Today, the Chinese Communist Party’s main propaganda newspaper, the People’s Daily, refused to run an Op-ed written by our Ambassador in Beijing, Terry Branstad, citing a litany of grievances. Ironically, the Op-ed called for more positive relations between our two countries and asked to “build relationships through unrestricted engagement and uncensored discussion.” The People’s Daily’s response once again exposes the Chinese Communist Party’s fear of free speech and serious intellectual debate – as well as Beijing’s hypocrisy when it complains about lack of fair and reciprocal treatment in other countries.
In contrast, in our vibrant and confident democracy, Chinese government officials have enjoyed the ability to talk directly to the American people and provided its government’s views through our free media. China’s Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai alone has published five Op-eds this year in prominent U.S. news outlets such as the Washington Post and Politico, and given exclusive interviews to the likes of CNN and CBS. China’s Foreign Ministry and state-owned propaganda organs like the Global Times and China Daily regularly use free access to American social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to attack our policies, our way of life, and the very system that protects their ability to speak freely. They do this in other democratic countries, too.
If Communist China is sincere about becoming a mature power and strengthening relations with the free world, General Secretary Xi Jinping’s government would respect the right for Western diplomats to speak directly to the Chinese people, allow foreign journalists back into China, and stop the intimidation and harassment of investigative journalists, foreign and Chinese, who strive to uphold the integrity of the fifth estate to serve the public good. Their refusal to do so shows just how much China’s unelected Party elites fear their own people’s free-thinking and the free world’s judgment about their governance practices inside China.
Read the proposed Op-ed by Ambassador Branstad here.
Read the response from the People’s Daily here.