Editorial: US addicted to ‘media war’ should not be too arrogant

The U.S. State Department announced Wednesday that it has designated six more Chinese media outlets in the U.S. as “foreign missions,” raising the number of Chinese media on the list to 15. The new additions to the list include Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily and Economic Daily, among others. Pompeo has defended the State Department for doing so.

The US State Department launched a “media war” between China and the US more than two years ago, which has led to a gradual decline in the number of journalists from both countries on the other side and a squeeze on the work environment, resulting in a classic lose-lose situation.

The latest action by the US State Department is a new stab in the wound caused by the need to stop the bleeding caused by the “media war”. Pompeo’s claim that putting the latest six Chinese media outlets into a “foreign mission” won’t affect their reporting, but will only make American audiences aware of the true identities of those Chinese media outlets, is very hypocritical diplomatic rhetoric.

In addition to expelling Chinese journalists, the U.S. is sending a clear signal that the Chinese media are not welcome in the U.S. It is also putting enormous mental pressure on the staff of the U.S. branches of those media, with some of them leaving, some of them being forced to close down, and even some writers from the U.S. and Australia no longer daring to write for the Chinese media.

The political systems of China and the United States are different, and naturally the media of the two countries have different political attributes. World interaction is supposed to be a process of seeking common ground while preserving differences, and the Chinese and American media have a great deal in common and have supported the exchange of information between the two societies in the past development of the US-China relationship. There are also differences between the two countries’ media, but the differentiating elements of the Chinese media are mainly domestic and introverted, while the differentiating elements of the American media are more externally aggressive, and the difference is obvious.

While the American media is an important force in infiltrating Chinese social values and interfering in China’s internal affairs, the Chinese media, in turn, is still largely incapable of doing the same to American society. The Chinese media, in turn, are not yet capable of doing the same thing to American society. But Beijing has always been tolerant of the American media, and has never initiated a collective crackdown on the American media, as the State Department has done in its “declaration of war” against the Chinese media.

When it comes to the objectivity of the Chinese and American media, it is clear that Chinese society knows much more about the United States than American society knows about China, and it is much more objective. And the media undoubtedly plays the biggest role in shaping the two societies’ understanding of each other. This is strong evidence that the Chinese media are more objective in their coverage of the US than the US media are in their coverage of China, and is more eloquent than any position-based arguments.

Washington has gone too far on the arrogant assumption that “America is right and China is wrong,” and has entered a false and self-absorbed fantasy world. How can the United States behave as a responsible government when it attacks China in such a concentrated manner before the election and constantly takes aim at the Chinese media, when common sense tells people that what is extreme is bound to be twisted into absurdity?

China doesn’t want to escalate conflict with the US, and a “media war” is especially meaningless, but Washington has repeatedly taken the initiative to make things difficult for any major power in China’s position, can it remain indifferent? In that case, how would China’s national dignity and credibility be laid to rest?

What is certain is that, as long as the work of the Chinese media in the United States is actually harmed, Beijing’s retaliation will definitely take place. The U.S. side should not think that it has more cards in its hand than the Chinese side; Washington should know that the power over foreign affairs involving Hong Kong is also in the hands of the central government, and if the Sino-U.S. “media war” continues, U.S. media organizations in Hong Kong may also be on the retaliation list. So we advise Washington: stop while you can, don’t be too arrogant.