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People’s Daily Refused to Publish U.S. Ambassador’s Op-Ed, Accusing U.S. of Being Overbearing

Terry Branstad, the U.S. Ambassador to China, recently approached the People’s Daily, hoping to publish his op-ed on improving U.S.-China relations. People’s Daily, however, rejected the U.S. Ambassador’s request. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and People’s Daily responded on Thursday September 10, calling the U.S. Ambassador’s article “full of loopholes” and accused the U.S. of being ” illogical, overbearing and unreasonable” in this matter.

In the Op-Ed titled, “Resetting the Relationship Based on Reciprocity,” Branstad stated that the relationship between the U.S. and China has become increasingly imbalanced. U.S. companies, journalists, diplomats, and even civil society have been given unequal access. While U.S. journalists face restrictions on reporting and even entering China, Chinese state media workers have long enjoyed open access in the United States.

At a regular press conference on Thursday, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Branstad’s article “attacks” and “smears” China, saying that the U.S. request of “publishing the op-ed with its full content with no alteration” clearly has nothing to do with freedom of the press. Zhao Lijian said that the US is “deliberately touching porcelain to find fault” [Editor’s note: deliberately manufacturing the outrage to find fault with China.]

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo issued a statement late on Wednesday night to the People’s Daily for refusing to publish Branstad’s op-ed criticizing China’s propaganda agencies of hypocrisy and lack of reciprocal treatment and that China’s Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai alone has published five Op-eds this year in prominent U.S. news outlets.

Since the beginning of this year, the U.S. has begun to put pressure on the Chinese authorities to achieve reciprocity in terms of the number of media, the working environment of journalists, and the free flow of information. Related measures have caused a strong backlash from China. The People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency and other Chinese propaganda agencies have recently published long articles in succession criticizing U.S. practices.

On August 25, the People’s Daily published a 30,000-word article in three pages criticizing the China policy speech delivered by US Secretary of State Pompeo at the Nixon Presidential Library.

Source: Voice of America, September 10, 2020