"Talk? Our door is wide open. Fight? We will fight to the end!"
This unusual message on the trade war with the US disseminated by China's state broadcaster during the country's most-watched daily news show on Monday night was a top search topic on social media on Tuesday.
China Central Television (CCTV) ran an editorial "China has made comprehensive preparation" to specifically announce China's stance on the trade war launched by the US in the column Guoji Ruiping, or "sharp comments on international affairs," during the broadcast of the daily news program, Xinwen Lianbo.
"On the trade war provoked by the US, China's stance has been made very clear: We don't want this fight, but we are not afraid of it and we will fight if it's necessary," the anonymous editorial said.
"For the Chinese nation that has experienced various storms in the past 5,000 years, is there any situation that we haven't seen before? In the progress of the great rejuvenation of the nation, there must be difficulties and even terrific waves. The trade war provoked by the US is just a barrier in the path of China's development, and it's not a big deal at all."
After the broadcast, Xinwen Lianbo topped the search list on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo social media with more than 3.3 billion views and 1.7 million discussions on Tuesday.
The CCTV Sina Weibo account video received more than 2 million likes and more than 724,000 reposts as of press time.
Many Sina Weibo users used their comments to express patriotic support. The one with the most likes said, "China won't provoke, but it will never fear provocation."
Other most liked comments included: "Listening to this makes my blood boil, and it is from Xinwen Lianbo! Such tough words from Xinwen Lianbo…," "This is what a great power should do." and "No matter what differences and arguments we have in normal times in this great family, the family members will surely unite as one when the enemy is outside the door."
Diao Daming, assistant professor at Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times that "this kind of warning, directly talking about a 'fight' and clearly pointing at the US, is very unusual in recent history after China and the US built formal diplomatic ties."
Even after the 1999 NATO airstrike on the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade and the 2001 South China Sea aircraft collision, China didn't release words as tough as this, Lü Xiang, a research fellow of China-US relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times.
"This proves that the China-US relationship is probably facing the most serious and unprecedented challenge."
Do your own thing
Aside from delivering the tough message, the CCTV editorial also told people the most important mission at this stage, Diao said.
"That is 'do your own thing,' whether for the government or any ordinary Chinese national," Diao noted.
"No matter how the external situation changes, for China, the most important mission is to do its own thing well... deepening reform and pushing opening-up, to realize high-quality economic development," the editorial said.
Chinese internet users expressed their confidence in the country after watching Monday's Xinwen Lianbo.
A 27-year-old Beijing financial worker surnamed Gao told the Global Times that "although the trade war brought great pressure to the financial sector, there is no need to complain at our country because it was the US who took the first shot."
Announcing the Chinese tariffs less than an hour before the US stock market opened on Monday was "definitely a well planned retaliation," he said. "I have confidence in my country in this fight."
Ordinary Chinese would hardly notice the impact of the trade war, a 32-year-old state-owned enterprise employee surnamed Zhang told the Global Times.
Most people would be fine as long as "you don't do foreign trade business, work in the international finance industry or speculate on the stock market, and this shows that Chinese society was well organized and well prepared," he said.