Just as Global Times editor Hu Xijin warned last week, China’s state media has ended a period of reticence and relaunched its campaign of aggressive editorials attacking Washington – the latest sign that a deal likely won’t be forthcoming in Osaka, even if Trump and President Xi agree to meet.
Hu described the forthcoming editorials as a “tsunami of criticism” directed at Washington, adding that these strongly worded missives “actually work to mobilize Chinese society for a protracted trade war.” Of course, a patriotic popular movement will be needed to offset the trade-war-related fallout for at least one major Chinese company: Huawei.
There’s a tsunami of criticism against the US in China’s state media now. Don’t think it’s a show of toughness, it actually works to mobilize Chinese society for a protracted trade war. Mutual hostility of public opinion has greatly increased difficultly of making compromise.
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) June 17, 2019
Meanwhile, Beijing published the first of these editorials in an influential Communist Party ideological journal, according to Reuters.
The US has underestimated the will of the Chinese people to fight a trade war, and Beijing is prepared for a long economic battle, the influential journal warned in an editorial published yesterday. China wouldn’t give in on “major principles” in its negotiations with the US on ending the dispute, the commentary in the ideological journal Qiushi, or “Seeking Truth” read.
“China will not be afraid of any threats or pressure the United States is making that may escalate economic and trade frictions. China has no choice, nor escape route, and will just have to fight it out till the end,” the Qiushi commentary said. “No one, no force should underestimate and belittle the steel will of the Chinese people and its strength and tenacity to fight a war.”
The commentary also accused Washington of trying to suppress Chinese innovation.
“We must keep the initiative of innovation and development firmly in our hands, increase investment and research in key, core technology areas, pool together more high-value talents, enhance innovation and get rid of the core technology plight,” it said.
The editorial claimed that American consumers and businesses had reaped huge benefits from trade with China, and warned that the ongoing fallout from the trade war would inevitably harm American consumers (though, so far, the tariffs have been offset by currency fluctuations, as Beijing’s efforts to export deflation have allowed the Fed to stay on hold, or even consider cutting rates).
In a separate editorial published Monday, the Global Times again warned that the trade war would likely be a “protracted one” as Washington takes aim not just at unfair trade practices, but China’s emerging development as an economic power. The editorial directed most of its disdain at the Office of the US Trade Rep, which is holding hearings on whether to slap tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods.
China is already well prepared for an all-out trade war launched by the US. The trade war is highly likely to be protracted. Whether an agreement can be reached or not, US pressure on China will last a long time. It is the general consensus in Chinese society that a trade deal will hardly alter the situation.
Most Chinese believe that the trade war extends beyond trade itself, but is part of the US containment of China’s comprehensive strategy for rejuvenation.
Chinese society has been mobilized to stand up to the great game determining the destiny of the Chinese nation in the 21st century. Chinese people are mentally prepared and ready to withstand more potential storms in the future.
Chinese people hope to live a stable life and see good China-US relations. But the US political elites’ arrogance and their extreme practices toward Chinese companies such as Huawei have made people realize that the US lacks good will.
As the USOTR’s hearings continue, expect to see a flurry of angry editorials during the coming weeks.