U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad is calling out Beijing for “disseminating its propaganda" in the Des Moines Register, saying it’s taking advantage of America’s free press.
In commentary posted Sunday in the Register, the former GOP Iowa governor blasted a four-page insert Sept. 23 that was paid for by The China Daily, a government-run media company.
"In disseminating its propaganda, China’s government is availing itself of America’s cherished tradition of free speech and a free press by placing a paid advertisement in the Des Moines Register," Branstad wrote.
"In contrast, at the newsstand down the street here in Beijing, you will find limited dissenting voices and will not see any true reflection of the disparate opinions that the Chinese people may have on China’s troubling economic trajectory, given that media is under the firm thumb of the Chinese Communist Party," he wrote, adding that "one of China's most prominent" papers refused to publish his opinion piece.
The insert included arguments for ending the trade war between the United States and China, and praise for the benefits of resuming trade, particularly for Iowa, according to The Hill.
The Register has reported America’s trade war with China could cost Iowa corn and soy farmers up to $2.2 billion.
"The administration implemented tariffs to obtain elimination of China’s unfair policies and begin to level the playing field between American companies and their Chinese competitors," Branstad wrote, adding the Trump administration "does not take the imposition of tariffs lightly" and recognizes "the entire world benefits from free trade."
"Unfortunately, China has responded to such action by taking further steps to harm American workers, farmers and businesses through retaliatory actions — and is now doubling down on that bullying by running propaganda ads in our own free press," he wrote.
President Donald Trump last week tweeted his displeasure with the China insert, saying China did so "because we are beating them on Trade, opening markets, and the farmers will make a fortune when this is over!"
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