, the president of Serbia was there to kiss the Chinese flag. In Hungary, officials have played down assistance from the European Union and praised Beijing’s help. In the Czech Republic, its president says that only China was there during the virus spread.

Make no mistake, China is not going gentle into that good night on the heals of their release of a plague on the world, and their propaganda machine speaks with one loud voice. They come bearing free cheese for those that they would court and woo on the international stage and who doesn’t like free cheese? It’s being called “mask diplomacy”,  a mix of soft power policy, political messaging and aid shipments — to portray Beijing as a generous and efficient ally. Pay no attention to the fact that THEY caused the problem in the first place.

China for years has been increasing its political and economic influence in southeastern Europe through its Belt and Road global investment projects. Its image-polishing after the outbreak found fertile ground in places like Serbia and Hungary, whose populist leaders nurture closer ties with Beijing or Moscow.

The aid shipments also drew praise in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, although some virus test kits and face masks bought from Chinese companies didn’t meet local standards.

In Serbia, a candidate for EU membership, officials and state-controlled media have played down the millions of euros in grants and loans from Brussels while praising Chinese deliveries, donations and sales of supplies.

Opposition groups have demanded the Chinese aid be disclosed and stacked up against the EU’s apparently much larger assistance, but those calls have been ignored.


  1. Good planning for China, I guess. As you say, free cheese; or not so much.

    Wish I could get notified of comments to your blog though.

    God bless, LL!

    • I don’t know what’s wrong with the notification, Linda. I worked with BANDMEETING who needed to disconnect from his virtual private network (VPN) in order to comment here. It may be something like that for you

  2. China’s image has taken a bit of a battering lately. Who wants to touch something that’s Made in China? After all, it could be a vector.

    Speaking of vectors, looks like California may be shut down till the Eschaton.

  3. The word foreign comes to mind. We in the West continue to look at China using our culture, norms, and values. Nearly everything about the Chinese is “foreign” to the West. Some Westerners, like yourself, have made it a point to study them.

    What keeps floating through my mind is my father’s words, “The only thing an Asian understands is a boot on his neck”. My father was a CBI vet fluent in Hindu – he had a gift for languages.

    • I’ve taught “Chinese mindset” to a number of USGOV alphabet agency people.

      To be fair, the PRC has taken China a long way very quickly. The man on the street in Shanghai, for example, drives a BMW or a Mercedes. They are awash with a lot of money – much, but not all from the US. Japan is paying Japanese companies to leave China. They view China as an enemy state. The US Congress ought to pay attention but they’ve taken a lot of “contributions from Chinese agents”. When the Chinese see that the American political brain trust consists of people like Maxine Waters, AOC, the Muslim Squad and senile, corrupt old Joe in the lead of the donkeys, it only serves to underscore American rot, corruption and weakness.

  4. And that same propaganda has been operating here by and through the media and the Left to foment fear among the masses.

    An observance from a town run this morning: People wearing masks/bandanas/scarves/balaclavas etc. (all ages, but roughly half young, half older) all looked afraid of their own shadow, whereas those not wearing masks (mostly middle aged but a few younger folks) looked happier, relaxed even.

    Fear…that’s the control play because people know it works on the uninitiated.

  5. I’ve had much the same observation as Camperfixer, masks on a fair percentage of those out and about, though we’ve had only four confirmed cases in a county of 30,000. I’m one of the maskless. I’m asymptomatic and see no reason to wear one. I’ll simply continue to exercise caution.

    • I went into the bank today to conduct business and all of the bank employees were masked. There have been 2 or 3 confirmed COVID cases in Gila County, AZ and no deaths…

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