The U.S. ambassador to China, former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), is criticizing "propaganda" from Beijing that ran in the Des Moines Register.
"In disseminating its propaganda, China’s government is availing itself of America’s cherished tradition of free speech and a free press by placing a paid advertisement in the Des Moines Register," Branstad wrote in the newspaper on Sunday.
"In contrast, at the newsstand down the street here in Beijing, you will find limited dissenting voices and will not see any true reflection of the disparate opinions that the Chinese people may have on China’s troubling economic trajectory, given that media is under the firm thumb of the Chinese Communist Party," Branstad added, noting that "one of China's most prominent" papers refused to publish his op-ed.
The Des Moines Register published a four-page insert paid for by The China Daily, a government-run media company, last Sunday.
The insert included arguments for ending the trade war between the U.S. and China and praise for the benefits of resuming trade, particularly for Iowa. The state's main exports are corn and soy, which Beijing has tariffed in response to U.S. import taxes on Chinese goods. The paper reported earlier this month that President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE's trade wars in total may cost Iowa farmers up to $2.2 billion.
Branstad went on to defend the Trump administration's efforts to leverage a better trade deal with China in his op-ed on Sunday.
"The administration implemented tariffs to obtain elimination of China’s unfair policies and begin to level the playing field between American companies and their Chinese competitors," Branstad wrote.
He added that the administration "does not take the imposition of tariffs lightly" and recognizes that "the entire world benefits from free trade."
"Unfortunately, China has responded to such action by taking further steps to harm American workers, farmers and businesses through retaliatory actions — and is now doubling down on that bullying by running propaganda ads in our own free press," Branstad wrote.
Trump last Wednesday ripped China for placing the insert, saying China did so "because we are beating them on Trade, opening markets, and the farmers will make a fortune when this is over!"
China is actually placing propaganda ads in the Des Moines Register and other papers, made to look like news. That’s because we are beating them on Trade, opening markets, and the farmers will make a fortune when this is over! pic.twitter.com/ppdvTX7oz1— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2018
Tensions between China and the U.S. are increasing on security issues as well.
China also announced last week that it was working with Russia and the European Union to undermine U.S. sanctions against Iran.