(CNSNews.com) – President Trump is popular in China because he is pragmatic, not ideological, and has not so far used the human rights issue to “make trouble for China,” the Communist Party-affiliated Global Times said in an editorial Thursday.
“But there are still concerns that Trump may at some time tweet something embarrassing about China,” it said, noting that Trump is “straightforward” and obviously bears “some grudges toward China.”
The paper said there will inevitably be frictions between the U.S. and China, but “as long as the two sides are not held hostage by a Cold War mentality, are willing to communicate and face up to reality, the Sino-U.S. relationship will see improvements, and will be capable of addressing potential conflicts.”
Trump on Thursday began day two of a three-day visit to China, with a red carpet welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, a bilateral meeting with Xi, and a U.S.-China business exchange.
Global Times said Chinese people’s initial attitudes towards Trump had been skewed by U.S. media reporting on him during his presidential election campaign.
“These absurd reports deeply influenced Chinese public opinion. It wasn’t until his election victory that the Chinese public realized they had been cheated by the American media,” it said.
“Many leading U.S. media outlets are now discredited among the Chinese public, partly because of their fake reports during the elections and subjective opposition against Trump.”
Global Times listed several reasons for what it described as Trump’s popularity in China:
--“Chinese appreciate his directness, which is in sharp contrast to Hillary Clinton, who always puts on airs.”
--“Trump seems to be pragmatic on his Beijing policy, and has no interest in ideological diplomacy.”
--“He hasn’t used the issue of human rights to make trouble for China so far, and this means the Sino-U.S. relationship can focus on substantive matters.”
The paper said Trump has also treated Chinese President Xi Jinping respectfully, and that his decision to call Xi to congratulate him on the Communist Party’s recent National Congress “reflects his respect for China’s system.”
At that landmark Congress, Xi cemented his grip over party and state institutions and had his ideology (“Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”) enshrined in the national constitution, further enhancing his already substantial powers.
The U.S. government’s view of China, as spelled out in the State Department’s annual human rights reports, remains a sharply critical one.
China is described in the most recent report as “an authoritarian state” in which the Communist Party is the paramount authority, its members holding virtually all top government and security apparatus positions.
“Xi Jinping continued to hold the three most powerful positions as CCP general secretary, state president, and chairman of the Central Military Commission.”
“Repression and coercion of organizations and individuals involved in civil and political rights advocacy as well as in public interest and ethnic minority issues remained severe,” it says. “As in previous years, citizens did not have the right to choose their government and elections were restricted to the lowest local levels of governance.”
The report goes on to record “serious human rights abuses’ including executions without due process, illegal detentions, torture, harassment of journalists, lawyers and writers, extrajudicial disappearances, and a coercive birth-limitation policy that “in some cases resulted in forced abortions.”
Separately, China is one of ten countries designated by the State Department as a “country of particular concern” for egregious violations of religious freedom.
Beijing is highly sensitive about U.S. criticism of its human rights record.
Most repressive governments shrug off the annual U.S. criticism, or issue a brief rebuttal statement. But every year since 2000 China’s State Council has responded to the publication of the annual State Department human rights report by releasing its own, pre-prepared one.
The State Department document deals with almost 200 countries and territories; China’s focuses on just one – the United States.
The latest Chinese report, issued days after the State Department released its one last March, accused the U.S. of posing as “the judge of human rights” – pointing fingers at other countries “while paying no attention to its own terrible human rights problems.”