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Beijing slams fictional source in book penned by White House adviser

By ZHOU JIN | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-23 07:32
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro listens to a news conference about a presidential executive order relating to military veterans outside of the West Wing of the White House in Washington, March 4, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

Beijing has slammed the inclusion of a fictitious anti-China expert in a book by Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, saying on Tuesday it is ridiculous and dangerous to make policies on the basis of lies.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular news conference that making and peddling lies will not only impact and threaten normal international relations and order, but will damage the interests of the United States in the long run.

Reuters reported that Navarro invented and quoted an economist named Ron Vara in his 2011 book Death by China.

The news service cited Tessa Morris-Suzuki, an emeritus professor at Australian National University, as saying Vara's name had appeared a dozen times in six of Navarro's nonfiction books but no such person could be found.

Navarro said in a statement that the name he used was "a whimsical device and pen name I've used throughout the years for opinions and purely entertainment value, not as a source of fact".

Hua said, "The international community had been in uproar and shocked by the report."

She said that some people in the US have resorted to extreme measures to suppress and smear China out of selfish interests or political motives.

Hua said that by making up lies, the US started wars in Iraq and Syria. Its lies continue on issues relating to the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Huawei, 5G and the Belt and Road Initiative, she added.

Stressing that she hopes some people would return to reason as soon as possible, Hua said some opinions or arguments that certain people in the US are trying to sell should be carefully screened.

Pearson, publisher of the book, said in a statement that it is amending current inventory and all future reprints and editions to alert readers that the book contains a fictional character.

As a trade adviser for US President Donald Trump, Navarro has taken a hawkish attitude toward trade with China.

"This development should tell you everything you need to know about Trump's China policy and the so-called expertise behind it," British political and international relations analyst Tom Fowdy said in an article published by China Global Television Network's website.

Fowdy said that far from being culturally, politically and historically informed on issues, the White House is completely driven by prejudice and the low-hanging fruit of populist nationalism, thriving off a confrontation with China rather than a serious appeal to facts and reason.

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