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Chinese State-Owned Media Uses Gov. Newsom in Massive Propaganda Blast

Chinese State-Owned Media Uses Gov. Newsom in Massive Propaganda Blast

Governor of California Gavin Newsom attends a press conference in Beijing on Oct. 25, 2023. (Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images)

John Seiler

John Seiler

11/2/2023

Updated: 11/3/2023

Commentary
The Global Times has run at least 16 stories on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s week-long junket to communist China. Wikipedia describes the outlet as “a daily tabloid newspaper under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, the People’s Daily.”
Like the rest of the world, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) closely follows American presidential politics. So they obviously see Mr. Newsom has a good chance of becoming president, if not in 2024 then in 2028. Helping him burnish his sparse foreign policy credentials also helps the Beijing leadership.
The first Global Times article on Mr. Newsom ran Oct. 22, two days before he arrived in Hong Kong, and was headlined, “California governor’s trip to China to play positive role for bilateral ties; Newsom’s visit evidently to bridge gaps, smooth out less-than-ideal communication channels between Washington and Beijing: experts.”
The story read, “As a Democratic governor who many have dubbed U.S. President Jo [sic] Biden’s ‘top surrogate,’ as well as governor of the state where the upcoming APEC Leaders’ Meeting will be held, Newsom is expected to play a positive role in US-China relations, especially in helping advance regional and subnational diplomatic interactions, some experts said.”
Surrogate is a funny word for Mr. Newsom. The meeting is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference scheduled for the week of Nov. 12 in San Francisco. On Oct. 31, the White House announced CCP leader Xi Jinping would meet Mr. Biden at the conference.
The Global Times stories confirm what I reported in my two stories on the visit for The Epoch Times, “Newsom Junket Appeases Communist China” and “Gov. Newsom Embarrasses California in Meeting Dictator Xi in China.”
A news vendor places a copy of the Global Times, published by the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, for display on her newsstand in Beijing on April 20, 2009. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

A news vendor places a copy of the Global Times, published by the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, for display on her newsstand in Beijing on April 20, 2009. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

The Global Times article continued, “While he represents the Democratic Party to some extent, he is not constrained by the current federal bureaucratic system.” It then quoted Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, who said, “Therefore, after the visit, I believe Newsom will definitely have the opportunity to offer some constructive suggestions to President Biden. It’s a clear embodiment of what we often refer to as enhancing local and people-to-people exchanges between China and the U.S.”
That statement also explains why the Global Times runs propaganda pieces, disguised as real news, in such papers as the Los Angeles Times, as I have reported in The Epoch Times.
An Oct. 24 Global Times article confirmed my view that Mr. Newsom’s visit to a BYD factory made him “Communist China’s Greatest Salesman.” It wrote, “California Governor Gavin Newsom led a delegation and visited Shenzhen in South China’s Guangdong Province on Tuesday.
“After learning about bus electrification in Shenzhen and taking a test ride in a sport utility vehicle made by Chinese electric carmaker BYD, the governor said ‘he wants to have two of them,’ according to local media reports.” The cars cost $160,000 each, for a $320,000 total. Only a multi-millionaire like Mr. Newsom could afford that.

Tensions ‘Provoked by the US’

An Oct. 25 article continued the theme, “California governor’s praise of BYD cars adds new elements to China-US competition. ... Newsom’s surprising praise of the luxury off-roader SUV added some interesting elements in helping navigate China-US relations, which is the most complex but most consequential bilateral relationship in the world.
“Amid tensions with China provoked by the U.S. in recent years, Newsom’s weeklong trip to China continued on Tuesday with a tour of the world’s first zero-emission municipal bus fleet in the South China city of Shenzhen, where he showed great interest in the double-decker e-buses and electric SUVs that were on display.”
Get that? Tensions “provoked by the U.S.” Not communist China. That’s just the kind of phrase the CCP sought to gain from the visit. And they got it.
The SUV was identified as the Yangwang U8. Which CarNewsChina.com described Sept. 20, “BYD’s YangWang U8 launched, can float on water for 30 minutes and sail 3km/h. ... It is AWD with four electric motors and a combined output of 880 kW (1,197 horsepower). U8 can perform 360° tank turn, wade, and float on water in emergencies.”
I grew up near Detroit and know a lot about cars. I think this will sell well among rich Americans. And now BYD will have a nice shot of Mr. Newsom for their commercials.
The logo of the Chinese car brand BYD at the IAA Mobility 2023 international motor show in Munich, Germany, on Sept. 6, 2023. (Leonhard Simon/Getty Images)

The logo of the Chinese car brand BYD at the IAA Mobility 2023 international motor show in Munich, Germany, on Sept. 6, 2023. (Leonhard Simon/Getty Images)

US Free Trade—and CCP Protectionism

Here’s an important section in the Global Times article, signaling CCP policy hopes: “What signal does Newsom’s test drive of a BYD car send? Does it mean that China-U.S. competition is easing or that the U.S. side will be friendly toward Chinese companies, instead of maliciously suppressing Chinese enterprises and engaging in vicious competition? It’s hard to say, and at the very least, we cannot be blindly optimistic. After all, Newsom is just the governor of one US state and he cannot necessarily represent Washington’s views.”
But if he becomes president? And note: “maliciously suppressing Chinese enterprises and engaging in vicious competition”—obviously a case of what psychologists call “projection.”
The Global Times again: “However, to some extent, Newsom’s praise of BYD’s Yangwang U8 can be seen as a positive signal that at the level of the state governments, some people are willing to focus on practical cooperation, instead of the zero-sum geopolitical games, and to adopt an open or even positive attitude toward Chinese companies and to have mutually beneficial cooperation with them. It is hoped there will be more positive signals to be sent out. After all, China and the U.S. need healthy competition and practical cooperation. ...
“This, to some extent, represents the advanced technology of China’s electric vehicle (EV) sector. China’s rapid rise in the EV market is undeniable. The industry is growing at a speed that has surprised some Americans and made them nervous, as Chinese EV companies become major competitors for American automakers like Tesla.
“However, if American policymakers hope that U.S. automakers can win amid fierce global competition, the U.S. needs free trade and market-oriented competition, not zero-sum geopolitical games and trade protectionism, which only make things worse. It’s obvious that Newsom understands this.”
Of course, nothing is reported about China’s own strong protectionism. The Japan Times headlined March 16: “Finding a way to manage China’s protectionism in procurement.” The story: “In recent years we have witnessed a growing trend of Chinese authorities giving preferential treatment to domestic products and de-facto pressure forcing foreign companies to transfer technologies.”
Coal is loaded onto trucks for delivery to power generation plants, after being unloaded from ships at the port in Lianyungang, in China's eastern Jiangsu Province on July 12, 2023. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Coal is loaded onto trucks for delivery to power generation plants, after being unloaded from ships at the port in Lianyungang, in China's eastern Jiangsu Province on July 12, 2023. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Coal Hypocrisy

The Global Times continued: “California leads the U.S. states in EV adoption and is set to phase out the sale of new internal combustion vehicles by 2035. The U.S. state has a long history of driving innovations for climate and environmental sustainability.
“It is a pragmatic spirit that has enabled California to make outstanding achievements in the green economy, and it is precisely its achievement that has made California a forerunner in promoting climate and economic cooperation with China, and it will be among the first batch of U.S. states to benefit from mutually beneficial cooperation with China.”
I’ve reported many times in The Epoch Times on how China’s vast increase in using coal power more than negates what small reduction in greenhouse gases will be achieved by California’s draconian actions. But here’s a quote from a story that came out after mine on Mr. Newsom’s visit. It’s “Gavin Newsom’s trip to Israel and China was tinged with hypocrisy,” by Dan Walters, the dean of California journalists: “As Newsom was extolling Xi and other Chinese leaders for their commitment to climate change, he was ignoring the fact that they are building coal-burning power plants as fast they can. ...
“China got what it wanted: a stamp of approval from an ambitious American political figure. And Newsom got what he wanted, which was more image-enhancing media attention.
“What’s a little hypocrisy between friends?”

Xi Snows Gov. Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (L) meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 25, 2023. (Courtesy of the Office of the Governor of California)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (L) meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 25, 2023. (Courtesy of the Office of the Governor of California)

On Oct. 25 the Global Times headlined glowingly, “Vitality of China-US relations lies in sub-national areas: Xi; Newsom’s high-level reception shows Beijing values exchanges at all levels.”
The story: “Xi Jinping stressed that China’s policy toward the U.S. is consistent, which is mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, noting China will continue to work in this direction and hopes that the U.S. will work with China in the same direction, when meeting with California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday.
“Experts said that such a high-level reception for Newsom shows that China attaches great importance toward building stable and mutually beneficial ties with the U.S., and values its relationship with US states, as well as people-to-people friendship between the two countries.
“The recent interactions between Beijing and Washington at various levels provide a window of opportunity for the two countries to stabilize ties that have been spiraling, and pave the way for higher level meetings in the future, experts said. But they also warned the opening will not last long, so if the U.S. is eager to improve ties, it should take more concrete actions amid China’s sincerity before the window closes.”
They might be communists, but the CCP knows the old sales tactic called “the time limit.”

Xi Polishes Newsom’s Ego

As one of the most dictatorial CCP leaders since Chairman Mao died in 1976, Mr. Xi’s statements are the most important. He met Mr. Newsom in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, where Mao once advanced his murderous tyranny.
As summarized by the Global Times: “Noting that China and the U.S., as the world’s two largest economies, account for more than a third of the global economy and nearly a quarter of the world’s population, and bilateral trade accounts for about a fifth of the global total, Xi said the interests of both sides are closely intertwined.
“Xi said that the achievements of China-U.S. relations have not come easily and should be cherished all the more.
“The foundation of China-U.S. relations lies among the people, the hope is in the people, the future lies in the youth, and the vitality lies in sub-national areas.”
Except the “sub-national areas” include those oppressed horribly by Beijing, including Tibet and the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. And let’s not forget the CCP’s threats against Taiwan, considered by the U.S. a part of China. According to the U.S. State Department, “In the Joint Communique [of 1979], the U.S. recognized the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, acknowledging the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.”
Then House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at The Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on April 5, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Then House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at The Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on April 5, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Back to the Global Times report: “Xi noted that he highly values and supports exchanges across various sectors and sub-national cooperation between China and the U.S., and expressed the hope that Newsom’s visit will enhance mutual understanding and play a positive role in expanding cooperation between China and California and promoting the sound and steady development of China-U.S. relations.
“China and the U.S. enjoy great potential for cooperation in the fields of promoting green development and addressing climate change. The two sides should strengthen cooperation in this aspect and make it a new highlight in the development of China-U.S. ties, said Xi.”
This was ego-polishing by Mr. Xi. And it looks like he did a good job of it. Here’s what the Global Times wrote of Mr. Newsom’s part: “Newsom said that no other bilateral relationship is more important than the one between the U.S. and China, and the U.S.-China relationship is vital to the future of the U.S. and bears on the well-being of its people.
“Newsom said he is willing to push California to strengthen exchanges with China and seek closer cooperation in fields such as climate change and new energy. California is willing to be China’s long-term, stable and strong partner, he added.”
However, even in the United States, “sub-national areas,” to use Mr. Xi’s phrase, must yield foreign policy decisions to the central authority, in our case the State Department of President Joe Biden—and tomorrow of a President Gavin Newsom?

Conclusion: A Propaganda Coup for Beijing

These official, CCP-approved stories affirm the conclusion in my earlier stories in The Epoch Times on Mr. Newsom’s trip: They took advantage of his gullibility, egoism, and hunger for the Oval Office to burnish their own positions against the United States.
But none of it will damage Mr. Newsom back in California, where he can’t run again, nor in a potential presidential run. The main U.S. media focus, what little there was, reported him falling on a Chinese boy while playing basketball. But unlike Mr. Biden falling on the stairs to Air Force One, the pratfall highlighted Mr. Newsom’s athleticism.
Mr. Newsom is strongly tied into the Silicon Valley elite, as well as the Pritzkers and other San Francisco billionaires. So the trip also signals the intent of the West Coast elites to get back to some kind of normalcy with communist China—of making profits while offshoring American jobs to slave labor in China, or the horrible cobalt mines of Africa, as I wrote in “California Zero-Carbon Mandates Boost China’s Control of Cobalt.”
Apparently, that’s where Mr. Newsom’s priorities lie.
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John Seiler

John Seiler

Author

John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com and his email is writejohnseiler@gmail.com

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