US ambassador accuses China of 'bullying' with 'propaganda ads'

One week after a Chinese state newspaper ran a four-page advertisement in the U.S. promoting the mutual benefits of trade, the American ambassador to China slammed Beijing for spreading propaganda.

Terry Branstad, the U.S. ambassador to China, said Beijing had hurt American workers, farmers and businesses.

China, Branstad wrote in an opinion piece in Sunday’s Des Moines Register, “is now doubling down on that bullying by running propaganda ads in our own free press.”

“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 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,” he wrote.

Last week, President Trump accused China of trying to meddle in the Nov. 6 midterm congressional elections, claiming the country did not want the GOP to succeed because of his hard-line stance on trade between the two superpowers.

Beijing and Washington are involved in a trade war that has seen each country push new tariffs on a wide range of goods.

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During the United Nations Security Council meeting, Trump accused China of attempting to interfere in the upcoming midterm elections.

Branstad also wrote that one of China’s major newspapers declined to publish his Op-Ed.