In an "exceedingly rare" accusation on Thursday, the US director of national intelligence called China "the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War II." China is now responding to John Ratcliffe's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, and it isn't happy about it. At a Friday presser, the country's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, called Ratcliffe's slam a "hodgepodge of lies" and a repeat tactic to "[smear] China and [play] up the China threat by any means," the AP reports. "We hope that American politicians will respect the facts, stop making and selling fake news, stop fabricating and spreading political viruses and lies, and stop damaging Sino-US relations," Hua continued, per the Guardian. "Otherwise it will only further damage the credibility of the United States."
Reuters reports on similar comments from a rep for the Chinese Embassy in the US, who said Ratcliffe's remarks were "fact-distorting" and demonstrated "the entrenched Cold War mindset and ideological prejudices of some people on the US side." The Guardian reports that, under President Trump, China's relationship with the US has fallen "to historic lows," with trade, technology, spying, media freedom, and human rights issues among the bones of contention, per AFP. Not that China is welcoming President-elect Joe Biden with open arms, either: The Guardian notes that, after Biden earlier this week said his priorities on China would include combatting its "abusive [trade] policies," China's state-controlled Global Times blasted Biden's plans as being "bad news" to both the US and Chinese economies, adding that the US "cannot afford an ongoing trade war." (Read more China stories.)