The persecution of religious minorities in China is a deadly serious affair, but the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) propaganda abroad sometimes looks more like a comedy. We at Bitter Winter were ourselves involved in a bizarre series of events, which can be read as a spy story but also as a piece of old-time vaudeville.
First, we should introduce the main characters. If you are reading this article, you probably know what Bitter Winter is all about. The respected American Protestant magazine World once called us “a thorn in the side” of the CCP. To remove the thorn, the CCP has arrested 45 of our reporters in China. It has also mobilized its fellow travelers in the West to attack us whenever possible.
If you read Bitter Winter, you also know the CCP, but most probably you don’t know a minor Belgian fellow traveler of that Party, a Belgian called Roland Delcourt, who is married to a Chinese and has been living in Shenzhen for “at least 20 years.” He gives interviews and writes propaganda letters in favor of the CCP that are published in the Chinese regime’s official organs, including the People’s Daily and the news agency Xinhua.
He is also a “cyber warrior” and posts on social media to defend the CCP, with a language that parrots, but goes beyond, the “wolf warrior” Chinese diplomats. For instance, he likes to play on the phonetic similarity between “Biden” and the French word “bidon” (phony), and calls the U.S. President, when he criticizes China, “a false democrat,” “the Yankee Gauleiter”, suggesting a comparison with “Nazi” war criminals, and “cholera” as Trump was the plague.