A video showing the Chinese ambassador to the United States being interrupted more than 20 times during an interview has convinced countless social media users in China that the West is uninterested in listening to their point of view. The video, in which ambassador Qin Gang is interviewed about China’s position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict by host of CBS’s Face the Nation programme Margaret Brennan, has gone viral on Chinese social media – especially the microblogging site Weibo . During the nine-minute interview on March 20, Qin was repeatedly interrupted by Brennan, who sought clarifications ranging from whether China would be sending money and weapons to Russia and whether Chinese President Xi Jinping would tell Russian leader Vladimir Putin to stop the invasion of Ukraine. At certain points in the interview, Qin could not even get beyond saying “yeah, let me …” and “well …”. Other guests who were interviewed by the media outlet on the same day – US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and the Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova – were “hardly interrupted”, as Chinese social media users noted. Don’t ban pro-China propaganda but allow anti-Asian hate to fester One said Brennan was “behaving like a judge from beginning to the end” in the interview with Qin, while another, referring to the West, said: “they have never wanted to listen to us, they only wanted to lecture us”. Brennan’s constant interruptions fed into a narrative in China that Western countries, led by the US, are out to contain the country’s rise and rein in its international clout. A survey last year by the Global Times Research Centre on how young Chinese viewed the West found that among the 1,281 respondents, almost 7 out of 10 had a deteriorating view of Western countries. The main reasons cited included suppression of Chinese tech companies, “hype over Xinjiang and Tibet-related issues” and “interference in Hong Kong affairs and the Taiwan question”. Most Chinese would be put at a disadvantage in such a combative, if not interrogative, environment when they or their country is put on the defensive. Interruptions during interviews are fairly common in Western media – especially on television programmes with limited airtime such as the BBC’s HARDtalk , which critics have described as rude, impolite, and not contributing to intelligent conversation. Many Chinese view this as disrespectful, however, and I would venture to say unfair, as quite apart from the lack of courtesy it hardly constitutes a level-playing ground for interviewees whose native language isn’t English. Unless they have acquired native fluency, most Chinese would be put at a disadvantage in such a combative, if not interrogative, environment when they or their country is put on the defensive. Why do Western brands alienate Chinese customers with slanted-eye models? And besides, why would any member of the media expect to obtain answers from a government representative that deviate in any way from the official line? If this sense of an uneven playing field persists, I fear that future interviews with representatives of the Chinese government will be harder to come by. That would be a shame. An important channel for acquiring greater understanding of Chinese points of view would have been lost, and the world – in its bid to ensure peace and prosperity with Beijing’s cooperation – will be the poorer for it.