What had been advertised as a 'great trade debate' between Fox Business prime time host Trish Regan and CGTN host Liu Xin was broadcast last night on Fox Business. But anybody who was expected a heated exchange was probably disappointed.
Instead of a politically charged back-and-forth, Regan ended up interviewing Liu, asking her to share Beijing's perspective in the trade fight, which Liu did without employing any of the strident rhetoric that has lately been employed by Beijing.
Liu started by correcting Regan, who had said that Liu was a member of the Chinese Communist Party. Liu asserted that this isn't true. What followed was a staid discussion about tariffs, the nature of state capitalism, Beijing's forced technology transfers and other important issues in the trade fight.
Asked whether the trade war could reach an amicable resolution, Liu said the "Chinese government has made its position very clear...US negotiators must treat China with respect."
Earlier, Regan stressed that "trade wars are never good...they're not good for anyone."
Liu apparently surprised Regan by saying that she believes Beijing should lower some of its tariffs as well.
Responding to a question from Regan, Liu said that tariffs should be lifted altogether. Offered a hypothetical about Huawei possibly being granted access to the American market in exchange for sharing its technology (effectively putting the 'forced technology transfer' shoe on the other foot), Liu said that would be fine - so long as Huawei was paid for its technology.
As we explained last night, Regan challenged Liu to a debate after Liu accused her of 'economic warmongering' and being "all emotion and accusation supported with little substance."
According to a writeup about the debate in China's Global Times, the fact that the debate made headlines shows "that there was too little effective communication between Beijing and Washington."
Anyway, the debate has made headlines. This shows that there was too little effective communication between Beijing and Washington. The US is a country where the press is largely free but their reports about the trade war and China have been colored with views of the US political elite. The voice that reflects China's views can hardly spread in the US. American media outlets would censor China's voices to fit the agenda set by the US administration, thus rendering the message going across almost ineffectual.
There were no big flaws in the anchors' performance in the debate. Regan was aggressive while talking about China in an earlier broadcast, but this time she was restrained - more like an anchor. In the meantime, Liu was humble and candid. The whole dialogue was cordial.
GT also accused Regan and millions of Americans of not understanding how the Chinese system works, as evidenced by Regan's mistaken assumption that Liu is a member of the Communist Party.
Regan's claim that Liu is a CCP member also elicited a tweet from Hu Xijin, who asserted that China "isn't a communistized state" (he has a point: As Regan said, China's system more closely resembles "state capitalism").
Trish put a label "part of the Chinese Communist Party" on Liu at the beginning of the interview while Liu not a CCP member. This shows a stereotypical recognition of China in the US public opinion. China is not a communistized state. pic.twitter.com/p2zQQInPxv— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) May 30, 2019
Though its 16 minute run time was 'much shorter than people expected,' GT said the debate was 'conducive to better trade relations'. "It is better to make such efforts rather than desisting from not trying to have effective communication between China and the US."
Once the debate was confirmed, a post announcing the debate on Sina Weibo swiftly went viral. But unfortunately for Chinese viewers, the debate won't be aired in China (CGTN said it couldn't carry the footage because Fox owns the copyright).
Because of the satellite delay between New York and Beijing, the flow of the interview was repeatedly interrupted by the two hosts accidentally interrupting each other.
At the close of the interview, Liu invited Regan to Beijing for further debate.