Flags fly atop the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. (Photographer: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg)

Chinese Media Start Mentioning Renewed U.S. Trade War Threats

(Bloomberg) -- Chinese media outlets began to report on the renewed threats of U.S. tariffs Tuesday, more than a day after President Donald Trump tweeted that he would impose higher rates to force quicker negotiations. However, the news was still limited to a few outlets, and generally took a measured tone.

Domestic media stayed silent Monday on the news, even as markets plummeted in reaction to the renewed tensions. There was no mention of the cause of the stock market plunge in an official Xinhua News stock report on Monday afternoon, while a story on the Hong Kong market obliquely said "market sentiment was affected amid trade disputes between China and the United States" without more detail.

The 21st Century Business Herald newspaper reported that an unspecified "black swan event" caused the crash, without elaborating.

Tuesday’s papers had more detail, though there was nothing about the cause of the market turmoil on the front pages of any of the five main business papers. The state-run Global Times paper carried stories in both English and Chinese on Trump’s tweets, the subsequent market turmoil and China’s official response, though the Chinese story wasn’t online.

The Global Times story was the only article on the tweets to feature on the front page of any of the major Chinese-language state media. Global Times later followed up with an editorial on the matter.

The flagship newspaper of the Communist Party, the People’s Daily, made no mention of the issue, although a Wechat account affiliated with it published a story saying the trade talks should be based on mutual respect and benefits, and that the parties should be prepared for consequences if they resort to threats as a negotiation tactic.

The article doesn’t specify what Chinese policy makers may do next, apart from repeating the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement on Monday that China’s position and attitude have always been clear.

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