Taking on Trump

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Credit
Weibo

Mr. Trump has many fans in China, where he is known for his business acumen and ostentatious displays of wealth. The news media has also been kind to him, especially as he has sought closer ties with President Xi Jinping.

But Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the climate agreement provoked widespread fury. On social media, news outlets referred to Mr. Trump as a “public enemy of the world,” saying he was endangering the health of the planet. On Weibo, a Twitter-like service, a CCTV post portrayed Mr. Trump as childish and impulsive in a fake chat with current and former world leaders.

“I don’t want to talk to you!” he tells President Obama. “You signed a terrible deal!”

CCTV’s message was clear: The United States can’t be trusted as a responsible global player, at least on environmental issues.

China in the Lead

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Credit
Global Times

The news media has used the occasion of Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the accord to trumpet the country’s commitment to fighting climate change. More broadly, the government is seeking to show that China is ready to take a more active role in global affairs — not just on the environment, but on issues like trade and infrastructure.

Those themes shined through recently on the front page of The Global Times, a newspaper that often takes a stridently nationalist tone. The newspaper showed a photograph of a beaming Premier Li Keqiang standing next to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

The Global Times warned of upheavals in United States policies, but vowed that China and the European Union would “hold hands in firmly keeping promises.” The newspaper said the United States’ exit from the Paris accord would “affect the chess game among big powers.”

Chinese leaders hope that they can move swiftly to deepen an alliance with Europe as part of a balancing strategy against the United States. Here, the message was that China was a consistent and reliable partner, unlike the United States under Mr. Trump.

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