A satirical video published by Chinese state-run CGTN this week sarcastically thanked US President Donald Trump for pushing the world to align against the US, and apparently crossed a line set by Beijing. The video was quickly deleted after being posted on YouTube.
“Dear Mr Trump, Thank you for the shock therapy about how far apart China and the US are and why it’s imperative they get on the same page,” CGTN business anchor Cheng Lei said, reading from a letter, according to a report in The South China Morning Post.
“Thank you for re-instilling in the Chinese a sense of HUMILITY. How can there be enough gratitude for highlighting the foibles of overconfidence and self-congratulation, never a virtue except in your case,” Cheng went on.
“Cheng expressed ‘agreement’ with Trump’s stance that the ‘WTO needs reform,’ and went on to thank the US government for reports that spelt out ‘China’s shortcomings’ that had helped it to make ‘tough reforms’ that helped bring in new investors, adding: ‘Hello, Tesla,’” the Post report summarized.
There was speculation that the direct attack on Trump, which comes as trade talks begin in Washington, went too far for censors in China.
Beijing has been careful to limit publicly criticizing the US president since his election, with an official directive reportedly banning “unauthorized criticism.”
“For all media, any recent reports about the United States must strictly conform with the central media; any news relating to China-U.S. relations must use Xinhua copy. Any news about Trump must be handled carefully; unauthorized criticism of Trump’s words or actions is not allowed. (January 13, 2017) [Chinese],” the directive was translated by China Digital Times as saying.