According to a recent report by Reuters, the Chinese government has ordered media to refrain from negative coverage of President Trump when reporting on the trade war between China and the U.S.
Reuters reports that a memo was sent out from Beijing to media outlets, instructing them to “be careful not to link” criticism of the trade conflict “to Trump and instead to aim it at the U.S. government.”
“When exposing and criticizing American words and actions, be careful not to link it to Trump and instead to aim it at the U.S. government,” it says.
There have been similar directives before but a person who works at a leading Chinese news website told Reuters that the latest rules were "the most strict yet."
“The website was told to post only stories about the trade conflict by state news agency Xinhua, rather than publishing its own. It was also ordered to keep the topic out of the top few headlines and closely manage comments about it, according to the source," writes Reuters.
“The website’s smartphone app was no longer permitted to send push notifications on the subject to users, and the website was forbidden from setting up special pages about the dispute,” Reuters continues.
Beijing also seems to want to avoid any sort of panic among Chinese businesses and consumers:
“Two sources at separate state-run news organizations said they had been instructed not to mention the impact of the trade war on Chinese companies in their coverage,” Reuters reports.
The directives came after Trump issued tariffs against China valued at roughly $200 billion on Tuesday. The new round of tariffs came as a response to China's retaliation against the U.S. for U.S. tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods last Friday, taxing American exports to the same value.
Now the world is watching to see if China will retaliate in the same fashion, though by the looks of it, Beijing may be backing down.