John Bolton book: China loves Donald Trump for embarrassing, but not parts about Xi Jinping

This is also true in ChinaHe was happy to play many details of Bolton’s exhibition in the state media. However, not every part of “The Room It Is” is so delicious behind the Great Firewall.
As for Bolton’s claims that Trump has asked for Chinese President Xi Jinping again and approved for mass detention camps in Xinjiang’s Muslim majority area, the Chinese media has been largely silent. The country’s diplomats were also tightly embraced, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that only China had “no intention” to intervene in the US elections, and that the Trump administration “clearly understood Beijing’s position in Xinjiang”.
These statements were made at a press conference on June 18 in response to a question from CNN, but noticeably missing from an official transcript of the event. Published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. MOFA transcripts often raise questions on sensitive issues.
The only scope of Bolton’s claims about Xinjiang and the election intervention in the mainstream Chinese media appeared in the English Global Times, a state-sponsored nationalist tabloid for a foreign audience. Paper accused Bolton is an “anti-Chinese hardliner” who wants to “blot” Beijing and “mud the waters of US domestic policy”.

Online censorship

The boundaries of Bolton’s revelations in China go beyond not covering the issue: there is controversy over the book being censored on the two largest platforms on the Chinese internet.

While users at Weibo, a Twitter-like service, complained that they could not comment on or share the book, posts on Bolton in China’s biggest messaging app, WeChat, seemed to be hidden or deleted. CNN was able to upload a screenshot of the book cover to WeChat, but no one could see the resulting publication.

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It is unclear exactly what triggered censorship, as some publications about the book, including reports, are allowed in the Chinese media.

Yan Duan, an office worker in Beijing, said in a group message that he was locked out of the WeChat account after sharing the PDF of the book. “The current login has been disabled because this WeChat account is suspected to be spreading false information.”

“A friend of mine expressed interest in the book, so I thought I could forward the file directly,” he said from another contact with WeChat himself. “It looks like there is a censorship window. The file could have been shared before. But then I heard many events where the messages were hidden or the sender started like me.”

Representatives of Sina and Tencent, who operate Weibo and WeChat respectively, did not respond to the request for comments.

‘Ask the USA’

The Great Firewall – and Chinese censorship in general – is a black box, and it can be difficult to determine if the exact purpose of any block is a top-down order to control the work of censors or coverage.

This is especially true for a topic where some discussion is allowed, but some elements are limited.

According to Tetsushi Takahashi, managing director of the Chinese Nikkei newspaper, a report on Bolton about the Japanese public broadcaster NHK has been darkened in China. Foreign television channels, including CNN, are censored in this way.

“I thought the book published on Tuesday worked in favor of China. After all, Bolton doesn’t find Trump eligible for the presidency,” Takahashi wrote this week. “When Chinese President asked Xi Jinping to buy more American farm products, the bait was cut when they showed Trump at the U.S.-China summit in June 2019. Xi has something to hide: Assuming he will be re-elected, according to Chinese leader Bolton. He wanted to work with Trump for another six years, but Xi’s second term as president ends in March 2023. ‘Six more years meant that Xi already trusts an extension. ”
It is clear that China will choose to focus on Trump, not Beijing. In response to a question about Bolton, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted online“You may need to ask what is mentioned in the book on the US side.”

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About the Author: Abbott Hopkins

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