A Chinese government spokesperson said the world is in uproar and shocked after learning a White House trade adviser invented an anti-China economist to bolster his trade positions.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reported last week that Peter Navarro invented and quoted an economist named Ron Vara in six nonfiction books.
Ron Vara is an anagram for Navarro.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Tuesday said such fabrication is dangerous.
(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN, HUA CHUNYING, SAYING:
"I think this also reflects that certain people in the U.S. have tried all methods, without having any limits, to suppress and tarnish China because of their own interests or political intentions. They fabricate and sell lies, even make policies based on lies. This is not only ridiculous, but also dangerous. This will not only impact and threaten normal international relations and order, but in the long run, it will ultimately harm the interests of the United States itself."
Navarro has been a champion of a tough trade stance, including tariffs.
Navarro said in a statement last week that the name he used was - quote - "a whimsical device and pen name I've used throughout the years for opinions and purely entertainment value, not as a source of fact."
But China sees it as anything but whimsical.
The U.S. and China have been locked in a trade war for more than a year…. during which Chinese state media have repeatedly criticized Navarro, who has advocated a hard line against Beijing.
The 'fake name' controversy bears similarities to an audio recording from 1991, but released in 2016, where a man identified himself as Donald Trump's publicist 'John Miller' and spoke to a People magazine reporter about the real estate tycoon's romantic encounters.
The reporter said Trump had admitted it was actually him posing as the publicist. Trump has denied the claims.