Mainland Media Bare Their Fangs Over Tariff Duel

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2019-05-14 HKT 18:41

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  • The media has been ramping up the volume of its criticism against punitive tariffs imposed by the United States. Photo: AP

    The media has been ramping up the volume of its criticism against punitive tariffs imposed by the United States. Photo: AP

Beijing unleashed its tightly controlled media this week after keeping a lid on rhetoric for months as the trade war with Washington reignited, with fiery clips from state media ricocheting around the internet.

The spree of editorials and commentaries in China's state media on Monday and Tuesday ramped up attacks on Washington and its trade tactics, with Beijing rolling out the propaganda campaign in sync with its retaliation on US goods.

The barrage began on Monday night during state broadcaster CCTV's primetime newscast watched across China.

"China has already given its answer: talk and the door is open, fight and we'll fight you to the end," an anchor read, looking directly at the camera.

"Through 5,000 years of ups and downs, what kind of battle has the Chinese nation not seen! During the great process of realising national rejuvenation, there will inevitably be difficulties, obstacles and even storms," he read.

"China's policy toolbox is ready and prepared for a comprehensive response."

The clip ricocheted around the mainland internet, trending on Twitter-like Weibo and going viral on Wechat, inviting a massive show of support from the country's legions of internet users.

Official news agency Xinhua on Tuesday accused the United States of "using underhanded means to achieve its aim" and "downright bullying" in an editorial.

If the US thinks it "can achieve its goals with trade bullying, it is really underestimating the will and determination of the Chinese people to defend their core interests," the editorial said.

The editor-in-chief of nationalistic daily Global Times Hu Xijin said, "For China it is the whole country and all the people who are being coerced, and for us this is a real 'people's war'," in a Monday commentary and accompanying online video.

"Previously the Chinese government always understated the trade conflict with the United States, only said this is trade friction but now the trade friction has hit to this level," said Shi Yinhong, director of the American studies centre at Renmin University.

"This is only too belatedly they've accepted the fact that it is a trade war," he said. (AFP)