'An elephant can't hide behind a sapling'
China's top newspaper rebutted growing criticism in government circles that Beijing should have taken a lower profile to head off its trade war with the United States, saying yesterday that, like an elephant, China cannot hide its size and strength.
The growing trade conflict is causing rifts within China's Communist Party, with some critics saying that an overly nationalistic Chinese stance may have hardened the US position, sources close to the government have said.
The ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily took direct aim at those it said were naysayers in an unusually public rebuttal to a debate that has been happening largely behind closed doors in policy-making circles in China.
While condemnation of the White House has come at home and abroad, there are those who have spread "specious" views on the internet, it said in a lengthy commentary.
"One of these puts the blame on China, saying that 'China's strategy is too confident and high profile, incurring a one-two punch from the United States'," it said.
"Another of these criticises China saying that it shouldn't strike back," the paper said. "The meaning is - as long as China caves in, the United States will raise its hand high in mercy, and the Sino-US trade war won't happen."
However, it was absolutely not the case that China brought this upon itself, the commentary said.
History showed that the United States had always gone after countries, such as the former Soviet Union, Britain or Japan, that were perceived as threatening its global dominance. That had brought China into the firing line with its enormous and growing economy, the People's Daily said.
"After more than a century of hard work, China has returned to the centre of the world stage, and this is the basic fact we must observe in the China-US trade friction," the paper wrote.