On Tuesday, Global Times editor Hu Xijin mocked Larry Kudlow and CNBC for what Hu correctly called a disingenuous spin campaign aimed squarely at shoring up market sentiment following Monday’s bloodbath on Wall Street.
“This kind of soft tone by [the] Trump administration is tailor made for US stock markets”, Hu said, sharing a video of Kudlow talking to Jim Cramer. “Their lies have become bubbles flooding the US stock markets”.
Hu – who tweets on behalf of Beijing – has adopted an overtly shrill tone over the past couple of days, reflecting frustration from the Party over the Trump administration’s aggression, manifested in the new tariff threat and the “currency manipulator” label.
On Wednesday, Hu took it up another notch.
“In one weekend, two mass shootings in the US killed 31. Chaos in Times Square reflected people’s panic”, he tweeted, along with a video.
“It’s [a] human rights catastrophe”, Hu went on to proclaim, before asking “Where’s [the] US govt?” and wondering if “US politicians attack human rights in other countries to divert attention from their own failure to perform duty”?
To be sure, Hu isn’t the only one who’s angry at Trump and Republicans for “failing to perform duty” when it comes to protecting US citizens from mass shootings. Beijing is doubtlessly aware of the extent to which the US is divided over the gun control issue and Hu’s Wednesday Twitter broadside is aimed squarely at amplifying anger at the administration.
Just as importantly, it’s an effort to cast the Trump administration as hypocrites for their repeated references to human rights abuses perpetrated on the Uighurs, whose plight Trump planned to exploit on the way to blacklisting a handful of Chinese surveillance companies including heavyweight Hikvision.
China’s human rights record was also set to be targeted in a landmark speech by Mike Pence, whose moment in the sun was postponed and ultimately canceled in the interest of keeping trade hopes alive back in June.
Now, with the Hong Kong turmoil, the issue is front and center again. On Wednesday, the incorrigible Hua Chunying (a spokeswoman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs) was back to accusing the US of fomenting discord in the city. After noting that Beijing continues to support Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hua demanded that “some individuals in the US” cease interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs.
That is (at least) the fourth time in the past week that Hua has accused the US (and specifically Mike Pompeo) of playing a role in the Hong Kong protests.
Earlier Wednesday, a local broadcaster cited central government “studies” which purportedly show that some 1,000 “foreign-backed radicals” played a part in the recent turmoil in Hong Kong. (Ironically, the man in the Oval Office is arguably a “foreign-backed radical”.)
In any event, the blame-casting and propaganda blaring has now reached a fever pitch (on both sides).
During the afternoon session on Wall Street, the Global Times’s Hu was back to tweeting. “Washington’s repeated bullying has made it meaningless to continue trade talks in short run”, he said, before declaring a media war. “China is mobilizing internally to fight firmly with the US, and all official media is participating in the mobilization”.
Then, Hu made explicit what everyone on Wall Street has already surmised – namely that from Beijing’s perspective, the current “stalemate” is “worse than the last round”.