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Beijing sent another warning shot to Washington on Thursday, with its state media accusing the US of mobster mentality. In an editorial, state newspaper China Daily said that China's still trying to avoid a trade war. But in the face of America's, quote, ever greater demand for protection money, it has no choice but to fight back.
State media has been increasingly critical of the US in recent days, but sources close to Beijing tell Reuters that same aggressive tone may be opening up divides within China's ruling communist party. Reuters' Ben Blanchard explains.>> Previously before the trade war happened, this wasn't really an issue. This was a message that was pushed extremely strongly by the government.
But now there's been a bit of a backlash in China, and there's in senior communist party circles, it's caused a bit of a rift. This idea that China has, in fact, been too nationalistic. And all this has done is just making the Americans much more nervous, and much more enthusiastic and keen to push this trade war as a way, or as the Americans see it, rebalancing trade with China.
>> Two sources tell Reuters the blowback could reach an aide close to Xi himself. Wang Huning is the architect of the China Dream, Xi's slogan and vision for a strong and prosperous China. But even Wang's in trouble for hyping up China a little too much, according to sources.
>> Moving forward it is likely that the Chinese government is going to adjust the tone of its propaganda message. In fact, there's already been signs that it's been doing so. CGTN, which is state television's English language news channel, and it's aimed at a foreign audience. They've been putting out stories about how the trade war is going to affect ordinary Americans because they won't be able to get such cheap goods from China, about how it's going to affect negatively the US economy.
And that's sort of a different message than we have heard previously from other state media outlets.>> But the thinking in Chinese government circles is that the damage has already been done. And that China's learning the hard way its propaganda is now being scrutinized abroad in a way it never was before.