China urged the United States to stop slandering and lying, discard bullying acts and respect the freedom of the press with practical actions, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.
Spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a news briefing when answering a question regarding U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's complaint that People's Daily, one of the major media groups in China, refused to post an article written by U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad.
Zhao pointed out that the content of the article was seriously inconsistent with basic facts, and was full of loopholes and filled with malicious smears and attacks on China.
"If the Chinese government, as the U.S. did, provided you with an article that seriously distorted the facts and attacked your country, and requested you to reply the next day and promise to post it without any changes, could you do it?" Zhao asked reporters attending the news briefing.
He said that what the United States did "had nothing to do with freedom of the press, but was a well-designed frame-up."
The Chinese ambassador to the United States has always been committed to promoting friendly exchanges and cooperation between the two countries and the two peoples, never creating and spreading rumors against the U.S., never attacking and defaming the U.S. system, and never interfering in the internal affairs of the country, said the spokesperson.
He said some U.S. politicians, on the one hand, were arbitrarily suppressing Chinese media, calling them "propaganda machines" of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
But these same politicians demanded that the "propaganda machines" maliciously attack the Chinese government. "Their behavior is both illogical and insolent," he said.
"Just like any other U.S. media outlet, People's Daily has the right to decide whether or not to publish any submitted article and when to publish it, and is entitled to make necessary changes and edits to any article. It's also entitled to reject publishing an article with factual mistakes and filled with prejudice. This is in line with the professional practice of the media industry, as well as international norms," Zhao quoted the People's Daily's statement, adding that China urges the United States to stop slandering and lying, discard bullying acts, and respect the freedom of the press with practical actions.