China state media says U.S. Capitol storm reflects leadership failures

SHANGHAI (Reuters) -The storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump reflects a failure of leadership as well as the deep divide running through American society, editorials in China’s state media said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Oath Keepers are seen among supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo

Hundreds of supporters of President Trump besieged the Capitol on Wednesday in what House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi described as “an armed insurrection against America”.

Chinese government-run newspapers used the events to step up its war of words against the United States, with bilateral relations already at a low ebb amid tensions over trade, human rights and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Global Times, a tabloid owned by the People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party newspaper, described the riots as a sign of “internal collapse” in the U.S. political system that could not easily be reversed.

“The unprecedented mob in the Capitol, a symbol of the U.S. system, is the result of the U.S. society’s severe division and the country’s failure to control such division,” it said.

“As time goes by and with abuses of resources by generations of politicians, the U.S. political system has degraded,” the paper added.

It also lashed out at what it described as “double standards” among U.S. politicians, taking aim at Pelosi’s description of the Hong Kong protests in 2019 as “a beautiful sight to behold”.

“In Hong Kong, violent actions are described as a ‘beautiful sight,’ in the U.S., people involved in this chaos are called ‘mobs’,” the Global Times said.

Pelosi’s comments have been widely mocked on China’s Twitter-like Weibo service, with the Communist Party Youth League also using the words “beautiful sight” to describe the unrest in Washington.

Other netizens described the riots as “karma”, and one joked that this was the first attempted coup in the Americas that happened “without the involvement of U.S. embassies”, according to the Global Times.

State broadcaster CCTV used the crisis to lambast the U.S. political system, saying “the figleaf of so-called American democracy has been torn clean off”.

“The United States, which has always promoted democracy and human rights, is now the country of riots, conflicts and curfews,” it said.

The official China Daily newspaper said the “narrow nationalism” of President Trump had taken a toll on the United States.

“The violence and chaos that have erupted in the U.S. over the past year show what happens when a country’s leaders lose touch with reality,” it added.

Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Michael Perry