An eye-catching report published on Dec. 17 on the homepage of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-run media Xinhua website stated, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Refutes Influencing U.S. Presidential Elections: Completely Fabricated.”
CCP media has been cautious in general in its coverage, for fear of being implicated in election fraud, which would attract a strong U.S. reaction.
The core of Xinhua’s report can be summarized with these words from Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin: “China is committed to the principle of non-interference. Claims about China influencing U.S. presidential elections are completely fabricated.”
Wang was responding to a Bloomberg reporter’s question during a regular press briefing.
The reporter carefully thought out how to phrase the question to elicit an impromptu answer from the spokesperson. And indeed, that appears to have happened.
Then Wang said, “China is committed to the principle of non-interference. Claims about China influencing U.S. presidential elections are completely fabricated.”
The reporter's question actually didn't directly mention election interference, but Wang took the initiative to address the topic—a mistake on his part. This question wasn't arranged in advance, as is often the case with Chinese journalists who attend the regime’s press briefings.
Instead, Wang just blurted out those words without preparing a script. The reporter's question successfully caught something big.
Wang’s response was a slip of the tongue, although as long as no one mentions it deliberately, the moment will pass. However, what's strange is that Xinhua made it the focus of an article, and deliberately emphasized the statement. On the surface, it seems illogical, but in essence, it reflects real concerns of the CCP leadership. Wang's response was clearly the result of repeated warnings by the CCP's high-level officials: You must categorically deny intervening in U.S. elections at all times.
While Wang naturally kept this in mind, he accidentally "copy and pasted" the answer to the wrong question.
People within the CCP know that such moves are part of the Party's playbook to deflect attention from their mistakes: blame the United States for the continued deterioration of U.S.–China relations; incite nationalism, and play tough to maintain the CCP's authority in the country.
Wang’s gaffe and the Party media’s overly zealous denial only expose how the CCP leadership is running out of ideas about how to deal with the United States.