White House aides had to step in and help a U.S. television producer who was being manhandled by someone who appeared to be a Chinese staffer before President Joe Biden’s first in-person meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
ABC White House producer Molly Nagle shouted at Biden after he and Xi provided their opening remarks, asking the president whether he would raise human rights issues during his three-hour discussion with Xi on the sidelines of the Group of 20 leaders summit in Bali, Indonesia.
“Instantly, a man from the Chinese side — he was wearing a white Covid mask with a Chinese flag on it — yanked the producer backwards by the backpack,” Agence France-Presse pool reporter Sebastian Smith wrote Monday night local time.
“She lost balance without falling and was pushed toward the door,” he added. “Two White House staff members intervened saying the producer should be left alone.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to China to follow up on Monday’s sit-down, according to the White House. The United States readout of the pair’s conversation included references to human rights in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as Taiwan.
“On Taiwan, he laid out in detail that our One China policy has not changed, the United States opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo by either side, and the world has an interest in the maintenance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the White House stated. “He raised U.S. objections to the PRC’s coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan, which undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader region, and jeopardize global prosperity.”