China Sends Letter to Foreign Media Outlets in an Attempt to Control Hong Kong Narrative
China has sent a letter to over 30 foreign news outlets “urging journalists to be more ‘objective’ and ‘impartial’ in their reporting of the Hong Kong protests that have been ongoing since June” reported the Daily Caller. In the 12th consecutive week of demonstrations, China “sees foreign reports of the protests as bias” therefore felt compelled to send a letter to media outlets.
“Hong Kong is at a critical moment” the letter said. “The call for rule of law, order and tranquility represents the mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong. The pressing task is to stop violence, end chaos and restore order, where I believe the media have an important role to play.” The letter was signed by the newly promoted head of the foreign ministry’s information department, Hua Chunying, and included “a 41-page dossier of news clippings to support the central government’s position on Hong Kong affairs, including what Beijing said was evidence of ‘foreign interference’ in the situation.”
Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, NBC, the BBC and Japan’s NHK national broadcaster and Asahi newspaper were among the media outlets to receive the letter. Not surprisingly, the “longest chapter in the dossier” was evidence of “foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs” using reports from “mostly Chinese state media outlets” claiming that “protestors were supported and funded by Western governments and organisations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, a US non-profit organization, which Chinese media reports alleged was backed by the CIA” reported the South China Morning Post.
Bloomberg’s official twitter account posted an article detailing the letter. “The rhetoric is in line with China’s previous efforts to highlight the city’s chaos, portray the protesters as rioters and blame the ‘black hand’ of the U.S. for fomenting violence amid clashes between demonstrators and police.”
China is trying to shape the Hong Kong narrative with a letter to the media https://t.co/iNQUcRcIe9
— Bloomberg (@business) August 21, 2019
Earlier this week an eerie comparison to Russia was drawn. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang linked Beijing’s “charge of foreign meddling in Hong Kong with similar accusations raised by Russia over U.S. interference in protests there.” Geng told reporters “we strongly agree with Russia’s stance” on “illegal protests” and have “shared interests” with Moscow on “upholding national sovereignty and social stability.”