Chinese State Media Upset After American Media Pass on Coverage of Remarks by China’s Envoy

By Frank Dong
Frank Dong
Frank Dong
Frank Dong is a journalist with more than 20 years of experience.
January 5, 2022Updated: January 5, 2022

China’s envoy to the United States last month invited several American media outlets to take a joint interview, but no outlet ended up reporting on the event—a decision that angered Chinese state media.

Qin Gang, the Chinese regime’s ambassador to the United States, met with chief editors and senior correspondents of major American media outlets for a “fireside chat” on Dec. 20. The interview, hosted by Bloomberg New Economy Forum, was conducted in English and on the record, according to the description at the Chinese embassy’s website.

None of the participating news organizations reported on the interview.

Four days after the event, the embassy posted a transcript of the question and answers raised in the interview on its website. The transcript did not specify which media representative asked each question.

The interview covered U.S.-China relations, Xinjiang, Taiwan, and the regime’s “wolf warrior” diplomacy. Qin’s responses toed the official propaganda line.

Two days later, hawkish Chinese Communist Party-controlled media Global Times ran a piece quoting Chinese netizens who criticized “the weird silence” of the American media.

Han Peng, a reporter for state-run broadcaster CCTV, posted an article by state media on the event on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, on Dec. 25, and scolded American media for its “missed important news.”

Chen Kuide, China observer and chief editor of China in Perspective, a U.S.-based online journal, said American media outlets’ cold shoulder is directly related to deteriorating relations between the two countries.

“It reflected that U.S. media does not think highly of the ambassador,” Chen told the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times. “It is demonstrating that U.S.-China relations is frozen.”

Chen said that the editors and journalists involved likely decided not to report on the interview because they judged that Qin’s answers were full of clichés and not newsworthy.

Qin arrived in Washington last July to replace China’s longest-serving ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai.

Qin is known for his sharp retorts to criticism of the regime’s behavior while he was the spokesman of China’s foreign affairs ministry, a position he served for nine years over the period from 2005 to 2014. He was an early adopter of the regime’s “wolf warrior” diplomatic approach, an aggressive rhetorical style aimed at fending off or diverting attention away from criticism of Beijing’s abuses.

This style was apparently on display during a private Zoom meeting hosted by the National Committee on United States-China Relations, a New York-based organization that promotes friendlier ties with Beijing, in August. After Qin finished his speech, Evan Medeiros, a Georgetown University professor who served as the White House National Security Council director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia during the Obama administration, asked Qin what steps Washington and Beijing could each take to improve the bilateral relationship.

Qin replied that America to stop intensifying the tensions and to create dialogue conditions, then he added, “If we cannot resolve our differences, please shut up,” according to a National Review report citing a source familiar with the exchange. The retort shocked the attendees, which included former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, and former treasury secretary Jacob Lew.

The Chinese embassy later posted a transcript of Qin’s speech at the event on its website, but the question-and-answer session was not included.

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