On September 9, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made public remarks, unreasonably accusing People’s Daily of refusing to publish an article by the US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, and maliciously attacking the Chinese media. The move by the US was malicious and provocative, and seriously deviated from the facts. The spokesperson of People’s Daily expressed strong protest and firm opposition to this, and believed it was necessary to offer an accurate account of the facts.
On August 26, the US Embassy in China contacted People’s Daily and requested that Ambassador Branstad’s article be published before September 4, hoping to get a reply on August 27, and clearly stated in the letter that “The US embassy feels it is particularly important that it be printed in full, without edits of any kind.”
People’s Daily responded to the US embassy, and stated that the article sent by the US embassy in the name of Ambassador Branstad was full of loopholes and seriously inconsistent with the facts. It also did not meet the standards of People’s Daily, a prestigious, serious and professional media, for selecting and publishing articles. If the US still hopes to publish it in People’s Daily, it should make substantive revisions based on facts in the principle of equality and mutual respect. On this basis, we are willing to maintain contact and communication with the US embassy.
Just like any other US media outlet, People’s Daily has the right to decide whether or not to publish any submitted article and when to publish it, and is entitled to make necessary changes and edits to any article. It’s also entitled to reject publishing an article with factual mistakes and filled with prejudice. This is in line with the professional practice of the journalistic industry, as well as international norms.
For a long time, People’s Daily has held an active and open attitude to the submission of articles from international friends who are objective and impartial about China, including Ambassador Branstad. As early as April 15, 2013, Mr. Branstad, then governor of Iowa, published an op-ed titled The Unique Partnership with China on the third page of People’s Daily, in which he expressed the hope to build a stronger economic partnership with China. With the proactive support of People’s Daily, Ambassador Branstad published op-eds titled My First Year as US Ambassador and Our Global Response to Fight COVID-19 in Global Times, a publication affiliated with People’s Daily, this year and last year. Former US ambassadors to China like Max Baucus and Jon Huntsman also published op-eds in People’s Daily. Facts prove that we have always attached great importance to articles submitted by US ambassadors.
People’s Daily is consistently committed to promoting better communication and understanding between the Chinese and American people. Recently, however, the United States has been escalating political suppression and persecution against Chinese press outlets in the United States with a Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice from having to register as “foreign agents”, to being designated as “foreign missions”; from denying visas to Chinese journalists to de facto expelling Chinese journalists from the United States; and recently, the United States adopted discriminatory visa restrictions that limit the visa validity period to no more than three months for all journalists of Chinese media, including those based at the United Nations Headquarters. Up to now, it is still unclear whether all Chinese journalists’ visas, which were due on August 6, will be renewed. This leaves multiple journalists with People’s Daily in the United States and their family members, including young children, facing huge uncertainties, severely impacting the work and lives of Chinese journalists in the United States, and greatly restricting the freedom of reporting.
The US, on the one hand, claims that People’s Daily and other Chinese media are the CPC’s “propaganda machines”, but demand that the “propaganda machines” do propaganda for the United States, which is illogical, overbearing and unreasonable. The US side also spreads rumors to confound the public, playing the guilty party blaming the victim by distorting facts.
People’s Daily strongly opposes provocations made by the US, and is urging it to stop harming the safety and rights of Chinese journalists in the US, and attacking the Chinese press.