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What Chinese News Reports Tell Us About Beijing’s View of Trump.

– By Javier C. Hernández – The New York Times, April 8, 2017.

They dined by candlelight, discussed thorny issues like trade and North Korea and took walks under palm trees. In public, President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China offered little more than smiles and clichés during a meeting this week in Florida.

But what is really going on behind the scenes, and what does Mr. Xi’s government really think of Mr. Trump? China’s state-controlled news media offered some hints. We scoured Chinese news coverage of the meeting for clues about how China might portray itself in the era of Trump.

An Adult in the Room.

The photo on the left, seen here on the front page of People’s Daily, China’s largest newspaper, ricocheted across Chinese television and news sites. In it, Mr. Xi appears calm and in command. Mr. Trump, slouching on the couch, could be viewed as less authoritative.

The image reinforced China’s efforts to appear like an adult on the global stage, at a time when Mr. Trump’s erratic behavior has alienated some American allies. On a host of issues, including climate change and trade, Mr. Xi is trying to show that China can assume the mantle of global leadership.

The image might also help elevate Mr. Xi’s stature at home before an important Communist Party leadership reshuffle this fall. Mr. Xi, already one of the most powerful leaders in recent Chinese history, is looking to amass even more political power before the meeting. He may be eager to show that he knows how to handle a testy leader like Mr. Trump and that he was able to avert a trade war.

Highlighting a Cultural Connection.

Mr. Trump’s attacks on issues like trade and climate change have rattled Beijing. So the news media chose to highlight a lighter moment: a performance of a Chinese song by a granddaughter of Mr. Trump.

Chinese leaders want to show they can work with Mr. Trump, even on difficult issues, to avert crises. Showcasing the Trump family’s affinity for Chinese culture may help ease concerns in China that Mr. Trump views Beijing as an enemy.

Playing Down Trade Worries.

Chinese officials are keenly aware that American workers are worried about manufacturing jobs being outsourced to China. In an attempt to temper that anxiety, the American arm of CCTV, the Chinese state broadcaster, released an English-language video blaming automation for job losses, not trade with China.

Since delivering a prominent speech in Davos, Switzerland, in January, Mr. Xi has become a leading proponent of globalization as a force for prosperity. But he faces a rival in Mr. Trump, who has threatened to impose steep tariffs on Chinese goods. Now China appears to be preparing to make its case directly to American workers.

All in a Handshake.

Many people in China have heard about Mr. Trump’s affinity for long and sometimes awkward handshakes. They wondered how Mr. Trump might approach Mr. Xi, who is not exactly known for a playful style.

When Mr. Xi appeared to walk away from Mr. Trump’s grip unscathed, the Chinese media applauded. Several news outlets published displays of Mr. Trump’s more amusing grip-and-grins on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site. “When it comes to handshakes, many other people have tasted bitterness with Trump,” read a post by Phoenix Television, a Hong Kong news organization that is considered favorable to Beijing.

Chinese officials hoped Mr. Xi would emerge from the summit showing he could hold his own against Mr. Trump. In a handshake, at least, they could declare victory.
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What Chinese News Reports Tell Us About Beijing’s View of Trump.
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– By Javier C. Hernández – The New York Times, April 8, 2017.
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China’s state-controlled news media offered some hints.
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An Adult in the Room.
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In it, Mr. Xi appears calm and in command.
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Highlighting a Cultural Connection.
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Playing Down Trade Worries.
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All in a Handshake.
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In a handshake, at least, they could declare victory.
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What Chinese News Reports Tell Us About Beijing’s View of Trump.

– By Javier C. Hernández – The New York Times, April 8, 2017.

They dined by candlelight, discussed thorny issues like trade and North Korea and took walks under palm trees. In public, President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China offered little more than smiles and clichés during a meeting this week in Florida.

But what is really going on behind the scenes, and what does Mr. Xi’s government really think of Mr. Trump? China’s state-controlled news media offered some hints. We scoured Chinese news coverage of the meeting for clues about how China might portray itself in the era of Trump.

An Adult in the Room.

The photo on the left, seen here on the front page of People’s Daily, China’s largest newspaper, ricocheted across Chinese television and news sites. In it, Mr. Xi appears calm and in command. Mr. Trump, slouching on the couch, could be viewed as less authoritative.

The image reinforced China’s efforts to appear like an adult on the global stage, at a time when Mr. Trump’s erratic behavior has alienated some American allies. On a host of issues, including climate change and trade, Mr. Xi is trying to show that China can assume the mantle of global leadership.

The image might also help elevate Mr. Xi’s stature at home before an important Communist Party leadership reshuffle this fall. Mr. Xi, already one of the most powerful leaders in recent Chinese history, is looking to amass even more political power before the meeting. He may be eager to show that he knows how to handle a testy leader like Mr. Trump and that he was able to avert a trade war.

Highlighting a Cultural Connection.

Mr. Trump’s attacks on issues like trade and climate change have rattled Beijing. So the news media chose to highlight a lighter moment: a performance of a Chinese song by a granddaughter of Mr. Trump.

Chinese leaders want to show they can work with Mr. Trump, even on difficult issues, to avert crises. Showcasing the Trump family’s affinity for Chinese culture may help ease concerns in China that Mr. Trump views Beijing as an enemy.

Playing Down Trade Worries.

Chinese officials are keenly aware that American workers are worried about manufacturing jobs being outsourced to China. In an attempt to temper that anxiety, the American arm of CCTV, the Chinese state broadcaster, released an English-language video blaming automation for job losses, not trade with China.

Since delivering a prominent speech in Davos, Switzerland, in January, Mr. Xi has become a leading proponent of globalization as a force for prosperity. But he faces a rival in Mr. Trump, who has threatened to impose steep tariffs on Chinese goods. Now China appears to be preparing to make its case directly to American workers.

All in a Handshake.

Many people in China have heard about Mr. Trump’s affinity for long and sometimes awkward handshakes. They wondered how Mr. Trump might approach Mr. Xi, who is not exactly known for a playful style.

When Mr. Xi appeared to walk away from Mr. Trump’s grip unscathed, the Chinese media applauded. Several news outlets published displays of Mr. Trump’s more amusing grip-and-grins on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site. “When it comes to handshakes, many other people have tasted bitterness with Trump,” read a post by Phoenix Television, a Hong Kong news organization that is considered favorable to Beijing.

Chinese officials hoped Mr. Xi would emerge from the summit showing he could hold his own against Mr. Trump. In a handshake, at least, they could declare victory.