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US ambassador: China running ‘propaganda ads in our own free press’

US ambassador: China running ‘propaganda ads in our own free press’

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.

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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 TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict 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!"

Tensions between China and the U.S. are increasing on security issues as well.

Trump accused China of attempting to interfere in the November midterm elections, a claim China has denied.

China also announced last week that it was working with Russia and the European Union to undermine U.S. sanctions against Iran.