For the latest episode in our Behind The Headlines series, Lee speaks with Jingjing Li, a journalist and host for China Global Television Network (CGTN). Based in Beijing, Jingjing anchors two popular shows on the network. Today, the pair discuss the topic of how China is presented in U.S. media and whether Americans are receiving a fair representation of the country The conversation delves into the recent events and news stories surrounding China, and how the narrative in the Western media has changed in recent years.
Lee begins by pointing out the stark difference in the news about China that was being reported in the United States a few years ago compared to what is being reported today. A few years ago, there was very little news about the country, and the news that was being reported was largely positive. However, in recent years, the U.S. government has ramped up the new Cold War with China, resulting in an endless flood of negative news stories.
Jingjing discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic became a turning point in U.S.-China relations. Western media heavily criticized China’s lockdown measures in the early days of the pandemic. Yet now they have performed an ideological 180° turn, and are now attacking China for lifting the restrictions too soon. She argues that corporate media can’t seem to make up their minds about what they want. Jingjing was one of the first reporters to head to Wuhan when the city was under lockdown, so she has a unique perspective on the Western media’s coverage of China’s COVID-19 measures.
Another issue that has been at the forefront of tensions between China and the United States is Taiwan. China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has expressed its desire for reunification. Yet, in recent years, a nationalist movement on the island has increasingly pushed for more independence.
The U.S. has a long-standing policy of not formally recognizing Taiwan as a separate country, but has maintained informal relations and offered support for Taiwan’s democracy and security. Recently, the U.S. has increased its support for the Taiwanese government of Tsai Ing-wen, including selling arms to the island nation and sending high-level officials to visit, further straining its relationship with Beijing. This issue is a major point of contention between the two countries and has the potential to escalate into a larger conflict.
Lee Camp is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor and activist. Camp is the host of Behind The Headlines’ new series: The Most Censored News With Lee Camp. He is a former comedy writer for the Onion and the Huffington Post and has been a touring stand-up comic for 20 years.