Reuters contended on Wednesday that Chinese media coverage of the trade dispute with America has been relatively muted, and it was by design because the government has instructed its media outlets not to say anything that would enrage U.S. President Donald Trump.
“When exposing and criticizing American words and actions, be careful not to link it to Trump and instead to aim it at the U.S. government,” Chinese state media organs were purportedly instructed.
A source who works for a major Chinese news website said media controls imposed by Beijing on the trade conflict were “the most strict yet,” which would vault over a very high bar for the control-freak authoritarian state.
The website was told to post only stories about the trade conflict by state news agency Xinhua, rather than publishing its own.
The Communist Party People’s Daily provided an interesting example of the tightrope walked by Chinese media on Wednesday, publishing an article that attacked Trump for accusing China of sabotaging talks with North Korea but using a few Westerners plucked from Twitter at random to do it, rather than editorializing against Trump directly or quoting Chinese social media users.