What makes U.S. mainstream media reports about Chinese companies so controversial

Updated 2017-06-22 08:56:21 Xinhua
Chairman Cao Dewang of Fuyao Glass Industry Group delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. facility in Moraine, Ohio, the United States on Oct. 7, 2016. (Xinhua/Wang Naishui) (File photo)

Chairman Cao Dewang of Fuyao Glass Industry Group delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. facility in Moraine, Ohio, the United States on Oct. 7, 2016. (Xinhua/Wang Naishui) (File photo)

A famous Chinese entrepreneur's high-profile rebuttal of a recent report by The New York Times has drawn a lot of attention across the Pacific in the past few days, reviving a long-lingering question: what makes U.S. mainstream media's reports about Chinese companies so controversial?

Cao Dewang, founder and president of Fuyao Glass, the world's largest auto glass manufacturer, dismissed the NYT report about his factory in Dayton, the U.S. state of Ohio, as inaccurate and unbalanced.

During interviews with the Chinese media, Cao said that local government believes Fuyao's investment in Dayton has brought tremendous positive changes to the local community, calling the NYT report "a false one."

The Dayton factory, which officially started operation in October 2016, currently employs some 2,000 American workers.

In a report published earlier this month, the NYT claimed that "at Fuyao, a major culture clash is playing out on the factory floor, with some workers questioning the company's commitment to operating under American supervision and American norms." The report also questioned Fuyao's labor and safety standards.

"The New York Times didn't visit or interview any current employees at Fuyao's Dayton factory. Instead, it only talked with a few former employees and union activists, who are biased to a certain degree," said Cao, adding that Fuyao's factory in Dayton has been strictly observing U.S. laws and regulations.

Fuyao is the second major Chinese company with U.S. investment and operations that has refuted U.S. mainstream media reports so far this month.

ICBC Financial Services, the U.S. brokerage unit of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC), is in strict compliance with local regulatory policies and risk-management rules, said ICBC USA in a statement issued shortly after a Bloomberg News report alleged the company was "profiting from the murky world of shadow banking."

The Bloomberg story claimed that ICBC Financial Services had roughly 260 U.S. dollars in assets for each dollar of capital at the end of 2016, over 10 times the leverage used by J.P. Morgan's securities unit. It added that the bank has exploited "loopholes in post-crisis (the 2008 financial crisis) rules" to emerge as a major U.S. dealer in government debt repos, which could pose a threat to financial stability.

But in its statement, which later was also published by Bloomberg, ICBC USA clarified that its brokerage unit's leverage ratio, as calculated under requirements laid out by the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, has been below 20 times over the past four years, which is "completely" in compliance with regulatory requirements.

Commenting on these two controversial incidents, Li Ji, associate professor of law at Rutgers University Newark, told Xinhua: "Such things are no surprise to me, as U.S. media view investigation and exposure of negative stories as their top responsibility and also a lifeline."

"However, quality journalism in the U.S. media has been undermined in recent years due to intense competition pressure. Today's NYT reports are not as good and solid as they were in terms of down-to-earth investigation and balanced writing," Li added.

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