The essay title “A debate with no winner” was used to describe the “first time in history” TV live debate between Fox Business Network’s Trish Regan and China Global TV Network (CGTN)’s Liu Xin by The Star Online on June 3. Was there really no winner?
The background to this debate, briefly speaking, is that:
May 14, Regan at her TV show said the U.S. “… has no choice but to wage a trade war against China …” (Strait Times).
May 22, Liu on her own TV program raised several points to rebuke Regan’s criticism, including some data inaccuracy.
May 24, Regan “… defended herself in an 11-minute clip and tweeted an invitation for a debate … ‘You accuse me of being emotional and not knowing my facts — wrong! You name the time and place, and I’ll be there!’ she wrote …” Liu responded and after some exchange of tweets, they agreed to hold a debate ‘live’ on TV on May 30.
May 30, “In the 16 minutes on air, they (Regan in New York and Liu in Beijing) talked about tariffs … but it turned out to be a disappointment” because it looked like a Q&A rather than an emotional debate.
Although most mainstream American and Western media did not report on or just mentioned with very low profile about this debate, “the post of the debate was viewed 130 million times, garnering 24,000 discussions on Weibo…” in China that day alone.
For at least three reasons, China benefited from this debate.
Firstly, it made history as Regan created an opportunity for CGTN to prove that the Chinese media have confidence in airing a debate with a popular American anchor ‘live’ on TV prime time.
Secondly, it shows that China has the talents to engage in debate of this kind with their American counterparts, thus arousing more patriotic feeling among the people on mainland as well as abroad.
Thirdly, Liu has become a “heroine”. Bloomberg reported this:
“… The Chinese have always lived by the saying “better broken jade than intact tile.” This explains why Chinese TV anchor Liu Xin picked out jade earrings and a jade pendant necklace to wear in her much-hyped debate this week on the U.S.-China trade war with Fox anchor Trish Regan.
… The meaning of the jewelry, apparent to millions of Chinese who watched the face-off on social media, but hidden from the American audience: China would rather have no trade deal and uphold its dignity than be humiliated.
… “I wanted to wear pearl earrings at first, but after second thoughts, I decided to wear jade,” Ms. Liu explained in an interview with the Chinese state broadcaster. “‘Better broken jade than intact tile,’ is the spirit we need and want!”
… In Ms. Liu’s mind, the earrings were just the right size — big enough to make her point but not so big and flashy they would have signaled bombast. They also expressed her own individuality: She was speaking for herself rather than her employer…”
And the key point here is: China needs hero and heroine of this type to gather a united front among the economically suffering people so as to fight a trade war against the West, when China does not have an upper hand.
The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.