Chinese State Media Campaign Rages Against ‘Emotional’ Mike Pence

US Vice President Mike Pence addresses the Hudson Institute on the administration's policy towards China in Washington, DC, on October 4, 2018. - Pence on Thursday accused China of seeking a change of power in the White House, stepping up allegations of electoral interference. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) …
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese English-language state publications continued to publish screeds attacking Mike Pence over a week after the vice president issued an address at the Hudson Institute warning of an unprecedented onslaught against America on the part of Beijing.

Newspapers such as the People’s DailyChina DailyThe Global Times, and the news service Xinhua have promoted a steady stream of opinion pieces through Friday warning that Pence’s remarks could cause a second world war and urging the world to unite against the United States on China’s behalf. Among the specific complaints in the pieces are protests that the American economy does not do enough to strengthen China’s; that Pence’s “emotional” warning against China hurt young Chinese people’s feelings; and that Pence’s claim that the U.S. and China enjoyed friendly relations before the rise of the Communist Party ignored alleged aggressions against China prior to the 1940s.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post compiled some of the most aggressive broadsides against Pence, including a “nearly 5,400-word screed” in the People’s Daily claiming that the trade deficit the United States suffers against China could easily be fixed by the sale of advanced military technology.

“Is the US willing to sell its Ford-class aircraft carriers? If one piece is priced at US$15 billion and the US sells four to China, we can immediately narrow the trade gap by US$60 billion,” the article claimed. “The problem is not that China does not buy, but that the United States does not sell.”

The People’s Daily piece took particular umbrage at Pence’s repetition of a claim by President Donald Trump that, thanks to trade deals unfavorable to America, the United States had actually rebuilt China in the aftermath of the Deng Xiaoping era. “What a huge joke!” the author exclaimed.

The Post listed some other belligerent article titles in Xinhua this week:

Official news agency Xinhua ran at least eight nationalistic opinion pieces, penned by authors in academia, business and government, that likewise took an indignant tone, with headlines reading: “Mr Pence must be tired”, “Uncle Sam should not have amnesia” and “China’s development did not come from other people’s charity or favours.”

On Friday, China Daily, which usually targets American audiences, posted excerpts of a speech by a Chinese professor identified as Shen Dingli, who referred to Pence’s statements as “emotional and far-fetched,” accusing him of pouring “oil on the fire.”

“What Pence said in the speech - which some may buy - only represents the points of view of a minority, not least in the US, and will cause the dissatisfaction of the majority,” Shen predicted.

On Thursday, a similarly scathing opinion piece appeared in the People’s Daily suggesting that Americans rejected Pence’s interpretation of events. The author, who claimed to be traveling in Los Angeles, wrote, “the Americans I talked to during my trip all thought that Washington’s China policy was ‘inconsistent” and ‘fluctuating.'”

In an earlier column, the People’s Daily similarly accused Pence of making “Chinese youths feel shocked and confused about how China-US relations will develop.”

“The US vice president said China seeks to militarize the South China Sea. But it is the US that has been carrying out military drills there, deploying many advanced weapons and continuously building new military bases there,” the piece continued.

The Global Times was among the first to attack Pence following his speech, warning that explaining China’s plan for world conquest could lead to a “new Cold War.” The fact that Chinese state outlets are still attacking a speech over a week old is unusual, however, and an indication that Pence identified issues sensitive to the Communist Party.

In his speech last week, Pence warned that “Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach, using political, economic, and military tools, as well as propaganda, to advance its influence and benefit its interests in the United States.” He detailed threats including Chinese attempts at meddling in U.S. elections, the “wholesale theft of American technology,” “an unparalleled surveillance state,” and the use of debt traps to force developing states to support pro-China policies.

“The Chinese Communist Party is rewarding or coercing American businesses, movie studios, universities, think tanks, scholars, journalists, and local, state, and federal officials,” he warned, adding that policies meant to contain China appear to be working given how much effort China’s propaganda arms are making at maligning President Trump.

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