By Lu Fan
The People’s Daily overseas edition compared the meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi to the historical visit of President Nixon to China 45 years ago.
That hyperbolic comparison was in line with the rosy evaluations of the trip from the government-influenced Chinese media, which complained U.S. mainstream media had deceived the Chinese people with ridiculous anti-Trump reporting during last year’s election.
The Chinese media reports emphasized how the Trump visit contributed to the Sino-U.S. relationship and suggested Xi took the initiative in shaping the good relationship between China and the U.S.
A commentary in Global Times — a newspaper run by People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party — reported that China is the most important country among those Trump have visited.
“Japan and South Korea, where Trump visited before he went to Beijing, are the allies of the U.S. But China is not…. President Trump only entered Asia when he arrived in Beijing. Japan and South Korea are mostly ‘controlled’ by the U.S…. But Beijing is the second power in the world, and independent. It is real ‘diplomacy’ between Washington D.C. and Beijing. The wisdom of both sides is critical….”
“For a long time, some U.S. elites have taken the attitude of allies as that of the world toward the U.S., they are always wrong.”
Some articles emphasized how Xi had managed to redefine Sino-U.S. relationship during the past five years and especially since Trump has been president.
Inviting heads of another country to the Forbidden City has been unusual in China after 1949. A commentary on People.com — the official website of People’s Daily — reported that cultural element of Trump’s trip to the Forbidden City was the starting point of further communication between him and Xi.
The People’s Daily overseas edition, which compared the meeting to Nixon’s opening to China, said it demonstrated “the friendship between heads of countries is the key in diplomacy.” It noted that Trump changed his Twitter banner to the photo of him and Melania Trump with Xi and his wife, and a group of Peking Opera actors and actresses.
While many Chinese media used the screen shot of Trump’s Twitter to illustrate his positive impression about this visit, none of them discussed how Trump was able to access Twitter in China where it is banned.
Western media paid more attention to this issue, but none could confirm the method Trump used. BBC points out that although Chinese public cannot access Twitter, the authorities and top media agencies such as Xinhua News Agency — the official news agency of Chinese Communist Party — is excluded from the ban.
One commentary on the visit was titled “What does Chinese public like about Trump.” In this commentary, Global Times listed these virtues.
- Trump’s straightforward expression;
- Although he’s stubborn, he’s not as hypocritical as Hilary Clinton;
- He is pragmatic and focuses on improving the U.S. economy;
- He doesn’t care to bother China with issues such as human rights, which helps concentrate Sino-American relationship on concrete issues.
- He respects China;
- He pays attention to the U.S. economy and cares about people’s living.
This was the second article of Global Times praising Trump. The first one was published during the U.S. presidential election. The difference is that the first one praised Trump mostly because it criticized Hilary Clinton’s performance and previous policies on China. The second was a piece written to cater the consistent tone of positive reporting on this visit.
Articles on Ivanka Trump are posted on social media as they were after Trump won the election last year. She is depicted as a wonder woman who defends feminism, successfully runs a business, takes care of her children, helps her father in and after the election and keeps herself attractive. Some articles call her the future U.S. president but do not mention her positions on politics or business. Some people on Chinese social media say such articles build a superficial model of a perfect woman, encouraging Chinese women to emulate her.