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Top story: On Thursday evening Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he stated that the “People’s Republic of China poses the greatest threat to America today and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War II.” Here was the reaction both at home and abroad and across the political spectrum.
Left-Leaning US-based outlets framed Ratcliffe’s comments as an attempt by the “Trump administration to pressure President-elect Joe Biden to be tough on Beijing,” Deb Reichmann wrote for the AP in an article that was republished by the Washington Post. Zachary Cohen, of CNN, highlighted how Joe Biden will be tough on China, but take a different approach. For example, “Biden has said there are areas where it is in the US interest to work with China, including on climate change and North Korea, but his advisers stress that he will work closely with allies to present a united front on issues such as technology, including Huawei and 5G, intellectual property theft and China’s expansion in Asian waters and its moves to crush democracy in Hong Kong.”
Right-Leaning US-based outlets framed Ratcliffe’s comments as a wake-up call for the rest of the country, specifically Democrats who may have been less inclined to believe China is a threat because President Donald Trump made the claims first. A few outlets then highlighted more detailed strategies from the Chinese to overtake America. The New York Post outlined comments from “The intelligence chief [who] warned of a scenario where Chinese-owned manufacturing facilities employing thousands of Americans could influence union chiefs to turn against lawmakers supporting disadvantageous policies — or risk losing their jobs.” Citing Ratcliffe’s comments, Breitbart focused on the fact that “We lose $4,000-$6,000 per household to Chinese economic espionage every year. The Daily Caller focused on how “China is using human testing to develop ‘Biologically Enhanced’ soldiers.”
Flag This: Overseas, the reaction was largely the same from other western outlets. The Guardian, a left-leaning UK based outlet, reported the comments on Thursday and then followed up on Friday with China’s reaction. China’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said the article was “just a sensational headline” and did not show any real evidence. “He just continued and repeated what I think is another concoction of lies,” she said. Earlier last week, right-leaning outlets focused on comments from a Chinese sociologist who delivered marks at a forum reportedly in Shenzhen where he “declared that it was only a matter of time before China overtakes the United States and effectively puts an end to it,” according to The Daily Wire. In the remarks, Chinese sociologist Dr. Li Yi said, “… it turns out that China is going to overtake the United States in 2027” and “COVID-19 is bad for Europe and America, but it is beneficial for North Korea and China.” Axios reported that “Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, said ‘China’s military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate,’ and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.” This highlights how, for the most part, China’s rise and Ratcliffe’s warning are something that both sides largely agree on.