Host of China’s Overseas Propaganda Network Interviewed on CNBC

By Cathy He
Cathy He
Cathy He
China Reporter
Cathy He is a New York-based reporter focusing on China-related topics. She previously worked as a government lawyer in Australia. She joined the Epoch Times in February 2018.
September 4, 2019 Updated: September 5, 2019

A Chinese state-media host echoed the Chinese regime’s propaganda in depicting the Hong Kong protesters as “rioters” during an appearance on U.S. cable television on Sept. 3.

Liu Xin, host of a talk show on China Global Television Network (CGTN), the overseas arm of China’s state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), was interviewed on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” to discuss the ongoing Hong Kong protests and the U.S.-China trade war.

CGTN is a registered agent of a foreign government under U.S. law.

According to CNBC’s website, the cable television channel entered into a collaboration with CCTV’s business channel, Global Connection Show, in June 2010, allowing CNBC’s market updates to be broadcast to 400 million households across China.

The state-media host first made headlines in June when she went head-to-head in a live televised debate about the trade war with Fox Business host Trish Reagan.

Liu was introduced by CNBC host Seema Mody as “host on China Global Television Network, or CGTN, which is run by China’s Communist Party.” At the end of the interview, Mody thanked Liu for “providing the perspective of the Chinese.”

Hong Kong

When asked about the crisis in Hong Kong, Liu called a portion of the protesters “rioters” and “offenders.” Those people “commit violence,” she said, and should be distinguished from the peaceful protesters.

Anger over a controversial extradition bill has plunged the city into its biggest political crisis, as millions have taken to the streets in recent months. Many fear that the bill, which proposed allowing the Chinese regime to transfer individuals for trial in mainland China, would become a political tool for the Chinese regime to punish dissidents.

“We see the violence they are committing,” Liu said. “We see the destruction they are inflicting on public property, and the interruption of daily life of the Hong Kong people, shutting down the metro and disrupting the airport.”

Liu’s remarks stopped short of mentioning allegations of police brutality by the city’s police force, the crux of escalating tensions between protesters and police over the past few weeks.

Liu’s comments are in line with the Chinese Communist regime’s aggressive rhetoric condemning the protesters, repeatedly depicting them as “criminals,” “rioters,” and “radicals” deserving of punishment.

On Sept. 3, Yang Guang, spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, China’s top agency for handling Hong Kong-related issues, made a distinction between peaceful protesters and what he called “uncompromising mobs,” defining “the violent protesters” as those being used by “foreign forces and Hong Kong separatists” who want to control Hong Kong.

“Over the past two months, some radical people have taken the banner of ‘five demands,’ recklessly carrying out violent crimes in a disregard to the bigger picture of the peaceful lives of Hong Kongers and the prosperity of Hong Kong,” Yang said at a Sept. 3 press conference. “This is not expressing some so-called requests; it’s a blatant ‘political threat.’”

Liu also said that Chinese military troops on stand-by in the city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, were positioned there for the purpose of “deterrence.”

“The violence and the rioters definitely should not think about ever spreading to the mainland, because there they will be met with a very strong reaction,” Liu said.

Trade Talks

During the 12-minute interview, Liu also criticized the United States for raising tariffs on Chinese imports, saying that it’s “not the right direction for talks to resume.”

“It really depends on whether the United States is able to show sincerity, to show good faith that it really wants to have a trade deal.”

CNBC did not respond to a request for comment.

President Donald Trump in August decided to slap tariffs on roughly $300 billion of Chinese imports, citing the Chinese regime’s failure to deliver on its pledges to buy more U.S. farm products and curb the flow of fentanyl. Tariffs of 15 percent on a portion of the $300 billion list came into effect on Sept. 1, with tariffs on the remaining items to take effect on Dec. 15.

For more than a year, the Trump administration has been engaged in a trade dispute with China, seeking to compel the Chinese regime to reform a raft of longstanding unfair trade practices including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, and subsidization of its domestic industries.

Liu also said that forced technology transfer, the practice of pressuring foreign companies to transfer its intellectual property (IP) in exchange for access to the Chinese market, was a “disputable point.”

She cited a 2019 survey from the US-China Business Council which states that only 5 percent of survey respondents said they were pressured to transfer technology.

The survey is based on responses from around 200 members of the council. According to the same survey, over 91 percent of the respondent companies expressed concerns about the lack of IP protection in China.

According to a May report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, forced technology transfer has “led to the loss of billions of dollars in U.S. research and development, IP, and technology products.”

In 2017, the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property found that IP theft cost the United States an average of $600 billion annually, and named China as “the world’s principal IP infringer.”

Chinese state media on Sept. 4 raved about Liu’s CNBC interview, praising her for projecting “the voice of China” and “spreading China’s ideas.”

‘Bizarre’ Interview 

Robert Spalding, a former National Security Council official and senior fellow at the Washington-based think tank Hudson Institute, told The Epoch Times that the CNBC interview was “bizarre,” adding that he has never seen a representative from Chinese state media be interviewed as a commentator on U.S. television.

Spalding said that Liu’s interview indicated that the Chinese regime was hoping to reduce international support for the protests in Hong Kong.

“Their goal is to… convince those who are outside of Hong Kong that the protesters are essentially criminals that are trying to overthrow the government, in league with the United States,” he said.

Spalding added that since the trade war began, the Chinese regime has sought to influence American voters by portraying Trump’s China policies as misguided.

The regime, Spalding said, wants to send the message that the trade war is “more punishing to the U.S. economy than the Chinese economy, and therefore should be stopped.”

Cathy He
Cathy He
China Reporter
Cathy He is a New York-based reporter focusing on China-related topics. She previously worked as a government lawyer in Australia. She joined the Epoch Times in February 2018.