President Donald Trump challenged a Hong Kong reporter on Monday after she asked the president at the White House press briefing about working with China to help fight the coronavirus.
YouYou Wang, a White House reporter for Phoenix TV, claimed there were multiple flights from China sent to the United States carrying medical supplies and equipment from partnership companies in China Huawei and Alibaba.
“Sounds like a statement more than a question,” Trump replied.
As Wang tried to highlight China’s efforts to assist the United States, Trump interrupted to ask her to identify her news outlet.
When Wang responded that she worked for Phoenix TV based in Hong Kong, Trump replied, “Is it owned by China? Is it owned by the state?”
“No, it’s not. it’s a private owned company,” Wang replied.
Phoenix TV is a private media company in Hong Kong, but it also has a warm relationship with China, as it is the only private television network allowed to broadcast news in Chinese.
The Hoover Institute describes Phoenix TV as a “quasi-official” global network of the Chinese government.
CCTV, a state-owned media company in China, also has a financial stake in the company, according to the Washington Post.
“It was a symbolic gesture to show we wouldn’t oppose the Communist Party,” Phoenix TV founder Liu Changle said in 2005.
Officials in China are working to propagate the news narrative that China is the global leader on efforts to fight the coronavirus in an attempt to shift blame from the country being the source of the virus, according to a recent analysis of Chinese state media by the Iskrit Group.
But that narrative faces its own challenges, due to problems with some of the equipment coming from China.
The Netherlands was forced to recall 600,000 medical masks that were discovered to have defective filters, and Spain received coronavirus test kits from China that only had a 30 percent accuracy rate.
Former White House aide Steve Cheung detailed the outlet’s relationship with China on Twitter after President Trump had the exchange with the Hong Kong reporter.
🇳Owned/operated by a former Chinese military officer.
🇳Coverage typically favorable to the Chinese Communist Party.
🇳Aired forced confessions of Hong Kong booksellers, who were abducted by Chinese forces.
🇳At least 65% of company owned by the Chinese government. https://t.co/meq4ccsDOq
— Steven Cheung (@CaliforniaPanda) April 7, 2020