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Friday Musings on China's Bad Press in the West

I have been thinking about two questions about China’s image in the Western Media (AKA “international public opinion”).

Question 1: Why is China portrayed as either collapsing (“this time it’s over for China”, “chaos”) or menacing (the “China threat”) so prevalently (despite notable exceptions)? Why these particular traits?

Question 2: How should the Chinese (在朝和在野的中国人) react to their national image in the “international public opinion”? Particularly, what should we do about our “bad press”?

One’s answer to question 2 depends on his or her answer to question 1.

Potential answers to question 1 that I can think of include (1) lack of access to accurate information about the situation in China, (2) inadequate mental capacity among the Western “China watchers” to process the information and (3) deliberate manipulation of the information to create and sustain a pre-conceived image (the China Mirage) in the West. Options (1) and (2) can be quickly dismissed as unlikely. Option three, the deliberate distortion of China’s image, needs examination.

The word “deliberate” is not equivalent to “conscious”. People do things deliberately without conscious intention. These actions are triggered by routines of pursuing entrenched goals, and require no conscious monitoring. Reflective insight is not always necessary for deliberate actions. “Deliberate actions” simply refer to those guided by goals and motives, which may lie deep in one’s subconscious. What are the subconscious motives driving the distortion of China’s image in the Western Media? This question relates to the social function(s) of the Western media, i.e., the purpose(s) they serve. I do not pretend to possess the training to come up with thorough analyses of this complex issue. I have just read a little bit of Herbert Marcuse (I always mix him up with Jürgen Habermas, don’t know why, somehow foreign names always get me) and found his theoretical framework compelling.

The western media are an instrument for the control of the Western population (contrary to popular beliefs about their mission to enlighten). They serve this function by creating artificial needs in citizens and enslaving each individual with the pursuit of these needs (One-Dimensional Man, 1964). This notion can be traced back to Carl Marx’s concept of “alienation”; individuals in capitalist societies are deprived of their authentic need for creativity and self-actualization (Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow), with their labor turned into a “commodity”. Marcuse’s analyses of consumerism in “post-industrial” (Western) societies illustrate this strategy of enslavement. By creating a need for an i-pod, a new car, a big house, vacation in Cancun, plastic surgery, losing weight and etc., the “society” enslaves people in a fervent pursuit (toil) for constantly evolving materials objects, which themselves are created with labor (toil). (It seems to me Marcuse is a Buddhist. His emancipation must come from becoming a Buddhist monk(出家和尚), reducing one’s material needs to a bare minimum, just the robe on his back and a begging bowl in his hand). The pursuit is set in motion by “scarcity” (per Marx).

One can apply this framework to the distortion of the Image of China (trashing or bashing China) in the Western media. The intended audience of the Western media is the Western population. The purpose of creating a collapsing/menacing China Mirage is to allow the ruling class to control discontent among the Western populations. The control is implemented with the creation of psychological needs associated with two basic emotions, fear and (low) self-esteem.

Fear is created by the scarcity of security (or the impression of such a scarcity, from fear mongering). Fear is necessary for controlling the population; it drives the pursuit of stability through accepting and maintaining status quo. Whenever there is a formidable rival from outside, the population is willing to concentrate on coping with outside threat and make personal sacrifices (be model slaves). Foreign (e.g., Chinese) threat gives the masters in Western societies the excuse to oppress the slaves more forcefully. They can call dissidents traitors (un-American or unpatriotic), and pass the Patriot Act. The Americans have always needed a rival, be it the Soviet Union or China (the commie infidels), or the Muslim World (the Satan followers, axis of evil), for a sense of national purpose. This sense of national purpose is the instrument for driving the flock of slaves to elect their masters over and over again (One-Dimensional Man, 1964), instead of challenging the “system”. Why do the rednecks (I use this term with affection, no disrespect) of the American heartland keep installing Republican politicians as their masters, who then team up with the business interests to screw the rednecks really hard? It is fear. The menacing China Mirage serves the purpose of inducing fear in the masses, just like communism and Islam. Once fear is induced in the masses, the associated need for security can be satisfied only by the masters in the government and congress, with Wars on Terror, (Cold) Wars against Commies, trade barriers, anti-immigration laws, stimulus packages and so forth. The slaves freely elect their masters, the cycle continues……

Fear is an inhibiting force; it creates obedient slaves. However, excessive fear of alien forces (e.g., the Chinese or Islam) creates low self-esteem, an agitating and stirring emotion. Collective low self-esteem in the masses may lead to discontent with the ruling class (the masters). Fear creates a need for psychological comfort, the protection of self-esteem, the burning desire to be told that there is someone even more miserable than you are, someone even you can patronize. Here the China Mirage again comes to the rescue. China’s collapsing image created by the Western media is used for “downward comparison”, to dilute the pain from the problems in the Western societies and boost their citizens’ collective self-esteem. This trend gets stronger at times of internal turmoil in Western societies. When the Westerner is in pain (e.g. economic meltdown, or even better, when having his livelihood squeezed by “cheap Chinese labor”), he needs to feel better off than “the Other”. “When you read about the suffering of all the unfortunate people in communist China (or watch ’em on TV), you feel happy and grateful about what you have in this great nation. You are such a lucky s.o.b. to have been born in the USA. Go USA, go….” With this mentality the American redneck would put up with losing his minimal-wage job of flipping burgers and living in a trailer park, leaving the AIG executives continue to enjoy their private jets and million-dollar yachts. He may even enjoy the showmanship in the Congress and presidential elections, as long as the Chinese are living in deeper misery (or so he thinks). Armed with the mirage of miserable Chinese and a China on the verge of collapse provided by the Western “free press”, he lives happily as a slave that freely elects his master (in Marcuse’s own words) to screw him ever harder.

Part of the Western media will never give up the practice of painting China either as menacing or on the verge of collapse or chaos. The China Mirage serves a dual purpose for them, generating fear (the need for security) and assuaging fear (offering a sense of security with the psychological comfort of downward comparison). The source of the problem in China’s image is not in China, but in the West. The Western culture and societies need to hold on to these images of “The Other” for their own functioning. By creating a false dichotomy between the mirages of Western “democracy” and Chinese dictatorship or authoritarianism, i.e., by trashing “the Other” or the alternative, the western media forcefully drive the (mostly poorly educated and ill informed) masses to cling to the status quo (with their guns and religion, per presidential candidate Obama). In recent years it has become patently clear that the real threat of China’s success to the West is not economic or military, but ideological/psychological, by offering a viable alternative of political economy to the so called Western Democracy (citations???). In this aspect, a large part (not the entirety) of the Western media is a comrade of Christian religious fundamentalism and old-fashioned racism in their approach to China.

How about question 2? I think the answer is clear, if you accept my answer to question 1.

Sorry about my abrasive use of the English language. I hope you see my progress in becoming civilized.

BXBQ

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  1. Berlin
    March 27th, 2009 at 21:28 | #1

    China should focus on doing what is right and what is in Chinese people’s best interest, and stop worrying about what the western media think of the country, except when it helps us to gain a better understanding of what is right and what is in our best interest. Caring too much about “image” or “face” isn’t doing either China or the world much good. It is rather trivial and it distracts from solving real problems especially domestically.

    I kind of like Jiang Kai-shek’s saying of “to ward off enemies from outside, you have to first straighten your own house.” (攘外必先安内), though I might be quoting this out of context for a new context.

  2. March 27th, 2009 at 21:45 | #2

    Here is an answer to question 1 at two the individual level.

    At an individual level, Western press is so biased because individual reporters and editors are romantic ideologues. Reporters and editors of the press are never the smartest nor most insightful students. Neither are they that well paid.

    So what drives reporters? A vision of their profession as a noble profession!

    Western reporters are driven by a notion of aggrandized self-importance: they want to see and report the world – and in that process – to change the world for the better!!

    These reporters see a China that does not have Western style freedom of press. Not particularly deep or insightful individuals, these reporters also believe in the deeply ingrained Western attitude that democracy, freedom, and human rights is the cure-all and be-all of the world problems. When you have these two facets in combination, you get the genesis of the Western ideologue with a megaphone – i.e. the Western reporter.

    Let’s also not forget: China bashing sells both ideologically (look how bad they are … and conversely look how good we are!) as well as politically (look how threatening they are … let’s give our military apparatus more budget to work with!).

    Reporters rightly see an opportunity for career advancement through China bashing.

    I can also go into the structural problems – i.e. profit oriented media in combination with a public that is distinctly lacking in intellectual vigor … that have been raised with superficial understandings of freedom, democracy, human rights … that have grown fat becoming too complacent and comfortable ignoring the rest of the world…

    But that might open a can of worm that is too big for here…?

  3. March 27th, 2009 at 22:26 | #3

    Oh – I forgot to give my answer to the second question: what should overseas Chinese do about the ingrained bias against China in the Western press?

    We can feel depressed. Write more blogs. Or hold our head high, with the confidence that the Chinese people have their destiny in their hands, and that in time, the planets will realign themselves.

    I actually feel all three – depending on the time…

  4. Steve
    March 27th, 2009 at 23:50 | #4

    I disagree with so much in this thread that I wrote a massive post so sorry for the length:

    I’d amend your questions in this way: Question 1: Why is China portrayed as either collapsing (”this time it’s over for China”, “chaos”), menacing (the “China threat”), or idyllic (“Chinese save more, produce more efficiently and the country is better run”) so prevalently (despite notable exceptions)? Why these particular traits?

    Question 2: How should the Chinese react to their national image in the “international public opinion”? Particularly, what should we do about decreasing the percentage of “bad press” to “good press”?

    China needs to sell itself to the rest of the world, not just to its own people. How to do that? First, by not alienating the reporters sent to China to cover the news. Make it easier rather than more difficult for them to do their job. Is there lack of access to accurate information in China? Yes, there is. And who limits access? The government does. A good reporter has to verify sources in some way to write a story. Having a government employee tell you a situation is a certain way is fine, but then that reporter needs to back that up with confirmation. In politics, how is that usually accomplished? By politicians ‘leaking’ information to the reporter “off the record”, but in China that is “revealing state secrets” and a crime. Because the Party conducts business behind closed doors, the reporter cannot verify sources. The worst way to get the media to be more positive is to criticize the media for not being positive and to call them the pawns of the ruling elite.

    The easiest way to increase press coverage from bad to good is to figure out how a reporter does his/her job and then create ways to help them do it more easily. Right now, foreign reporters hate the government because the government hates the reporters. Human nature doesn’t change from culture to culture. The easier you make my job, the better press you’ll receive. The harder you make my job, the worse the coverage will be. If you see me as your enemy, soon I’ll see you as my enemy. The Chinese government needs to seriously upgrade its Press Secretary or whoever fills that role in the government. They need someone who is sophisticated, witty, likeable and with a strong international background, and then give him/her the freedom to help the reporters do their job in a way that affects China’s reputation positively. Has this been done before? Yes, by Saudi Arabia, and most effectively.

    Do foreign reporters have inadequate mental capacity? Not unless you think reporters from China living overseas also have inadequate mental capacity. Mental capacity doesn’t change from one society to another. This is a racist explanation in the truest sense of the word so we can dismiss it as you suggested, though you can see that I did not dismiss Option 1 as you did.

    Option 3 (deliberate manipulation of the information to create and sustain a pre-conceived image (the China Mirage) in the West) is fair enough.

    However, your first explanation confuses media with marketing. What you wrote applies specifically to corporate marketing techniques; to create artificial needs but even here I think the concept is overwrought. For instance, did Apple create an “artificial need” for an iPod? Well, is an mp3 player a necessity? I think we’d all agree that it is not. However, I love my mp3 player. I don’t love it because a sophisticated marketing campaign created the need; I love it because it’s extremely small, has good sound and wasn’t expensive (incidentally, mine is a Sony Walkman and not an iPod). I use it all the time in the gym and when I travel. Under your explanation, because an mp3 player is a luxury, it is an artificially created need, to which I do not agree. Replacing your iPod every year because advertising convinces you that you need a smaller, hotter version is where I DO agree with your explanation.

    But this has nothing to do with media. Media can be just as manipulated as the consumer. Apple holds a convention with Steve Jobs giving a speech so media will cover it and indirectly support Apple’s marketing plan. The media is trying to sell papers or magazines, increase viewers, etc., not sell iPods. If doing a story on the hot new iPod sells papers, the NY Times will do so, but only because their readership wants to hear about hot, new iPods. In fact, the argument you posit is actually an elitist argument, saying the “little guy” doesn’t need the luxuries only the rich used to be able to afford. He only needs to satisfy food, drink, and clothing to be happy, etc. It’s taking the complex subject of material comfort and turning it into a black/white choice of all or nothing.

    In fact, what you might call the “east” is far more preoccupied with LV, Gucci and status goods than the “west”. I see more women with LV handbags in China than in San Diego, so saying it is “western” makes no sense. It seems to be universal.

    “The purpose of creating a collapsing/menacing China Mirage is to allow the ruling class to control discontent among the Western populations. The control is implemented with the creation of psychological needs associated with two basic emotions, fear and (low) self-esteem.”

    Honestly, this sounds like psychological claptrap. The “media” is a business. Businesses everywhere in the world, including China, exist to make a profit. Exactly how is the “ruling class” controlling the media to get them to write nasty stories about China? Are you saying Keith Bradsher is a plant by the “ruling class”, sent to Beijing to write stories to control people’s minds? How does that make the NY Times more profitable? How does that sell more papers? What is the incentive to do so? I’d say Option 1 has far more to do with the slant of his stories than some kind of “ruling class conspiracy” theory.

    “Whenever there is a formidable rival from outside, the population is willing to concentrate on coping with outside threat and make personal sacrifices (be model slaves). Foreign (e.g., Chinese) threat gives the masters in Western societies the excuse to oppress the slaves more forcefully. They can call dissidents traitors (un-American or unpatriotic), and pass the Patriot Act. The Americans have always needed a rival, be it the Soviet Union or China (the commie infidels), or the Muslim World (the Satan followers, axis of evil), for a sense of national purpose. This sense of national purpose is the instrument for driving the flock of slaves to elect their masters over and over again (One-Dimensional Man, 1964), instead of challenging the “system. The slaves freely elect their masters, the cycle continues..”

    I agree with your basic premise that governments use outside or inside “enemies” to keep the people’s focus off themselves. All governments do this but it isn’t always a ruse. For instance, when I was growing up the “Soviet” menace wasn’t just theoretical, it was real. In the Kennedy administration the world came extremely close to nuclear conflagration. I’m sure the Soviets saw the “first world” in the same way as we saw them. There was genuine fear on both sides that went all the way up to and included the “ruling elite”. It wasn’t a created fear.

    In my opinion, the Patriot Act is about as un-American as it could possibly be. Calling a fellow countryman who doesn’t agree with you “un-American” or a “western lackey” is wrong, because your defense to being challenged is to accuse your adversary of being a traitor or brainwashed. How convenient! What complete and total nonsense!

    But this has nothing to do with media; it has to do with government and government apologists. The “un-American” cries came from the Bush administration as reported by people like Fox News, while other media came out against it. If Fox loved Bush but MSNBC hated him, how are the “ruling elites” controlling the media? Doesn’t Fox hate Obama but MSNBC love him?

    Now let’s look at China. Who were China’s enemies during the Cold War? Weren’t they primarily the United States and Japan? And what about now? Isn’t it this amorphous “west” that can mean anything from one country to many, depending on what the most convenient argument is when using the term? I hear the meaning change daily on this blog. Who is China’s enemy? Is it the Dalai Lama? Is it Chen Shui-bian? Is it “western media”? Is it anything that isn’t in conformance with the Party’s stated goals? And how is this different from the United States, or England, or France, or Russia? Don’t all countries do the same thing?

    I don’t see any excessive fear of China in the United States. I don’t see it at all. When it comes up, it’s usually in a political context, as when the trade unions scream about Chinese products because they are trying to protect union jobs that are not competitive in today’s world. That is not a reflection of American feeling; it is a reflection of the union’s goals, just as it is a reflection of China’s goals to complain if another country blocks one of their SOEs from buying a foreign company that owns a vital natural resource, or blocking Coca-Cola from buying China’s largest juice brand.

    I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but the average American certainly doesn’t fear China. If he/she did, would that person buy Chinese products at Wal-Mart? All you need to do is talk to people here to find out that fear is groundless. It is no different than my talking to people in China about their feelings towards the United States. Most disliked the government but really liked the people. How is that different from normal Americans’ feelings towards China? It’s not, it’s exactly the same.

    I don’t know anyone who feels happy and grateful to watch the suffering of others, no matter where in the world. Check out the donations from average Americans to the earthquake victims, to the tsunami victims in Indonesia and Thailand, to suffering almost everywhere in the world. And I don’t believe the average Chinese person would feel any differently. They would not enjoy seeing Americans, or for that matter anyone else, suffer either.

    “With this mentality the American redneck would put up with losing his minimal-wage job of flipping burgers and living in a trailer park, leaving the AIG executives continue to enjoy their private jets and million-dollar yachts.”

    Are you saying everyone who lives in the American heartland is a redneck who lives in a trailer park and flips burgers at a fast food restaurant? It sounds like you’ve never been there, or else never bothered to look when you were. Most fast food jobs are held by kids working their way through school. Haven’t you noticed that before?

    “He may even enjoy the showmanship in the Congress and presidential elections, as long as the Chinese are living in deeper misery (or so he thinks). Armed with the mirage of miserable Chinese and a China on the verge of collapse provided by the Western “free press”, he lives happily as a slave that freely elects his master (in Marcuse’s own words) to screw him ever harder.”

    Do you really believe this? If you do, I truly feel sorry for you, just as I’d feel sorry for any American who believes that Chinese professionals in the big Eastern cities revel in the thought that they are better off than impoverished American rednecks. The truth of it is, American rednecks don’t compare themselves to Chinese people; it would never occur for them to do so. After work they’d rather watch sports, TV entertainment shows and maybe even the occasional travel documentary about… places like China! Of all Americans, rednecks have the least interest in foreign countries. Their idea of an exotic vacation is Disney’s Epcot Center.

    “Part of the Western media will never give up the practice of painting China either as menacing or on the verge of collapse or chaos.”

    The most negative book I’ve seen about China’s upcoming collapse was written by… Gordon Chang! Oh, he sure sounds like a redneck from America’s heartland. My guess is that the sale of his book among rednecks was between zero and virtually nothing. I bet more ethnic Chinese people read it than rednecks. In fact, I’d be willing to bet quite a bit.

    “In recent years it has become patently clear that the real threat of China’s success to the West is not economic or military, but ideological/psychological, by offering a viable alternative of political economy to the so called Western Democracy (citations???). In this aspect, a large part (not the entirety) of the Western media is a comrade of Christian religious fundamentalism and old-fashioned racism in their approach to China. “

    Are you saying that the NY Times is a pawn of Christian fundamentalists? Let me tell you, Christian fundamentalists HATE the NY Times! They HATE the Washington Post! They like Fox News and that’s about it. There are far more liberal media outlets than conservative ones.

    That’s a pretty big claim. A threat to whom? To the media? To unnamed “western” governments? To western businesses? The attitude most people, at least here in the States, have to China is that if they want to have the government they have, more power to ‘em. But we don’t want that kind of government. As I said before, when you don’t have any freedoms and you get a few, it feels good and you’re happy. But when you have plenty of freedom and someone takes some of those freedoms away from you, you ain’t so happy about it. The Chinese political system is not a “viable alternative” to countries like the United States. It might be to developing countries and especially the leaders of developing countries, who like the combination of authoritarian rule and economic prosperity. But unfortunately, those countries do not have the capitalistic Chinese mindset and head for business so the chance of them imitating China is remote.

    I am not criticizing the Chinese government here at all. They are trying to achieve what is in their best interests. The media is also trying to achieve what is in their best interest. Chinese reporters covering the United States write stories that are in China’s best interest. This is just life in the big city.

    For me, the solution is in Option 1, not in Option 3. Option 3 is just giving yourself reasons not to incorporate positive changes via Option 1 to improve your press coverage. Option 3 does exactly what you criticize, the creation of an “enemy” for the people to hate and rally around their government as the great protector. All that does is make the foreign media feel like it is under attack by the government, which causes foreign media to attack the government. Forget grand conspiracy theories and consider basic human nature.

    “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
    “All politics are personal.”

  5. Berlin
    March 28th, 2009 at 00:09 | #5

    I think this blog needs to broaden its scope. This obsession with what the West think or does not think of us really stinks. We should get over it and move on. Are issues like Dalai Lama, coverage about China, hostility from the west all we care about? I take the extreme view that we should forget about how the west percieves us. We should focus more on evaluating and improving ourselves.

    I haven’t heard of any American protesting to me how Xiahua portrays them. They wouldn’t care. Why would we?

  6. bianxiangbianqiao
    March 28th, 2009 at 04:13 | #6

    Steve,

    Thanks for the detailed counter arguments. Here are a few quick responses.

    1. I still subscribe to the position that part of Western media’s social function is setting the agenda for the society. This is what I mean by “controlling the population” by creating issues or “needs”. Creating and imposing artificial needs on individuals is the role of marketing, as you pointed out. However, media in general are also marketing; they market (different) ideas (ideologies). Each camp tries to impose its own idea as the “consensus”. This method of controlling the population is more subtle and sophisticated than restricting people’s physical actions and movements. On a daily basis the western media are creating the needs in the population, to stop “Genocide Olympics”, to liberate Tibetan monks from Chinese commie occupation, to save America from the crime-prone immigrants, to save American jobs from “cheap Chinese labor”, to bring democracy to the Middle East, to liberate the Iraqis from Sadaam, to stop the North Koreans and Iran from building nukes…. you name it.

    2. Yes, media outlets are businesses. However, this does not mean that they are independent from the ruling class. When it comes to social institutions, control is not limited to ownership in legal terms. Chinese media outlets are owned by the Chinese government; they are controlled. American media are owned by business entities, but this does not mean they are not controlled by the ruling class. The control becomes clear when one looks at the ideological grip on the American media. Yes, Fox news and NY times have different ideologies. This does not mean they are independent. It simply shows that the American ruling class is not monolithic in ideology; they have liberal and conservative trends. The Chinese ruling class is not monolithic either.

    3. “The Chinese political system is not a “viable alternative” to countries like the United States.”
    No no no. That was not the point. The threat to the American establishment is that the Chinese political system is an ALTERNATIVE FOR CHINA, alternative to Western “democracy”. It creates deep fear in the West by shattering the delusion of the “universalism” of Western values (“human rights”, “democracy” and etc.).

    “Are you saying that the NY Times is a pawn of Christian fundamentalists?”
    No. NY Times is not a pawn of Christian fundamentalism. However NY times, other Western media and Christian fundamentalists are all instruments for imposing Western ideology upon the rest of the world as universals. In a broad sense, they are all marching hand in hand in the same crusade of converting the world, universalizing the Western values. They are the pawns of Western values for their propagation, just like the human body is a pawn for the duplication of the genes inhibiting its cells (Richard Dawkins, the Selfish Gene).

    Overall, your reading of my thoughts are too restrictive. Your view on social forces is too mechanistic to my taste. But I enjoy the discussion. It allows me to fill in the gaps in my thinking.

  7. bianxiangbianqiao
    March 28th, 2009 at 05:00 | #7

    Steve,

    “Of all Americans, rednecks have the least interest in foreign countries.”

    You are wrong on this one. They have the least KNOWLEDGE about foreign countries. Their lack of knowledge does not prevent them from taking a keen interest.

    I was driving through Arkansas on my way back from the spring break trip, and saw an “Antique Mall” (an euphemism for “Flea Market”, a place that sells used goods) beside the highway. A big slogan was printed in bold letters on the outside wall “All 400 items made in USA, no foreign goods.” You see, they go out of their way to weave “foreignness” into the narratives of their lives, in a very unique and provocative fashion.

  8. Shane9219
    March 28th, 2009 at 05:16 | #8

    德国知名记者调查结论:处分张丹红是错误的

    “张丹红因为去年北京奥运会前夕反对德国媒体一边倒地负面报道中国,先被“德国之声”停止播音工作,后被解除该台中文部副主任职务。据《南德意志报》报道,“张丹红事件”爆发后,各界纷纷给德国议会写信,“德国之声”台长贝特曼将面对议会质询,焦头烂额,于是试探着问维克特是否愿意出面调查此事,并说“您享有完全的自由”。

      维克特不仅是德国新闻界泰斗级的人物,而且是侦探小说家。报道说,他就像他小说中的调查法官一样,对最棘手的事件展开了调查。今年2月4日,他拿出了调查结论,认为张丹红的言论不仅没有错误,而且“德国之声”的解职处理也是错误的。

      维克特说,张丹红饱受批评的那句话——“中国在过去30年里成功地使4亿人摆脱了绝对贫困,因此中国共产党比世界上任何一支政治力量在实践人权宣言第三条方面的贡献都要大”,正是贝特曼对她解职的原因,但是这句话与德国获奖记者花久志在《中国不是邪恶帝国》那本书里所说的几乎一模一样。维克特表示,他看不出花久志的那句话算什么“倾向性新闻”。而“德国人能说,一个中国女人就远远不能说了”——这可能就是那些反对张丹红的海外异议人士和某些德国人内心的逻辑。 ”

    http://www.chinanews.com.cn/hr/ozhrxw/news/2009/03-27/1620903.shtml

  9. Shane9219
    March 28th, 2009 at 05:28 | #9

    Here is a similar report in English

    http://justrecently.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/deutsche-welle-chinese-department-acquitted/

    “Wickert’s findings in short, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung: accusations of slanted China coverage were completely unfounded. Politicians had picked up the accusations unchecked, hoping that they would help them to get public attention.

    It’s no sweetheart report. Director Bettermann is criticized by Wickert for hasty and unjustified personnel decisions, apparently because of public and political pressure. Wickert also quotes Freimut Duve, former OSCE representative on freedom of the media: a statement by a journalist must not be put into context with his or her country of origin. Zhang Danhong, the Chinese service’s deputy manager, had come under attack for saying that China had succeeded in lifting 400 mn people out of poverty during the past thirty years, thus contributing more than any other political force to achieve article three of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Reacting to the controversy following Zhang’s remarks, Bettermann had suspended her from work in front of the microphone last year. Wickert pointed to a similar statement by Georg Blume, China correspondent for the weekly Die Zeit, which never became controversial.”

  10. Charles Liu
    March 28th, 2009 at 07:31 | #10

    Steve, I think the truth is somewhere in between you and BXBQ. While there isn’t an united front propaganda against China by American media, what we digest here are often biased on China.

    Saying “no it ain’t so” doesn’t really make the obvious go away. The fact you are drinking this coolaid proves this coolaid exists. We have a populous (when others do it it’s nationalist) prevlance, an “official narrative”, on China and communism. Is it the whole truth? I for one do not believe so.

  11. HongKonger
    March 28th, 2009 at 10:06 | #11

    # 10

    Agreed.

    http://watchlittlemosque.com/?p=1

    Susie B. Says: It took me by surprise, the message presented humorously had an impact. The story line was very creative… I enjoyed the spoofs and the contrast…. We need to see the humor in our vigilance like it is shown here, then maybe the fear would be seen for the prejudice and encounter with the unknown that it is.

  12. Raj
    March 28th, 2009 at 11:26 | #12

    There’s a sense of exaggeration here. Plenty of the international media have been reporting that, if anything, China is going to do relatively well out of the global crisis. Articles about snapping up foreign companies/shares, the size of the stimulus, Chinese stockmarkets already rebounding. There’s a real difference in views and it’s certainly not mostly “China is going to collapse”.

    I wonder if some Chinese have become so used to see China booming and the world recognising that growth that to now see a consistent number of articles questioning China’s economic/social stability is a shock to the system and their pride. So now these people are defaulting to the position that China is generally getting universally bad press but it’s all the foreigners’ fault because they’re biased and want-to-put-China-down. That’s easier to believe than the fact that there is an open debate as to how well China will weather the storm with the current response and how it may need to change further to avoid trouble.

    In response to what Charles said, you guys have to realise that all media is biased. It will always be biased because humans are biased. We are biased in terms of people’s religion, politics, height, weight, intelligence, looks, etc, etc, etc. To believe that you can take people out of their natural ways of thinking and make them like robots is ridiculous. If American publications have a bias in reporting on their own country, especially during elections, why is a foreign nation like China going to get off scott-free?

    Is the foreign media biased in reporting on China? Yes, just like the Chinese media is biased in reporting on China. Bias does not mean media get news reports wrong, it means publications often have a particular focus/lense through which they view things. The world is not universal of its view of China and never will be. Just live with it. But if you can’t, I suggest you spend more time petititoning the Chinese government to drop the ridiculous propaganda that it presents to the outside world so that, eventually, more people will believe its side of the story than automatically writing it off as propaganda and less time complaining about the foreign media.

  13. zepplin
    March 28th, 2009 at 12:42 | #13

    Why is the Western media portrayed as tools of fear mongering by insecure Western governments to distract and suppress the citizen/slaves whom they economically exploit by deliberately creating “the Other”?

    From your potential answers to the question 1 you posed, it seems that you assume the lump of “Western media + international public opinion + China watchers” are either (1) ignorant (2) stupid or (3) lying.

    You presume to understand how “rednecks” think and feel, and concludes that they are driven by fear to vote Republican, yet you are not willing to entertain the possibility of a China threat.

    I’m quite curious what the “clear” answer to question 2 is in response to the evil government controlled/manipulated media that is deliberately bashing China. A rebellion? Protest?

    I might be sounding a bit harsh, but it seems the author needs a bit of “enlightenment” himself. Western media does act as a feed back loop due to commercialization and the fact that media people are people too. But I wouldn’t dismiss China threat in international public opinion so readily. The fact is, China is a threat, or at least a potential threat. There’s no dancing around that without professing intentions that cannot be verified by the international public.

    As for China watchers, I would give them much more credit than you do. I feel that a fairly balanced and complete view of China can be garnered from just foreign China watchers.

    My answer to question 2 is do nothing. But if you like, you can convince people who are willing to listen by explaining your side of the story with facts and logic. I would avoid telling them what they think and how they are being lied to by their leaders though; I don’t think that would fly well.

  14. TonyP4
    March 28th, 2009 at 14:16 | #14

    I have written several posts that I post in the readers’ comment areas on related topics as follows. I wish to change the minds of some to Chinese POV and Chinese is not a evil empire. I did change some in the past from the responses, but we cannot change extremists and Chinese bashers that have been brained washed by the western media.

    Tibet. http://tonyp4joke.blogspot.com/2009/02/free-tibet-my-holy-foot.html

    Human rights. http://tonyp4joke.blogspot.com/2009/02/china-human-right-lover.html

    This is a little contribution that I do not know the better way to spread our message besides talking to our friends/co-workers. I repeat sending same posts for many comments in the net (try google tonyp4 tibet).

    —–
    That could be the largest gathering of western reporters in Beijing Olympic. Did they learn more about China?

    Are they allowed to write objectively and professionally? Their bosses obviously ask them to lie to create controversy in order to sell the paper.

  15. bianxiangbianqiao
    March 28th, 2009 at 15:28 | #15

    @zepplin #13

    “My answer to question 2 is do nothing.”

    There is partial consensus among the comments in this threat on this point. However, do nothing about what? I think there is nothing to be done about changing the “public opinion” on China. The image of China created in the West is for the consumption of Westerners. The evolution of the Western narrative about China is determined by forces internal to Western societies (their agendas and priorities), which China has neither the appetite nor access to change.

    However, the Chinese should carefully study the social forces behind the image of China created by the West. In these images, the Chinese should not only look for themselves, but also look into the implicit and explicit forces of the Western psyche. The Western view on China is a window on the Western soul, their fears and wants, their view on the world.

    China of course should market itself to the world. However, China should market itself mainly with real incentives and costs, not with communication or propaganda. It is unfair to question the rationality of Western societies (especially their political apparatus) in recognizing real incentives and costs, despite the utterly irrational atmosphere in the US Congress.

  16. Otto Kerner
    March 28th, 2009 at 15:58 | #16

    I think that it’s normal and unsurprising, although a bit ugly, that people in one country can tend to generate this sort of negative impression of another country that is rising in influence. The future is uncertain and people are inherently dangerous, and so we have probably evolved a tendency to worry about the recent successes of our neighbors, especially if they are otherwise relatively unknown. China is obviously the country most likely to compete with the Western world in the 21st century. In addition, the media has a famous tendency to report more on crises and unhappy events than on long-term positive trends, which is a reaction to a strong cognitive bias among humans to pay more attention to immediate threats than to monotonous processes. I see no reason to read more into the situation than that.

    As for what do about it, since I believe we are talking about the results of basic human tendencies here, I don’t think there is much that can be done. One thing, which the Chinese government has already done very successfully, is to avoid open hostility between the Chinese government and Western governments — in other words, “China’s peaceful rise”. Beyond that, if other people are prone to criticise you, then having fewer faults for them to criticise won’t stop them completely, but it can reduce the severity of their critique and make it seem less meaningful. Of course, “have fewer faults” isn’t really a strategy, but I’m suggesting to focus on general self-improvement rather than improving your image.

  17. dan
    March 28th, 2009 at 22:19 | #17

    Steve, I normally like your cool headed comments, but these sentences bother me greatly:
    ‘The easier you make my job, the better press you’ll receive. The harder you make my job, the worse the coverage will be.’
    You sounded like don Corleone.
    If this is the attitude of western journalists covering in China, it certainly is a bit unprofessional, in fact, it is down right confrontational and border line on ‘extortion‘. Can they be professional and impartial even if being denied the cooperation?

  18. Stinky Tofu
    March 28th, 2009 at 22:46 | #18

    Concern with how China is portrayed in the Western press says much more about the people who obsess over such matters than it does about how the West genuinely feels about China.

    At risk of sounding contrarian, allow me to offer a different view. My guess is that during the past 30 years or so – in spite of the Tiananmen fiasco and various other incidents – public opinion in the West vis-a-vis China has actually improved. To be sure, there have been some low points, but the trend has been relatively positive. Those among us who are frequently very critical of the CCP often view China (and the Chinese people) in decidedly ambivalent terms. Perhaps it would be instructive for the authors of this blog to stop listening to the Western press for a moment and instead visit Chinese language, history, and literature classes here at Harvard (or Berkeley, Stanford, etc.). Likewise, consider for a moment that there are tens of thousands of Westerners who study Chinese at universities in Beijing and Shanghai, teach English in Chongqing and Wuhan, and run businesses in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. All this interest and in China – in spite of all the bad press!

    Enough with the Western media boogeyman already. It’s a fight you can’t hope to win. In any case, the constant fist-shaking and flag-waving is counterproductive, I believe. It simply feeds the beast. What would impress the West most, in my opinion, is evidence that the Chinese are no longer quite so thin-skinned, intolerant, angry, and nationalistic. There’s nothing quite so pathetic as an angry man demanding to be respected.

  19. laugh
    March 28th, 2009 at 22:59 | #19

    Encourage foreign governments to put these “bad press” journalists in prison. Chinese govt already have long and good experience and expertise with this method. It will be easier to convince African and Latin-American governments, but maybe also some Western governments will listen.

    http://www.wan-press.org/china/articles.php?id=14

  20. Raj
    March 29th, 2009 at 13:57 | #20

    dan

    Can they be professional and impartial even if being denied the cooperation?

    As I said at post #12, you’re asking them to put their human reactions aside. Perhaps one can ask them to ignore the fact they face restrictions in China and they can try to, but if they fail to put those experiences aside can you really blame them?

    I don’t think they make the reports they do simply because of reporting restrictions in China, but it is certainly true that if the Chinese authorities opened the media up and gave reporters more respect, foreign journalists would be able to see the full story and start to trust the Chinese authorities more.

  21. zepplin
    March 29th, 2009 at 16:26 | #21

    Raj, so you are saying that if China allowed western reporters to freely enter Tibet, conduct unannounced inspections on its prisons, conduct interviews with dissidents and monks under house arrest, review organ transplant documents, inspect military bases, go over land expropriation etc., then this new openness will instill a sense of trust and the journalists will suddenly become professional and report in a balanced way?

    That seems naive to say the least. There should be no sympathy for a lack of professionalism, something all western journalists vehemently profess.

    Would you respect someone who says: “I’m always professional, but by always I mean only when it is convenient and my subject respects me.”

  22. miaka9383
    March 29th, 2009 at 18:13 | #22

    @Zepplin
    I was watching PBS’s Frontline/World yesterday on my ipod. It is an old episode but they were talking about Jesus in China. The CCP allowed foreign reporters to interview dissident underground church preachers as well as the official Church of China in Beijing. Why can’t they do the same thing for Tibet?

    The thing is that from what Raj and Steve described is how “western” media works. Look at the gossip columns..
    Look at during the election how McCain give Media a hard time and then when he stops getting press coverage, he realizes he was wrong and continues to bash the media… in a way he lost the election because of the lack of media coverage…
    No reporter is going to want to interview you when you give them disrespect. I hate to say it.. words hurt….

  23. zepplin
    March 29th, 2009 at 21:56 | #23

    @miaka9383
    If that is how it works, then they are not being professional. dan’s point is that it is possible to be professional even if your subject does not cooperate. His point still stands. The conclusion is then simply that western media are not professional.

    Will giving media access mean better coverage? In the campaign season, it is true that the media will try not to bite you if you give them exclusives. But I didn’t see evidence of conspiracy. If he stops talking to reporters on his straight talk express, he’s bound to have less coverage. That doesn’t mean the campaign reporters are now out to screw him. There were plenty of views from both sides.

    I’m sure if the CCP starts giving out exclusive stories periodically, then the journalists will try to stay in the good of the CCP in order to get those exclusives. But that is not what you are suggesting. You are suggesting opening media to everyone. There is no incentive to report in favor of China if media are not being selected for exclusive coverage.

    I am not convinced that opening up to the media will automatically get you good news. In fact, the other biases mentioned, such as framing news to suit your viewer’s tastes, reporting negative news to be more sensational, etc. far outweighs any feelings of reciprocity out of mutual respect, especially when it is not in the form of a hard incentive.

    On Tibet specifically, there is a fundamental difference in narrative. China’s position that the Tibetan monks don’t want autonomy is untenable. If China allowed the Dalai Lama to return, give full independence, and continue to subsidize the new nation, wouldn’t that solve all the problems?

    I do not see pro-China reports coming out of Tibet as a thank you for being allowed to report there. Also, I give far more credit to journalists than you do. I’m sure any reporter would do an exclusive with Kim Jong-il even if he “disrespects” him/her.

  24. Shane9219
    March 29th, 2009 at 23:06 | #24

    @Allen #3

    “Oh – I forgot to give my answer to the second question: what should overseas Chinese do about the ingrained bias against China in the Western press?

    We can feel depressed. Write more blogs. Or hold our head high, with the confidence that the Chinese people have their destiny in their hands, and that in time, the planets will realign themselves”

    In general, western governments, scholars and audience criticize China out of ideology difference, fear and ignorance. It is actually healthy to have some critics abroad, and I think Chinese take those people in stride.

    The real important and urgent matter is to combat baseless media reports on Tibet issue as well as so-called “activist” media personnel on behalf of TIE community. Here is Why:

    1) It is not healthy as a form of balanced and objective public media due to serious politicization on the Tibet issue by public media personnels. They made themselves into the debate, thus prevent them from objective and balanced reporting.

    2) It won’t help resolving Tibet issue since 14th DL and TIE got their false impression that they have a blank check of support in hand from western audience, no matter whatever they say and whatever they have done. With such broad support, TIE community thought they had a high moral ground (which is false) on the Tibet issue, have been relunctant to make any compromise.

    It is time for western media to show some tough love to TIE community, regardless how they felt strongly on Tibet issue (whether out of a “grand moral obligation” to help Tibetan or due to strong ideology difference with China).

    What can you do? There are many things you can do, for example:

    1) Express your opinion on mass publication –community newsletters, newspapers and magzine alike

    2) Express your opinion online on blogs and commentaries

    3) Express your opinion to people in the public offices, especially those unconditionally support TIE causes, such as Nancy Pelosi

    4) Express your opinion to Tibet scholars who unconditionally support TIE causes, such as Robert Barnett (email: rjb58@columbia.edu)

  25. Wu Di
    March 30th, 2009 at 03:46 | #25

    To answer Questions 1 and 2, it is helpful to bring into play another important question:

    Question 3: How can China offer a viable alternative to the ideological crap we hear in much of the West — if its people are not encouraged to think critically, and its institutions (and foreign organizations ‘doing business here) are built around the basic premise to never question Party legitimacy — and thus all but perpetuate the status quo?

    Answer: It can’t.

    Question 2 should therefore be answered as follows: Realize the importance of free thinking, and focus on building new forms of institutions permeated with it. As for the Western press: Resist engagement merely on the same rhetoric level of crap (as bxbq has been suggesting as the way to go — or did I get you wrong?). Convince them through facts and action. Don’t see them as the enemy as which they are construed and presented unless you are certain that “they” (who?) are the enemy (this requires an effort to obtain objective information and lots of critical thinking — simply echoing what national media tell us won’t suffice).

    Question 1 is way too complex to be answered in a blog comment. But reading the existing comments, each of us can make up one’s own mind about it. Of course we live in a world influenced by media politics, in which the dictum “facts speak louder than 1,000 words” is no longer true. Should we just accept this world-view, thus perpetuating it, playing the ‘game’ according to the rules imposed by those who benefit from prevalent hegemonic narratives? I’d rather not.

    Just my 2 ct.

  26. Raj
    March 30th, 2009 at 15:25 | #26

    zepplin

    Raj, so you are saying that if China allowed western reporters to freely enter Tibet, conduct unannounced inspections on its prisons, conduct interviews with dissidents and monks under house arrest, review organ transplant documents, inspect military bases, go over land expropriation etc., then this new openness will instill a sense of trust and the journalists will suddenly become professional and report in a balanced way?

    I’m not sure where I said any of that. I said that if the Chinese authorities opened up journalists would START to trust them more. It takes time to build trust.

    And where did I say anything about unannounced inspections to prisons, inspecting military bases and all the other stuff you listed?

  27. Wahaha
    March 30th, 2009 at 19:45 | #27

    #18,

    Stinky tofu,

    Dont know if you noticed or not.

    95% of the ‘west media’ we have been complaing about are their reports about Tibet. very few chinese complained reports by ‘evil west’ on issues like pollutions or corruptions.

  28. March 30th, 2009 at 21:51 | #28

    @bianxiangbianqiao #6,

    You wrote:

    “The Chinese political system is not a “viable alternative” to countries like the United States.”
    No no no. That was not the point. The threat to the American establishment is that the Chinese political system is an ALTERNATIVE FOR CHINA, alternative to Western “democracy”. It creates deep fear in the West by shattering the delusion of the “universalism” of Western values (”human rights”, “democracy” and etc.).

    The reason an “alternative” is actually quite a threat is because it destroys faith in a religion.

    If you believe in monotheism, and all of sudden you found that there may be other gods, other path to Nirvana (i.e. development) – that can shatter your worldview – leading to lack of confidence, confusion, and perhaps existential decay.

    Something like that happened to the Incas and Mayans with the capture of their god-kings by Spanish conquistadors. All of a sudden they realized the high priests did not control the stars, or the seasons – their worldview shattered, and their civilization collapsed.

    Similarly if you believe in universalism of “democracy, human rights, and freedom” to be the end all and be all for the world – you will also be in for a rude awakening.

    Now I don’t predict decline of the West. But the Western sense of universalism must change.

    I’ve called out Western sense of “democracy, human rights, and freedom” to be the mass opiate of the West – the basis of Western identity as well as social stability. The trick for the West is how to keep believing in and developing those concepts while acknowledging that those concepts are not by any means universal nor the only path to attaining social and political developments.

  29. March 30th, 2009 at 22:13 | #29

    Another thought – perhaps for another thread.

    I wonder what caliber of people get in journalism schools…

    Are they as smart as people who go into medicine, science and engineering, law?

    People here have all acknowledged that a critical pillar of all vibrant democracies is good, balanced, informative press (in addition to an informed public).

    But when reporters and editors as a class are not made of the highest caliber people, what does that say about journalistic integrity – or the state of democracies today…?

    P.S. In system engineering, we have this concept of garbage in garbage out. I wonder if that applies at a social systems level also…

  30. March 31st, 2009 at 12:17 | #30

    @Allen. “Are they as smart as people who go into medicine, science and engineering, law? ”

    Smart folks go into a profession for 2 reasons: (1) dedicated himself/herself to help people, and/or (2) dedicated himself/herself to help himself/herself (i.e. making a lot of money).

    You intentionally missed out the ‘financial folks’. They’re the smartest folks and used to make the biggest buck. With this global recession, a lot of the smart folks turn into other fields (that is good) and even the good-looking ones turn into strippers from yesterday’s news (that is good too). 🙂

    Journalists except a few of them do not make big buck but their profession is very demanding (like reporting in war zones or disaster areas).

    I was in IT where pay is fine, job is not too demanding and plentiful. I started as I needed a job (better than Xeroxing paper or pumping gas at the time), but ended up loving it. I was smart enough to find a job in demand even I’m not smart at all.

    Now, I’m a part-time stock picker (or gambler to some). I do not contribute anything to the society except taxes when I win. Some years I make a lot and some I lose a lot. No company politics. No racial bias on me. I can work any place in the world where there is a secured internet connection, any time I want, and no ‘stupid’ boss to report to.

    —-
    Steve sent me a joke about what you want to say in office and I made some addition. Fun to read. http://tonyp4joke.blogspot.com/2009/03/40-things-you-would-like-to-say-at-work.html

    —-
    We just passed the anniversary of the 3/29 Yellow Flower Hill Uprising, an important historical event in China. If my friend gives me permission, I would write an essay here. Otherwise, read this one in my blog below.

    http://tonyp4joke.blogspot.com/2009/03/329-yellow-flower-hill-uprising-brief.html

  31. TonyP4
    March 31st, 2009 at 14:28 | #31

    Correction. 3/29 is lunar calendar and it happened on April 27th 1910.

  32. bianxiangbianqiao
    March 31st, 2009 at 14:44 | #32

    Allen # 28

    Yeah. Various Monotheism beliefs set themselves up for war with each other. If your God is the only true God in the universe, then my God must be bogus. If you are a true believer, then I must be heretic. Therefore, my God must kick the ass of your God and we are at war. I think this is why Christians don’t get along with Muslims.

    In The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama (1992) announced that at that point of world history, the trend of social and political evolution had terminated, with “liberal democracy” emerging as the end point for the entire human species. Of course world events would still keep occurring. However, the ideal of human social and political life is set in stone, with no room for improvement. Different societies (countries and cultures) are simply at different stages of reaching this ideal state. Sometimes it is necessary for those who have already obtained the ideal state to “help” those who have not by force, sabotaging their existing political structure or all-out regime-change in order to build “Democracy” (e.g. in the Middle East). 先知觉后知,先觉觉后觉。

    It is gratifying to watch China declining Western help with more and more competence and confidence.

    I am sure news watchers have noticed the two prominent stories with Chinese labels, the Cyberspying and poisonous building materials found in houses in Florida. Both stories were in New York Times and picked up by most of the TV networks in their evening news. The US media are doing 2 things about these stories.

    1. make them as scary as possible.
    2. make them as Chinese as possible.

    This is the first part of the strategy for the freely-elected masters to control the slave citizens I tried to describe in the post, “scare the hell out of them”.

    The next installment of the strategy is already on the way and in the making, i.e., “make them feel good”. I am holding my breath for the “news” about China’s impending collapse and inevitable chaos (with all the juicy details about human suffering, of course). It may come in any moment.

  33. miaka9383
    March 31st, 2009 at 16:05 | #33

    @Allen
    There are couple of types of people that goes into Communication and Journalism… or 2
    1. Either you are concientious observer that wants to report on everything that you see and help out human kind. A genuine journalist.
    2. or you are a Engineering dropout-> Business school drop out-> and wants to do somethign that will get you a job….

    The first type of people usually goes to become teachers. Very rare you get journalist that is genuine wants to report. I was deeply sadden when Tim Russert died, because no matter if he is working for a “liberal” media, he tries to present things from all side and tries not to put a spin on it.
    There are many tv journalists like him, but news reporters.. nowadays? not so much anymore.

  34. Shane9219
    March 31st, 2009 at 19:00 | #34

    美国人的中国观:相遇不相知并非永远的宿命

    — 中国是不断流动,不断变化的

    “中美建交后的30年里,美国人几乎都是被形势逼着来了解中国的。作为前奏的1972年的重新握手,是美国深陷越南泥沼时的需要;1979年的建交,是美苏斗法的结果;改革开放前20年里,中国几乎不入美国法眼;1997年后的美国在满大街的made in China中谈论中国劳工问题;2000年后,开始恐惧中国的军事崛起;2005年后,开始讲中国文化;2006年,“突然”发现中国在非洲和拉美的存在;2008年,金融危机中开始谈中国在美国的投资.”

    http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2009-03-02/103617317647.shtml

    This is an article on how American see China in the past 3 decades. China has been constant moving and changing. Most American simply can not catch up, also reluctantly to update and learn unless they are forced to do so.

  35. Steve
    March 31st, 2009 at 20:40 | #35

    @ bianxiangbianqiao #6: Thanks for the response. Sorry it took me so long to answer; we helped move my oldest son into his first home this weekend so now we are “empty nesters”. 🙂

    This post helped explain some ideas that weren’t as clear on the initial thread. I understand you better but still have a few questions.

    “However, media in general are also marketing; they market (different) ideas (ideologies). Each camp tries to impose its own idea as the “consensus”. This method of controlling the population is more subtle and sophisticated than restricting people’s physical actions and movements. On a daily basis the western media are creating the needs in the population, to stop “Genocide Olympics”, to liberate Tibetan monks from Chinese commie occupation, to save America from the crime-prone immigrants, to save American jobs from “cheap Chinese labor”, to bring democracy to the Middle East, to liberate the Iraqis from Sadaam, to stop the North Koreans and Iran from building nukes…. you name it.”

    Exactly how do you think the media markets ideas? How is this controlled? Do reporters go through some kind of indoctrination where they are taught what slant they should give to their stories? Do newspaper or TV editorial boards have meetings where they decide just how to attack China? If the media wanted to stop “Genocide Olympics”, why did they send reporters to cover the Olympics and write positive stories about the quality of the venues, the super cheerleaders, the well organized schedules, terrific opening and closing ceremonies, etc.? Wouldn’t they have only reported negatively about all those matters? As an example, the Today Show’s coverage on NBC was one long love affair with China.

    “Chinese media outlets are owned by the Chinese government; they are controlled. American media are owned by business entities, but this does not mean they are not controlled by the ruling class. The control becomes clear when one looks at the ideological grip on the American media. Yes, Fox news and NY times have different ideologies. This does not mean they are independent. It simply shows that the American ruling class is not monolithic in ideology; they have liberal and conservative trends. The Chinese ruling class is not monolithic either.”

    Did you ever consider that the American people in general have different ideologies, and that media represents those ideologies as it is composed of Americans? Media can also make editorial decisions based on those ideologies. For instance, Fox News made a decision when started to represent conservative ideology because the owner (who is not American and has a Chinese wife) felt that it was a profitable, untapped market. MSNBC recently went the other way; by seeing Fox’s success and their failure they decided to move to a very liberal slant on the news so they could increase market share and therefore profits.

    So how exactly does the “ruling class” control media? Who in the ruling class is calling the shots? If the ruling class is running things, shouldn’t all liberal media sound the same and all conservative media sound the same? What your opinion is really saying is that the United States is not a liberal democracy but an authoritarian “ruling class” oligarchy. That would make it the same as China, wouldn’t it?

    “The threat to the American establishment is that the Chinese political system is an ALTERNATIVE FOR CHINA, alternative to Western “democracy”. It creates deep fear in the West by shattering the delusion of the “universalism” of Western values (”human rights”, “democracy” and etc.).”

    I think the delusion is on the side of people thinking there is any “deep fear” in the “west”. I can’t speak for this amorphous “west” but I don’t know of anyone where I live who thinks there is any such thing as a “universal” government structure. The one constant in human history is that there have always been authoritarian governments.

    You mention Fukuyama in another post. I don’t think very many people believe he was correct. Just because some academic writes a book doesn’t make it the viewpoint of the people. Anyone can write anything as long as someone is willing to publish it. The people who believed Fukuyama were the neocons who are pretty much disgraced and unemployed right now.

    “If your God is the only true God in the universe, then my God must be bogus. If you are a true believer, then I must be heretic. Therefore, my God must kick the ass of your God and we are at war. I think this is why Christians don’t get along with Muslims.”

    Christians and Muslims (along with Jews) believe in the same God. Their differences concern the status of Jesus (God or prophet) and the status of Mohammed. I’ve noticed that the closer religious beliefs are to one another, the more they fight each other.

    “However NY times, other Western media and Christian fundamentalists are all instruments for imposing Western ideology upon the rest of the world as universals. In a broad sense, they are all marching hand in hand in the same crusade of converting the world, universalizing the Western values. They are the pawns of Western values for their propagation, just like the human body is a pawn for the duplication of the genes inhibiting its cells (Richard Dawkins, the Selfish Gene).”

    Christian fundamentalists are trying to “impose?” Christian fundamentalism on the rest of the USA along with the rest of the world, just as Mormons, Muslims and a lot of other religions are trying to do the same. I guess I see these different structures as being unique in their own way and dedicated to their own goals, while you see them as all part of this “crusade” (interesting word choice) that marches hand in hand to achieve some supposedly universal goal. But they really don’t know what they are doing since in your words, they are “pawns of Western values”. What is a “pawn of Western values” and why do you feel they are on a “crusade”?

    I guess when you are in the “west’, you see nothing but similarities while I can see some similarities but many differences. I can also see similarities and differences between the Chinese culture and my own. Does that mean you don’t understand the “west” to the extent that you have to group all these dissimilar cultures into one category? Isn’t that the purpose of FM, to allow each culture to understand more about the other? If you feel people in non-Chinese speaking countries (all the others seem to be a part of this “west” except Africa) are all the same, then you have fallen into the same trap that you accuse many people in these same non-Chinese speaking countries of falling into themselves as regards China.

    “I was driving through Arkansas on my way back from the spring break trip, and saw an “Antique Mall” (an euphemism for “Flea Market”, a place that sells used goods) beside the highway. A big slogan was printed in bold letters on the outside wall “All 400 items made in USA, no foreign goods.” You see, they go out of their way to weave “foreignness” into the narratives of their lives, in a very unique and provocative fashion.”

    Hmm… you were driving through Arkansas. And if you went a few miles from that flea market, you’d have found a Wal-Mart (which is headquartered in Arkansas) full of “redneck” shoppers buying Chinese goods. There’d be far more people at the Wal-Mart than at the flea market, spending a lot more money. Also, the flea market didn’t say “no Chinese goods”, they said ” no foreign goods” so they were marketing to people who wanted to “buy American”, no different than Chinese manufacturers using the same marketing theme when selling to Chinese buyers. I think you’re grasping at straws here. Americans buy more Chinese goods than any other export market in the world.

    “I am sure news watchers have noticed the two prominent stories with Chinese labels, the Cyberspying and poisonous building materials found in houses in Florida. The US media are doing 2 things about these stories. 1. make them as scary as possible. 2. make them as Chinese as possible. This is the first part of the strategy for the freely-elected masters to control the slave citizens I tried to describe in the post, ‘scare the hell out of them’.”

    I’ve read both articles and I’m not sure what you’re driving at. The Cyberspying specifically did not blame the Chinese government; in fact, it suggested that the culprits were probably amateurs. Since it was peering into the TGIE computers and all but one of the servers were in China, it’s hard not to make it Chinese oriented. I’m not sure how scary it is, though.

    The building materials also came from China but the articles said the gypsum is under investigation. There was also mention of a previous problem with Tianjin area gypsum mines. Again, China is getting a deserved reputation for poor quality control so I don’t see how this is picking on China. China brought this on themselves because of a lack of government oversight. It is no different from all the articles criticizing the US government for lack of oversight in financial matters. Why can it apply to one but not the other? I feel you are engaging in selective criticism. No one’s making this stuff up.

    In my opinion, your approach is too “academic” and not enough “real world”.

  36. Steve
    March 31st, 2009 at 20:42 | #36

    @ HongKonger #11: I hate you. After checking out this link, I ended up watching all three seasons of “Little Mosque on the Prairie”, though I have to say that they were beginning to run out of ideas by the third season. Thanks for causing me to suck up all my spare time pursuing my addiction to this series. 😛

  37. Steve
    March 31st, 2009 at 20:53 | #37

    @ dan #17: Hi Dan, thanks for the comment~

    “You sounded like Don Corleone. If this is the attitude of western journalists covering in China, it certainly is a bit unprofessional, in fact, it is down right confrontational and border line on ‘extortion‘. Can they be professional and impartial even if being denied the cooperation?”

    Hey, I’m Italian but I’m NOT Sicilian. Never imply that Italians have anything to do with the Mafia or you’ll have an angry Italian on your hands. Italians don’t think of Sicilians as Italian at all. 😀

    Dan, I agree with you that in a perfect world, everyone would remain objective. But when a government puts obstacles in your way to keep you from doing your job, what is the result of that behavior? Isn’t it to rely on non-governmental sources? And aren’t most of those which can be easily obtained, not in agreement with the government position? For instance, if we are talking about Tibet and the reporter cannot visit Tibet himself, who would he call to get a reaction to the government position? Why, he’d call the TGIE! But if he were in Tibet, he’d be talking to local Tibetans for the reaction. If you cut off one source, a reporter will just use another. All reporters need to confirm their sources and present a counterbalanced viewpoint. You can’t dig into a story if you are restricted from doing so.

    That brings me back to my original argument about coverage in Tibet. If the government restricts access to the story, it loses the ability to influence the story. Why would a reporter believe the government version of what’s going on in Tibet if that same government is restricting access to Tibet? What are they trying to hide? By their actions, haven’t they already negatively influenced the viewpoint of the reporter whose job it is to report the story? If there is nothing to hide, then why the restriction? That’s how reporters think. Objectively, they figure that if the government won’t let them see what’s going on, something bad is going on. If everything was good, then there’d be no restrictions.

  38. Steve
    March 31st, 2009 at 21:06 | #38

    @ zepplin #21: You wrote:

    “Raj, so you are saying that if China allowed western reporters to freely enter Tibet, conduct unannounced inspections on its prisons, conduct interviews with dissidents and monks under house arrest, review organ transplant documents, inspect military bases, go over land expropriation etc., then this new openness will instill a sense of trust and the journalists will suddenly become professional and report in a balanced way? That seems naive to say the least. There should be no sympathy for a lack of professionalism, something all western journalists vehemently profess. Would you respect someone who says: “I’m always professional, but by always I mean only when it is convenient and my subject respects me.”

    You’ve presented two alternatives, either a government allows no access or it allows unreasonably total access. You are painting an all/nothing argument when the real situation is nothing like that. Reporters aren’t demanding what you list, what they’re asking for is access to the province itself. As he said, Raj never made any of those claims.

    “I’m sure if the CCP starts giving out exclusive stories periodically, then the journalists will try to stay in the good of the CCP in order to get those exclusives. But that is not what you are suggesting. You are suggesting opening media to everyone. There is no incentive to report in favor of China if media are not being selected for exclusive coverage.”

    You are correct; the news the CCP gives you needs to be accurate in order to report favorably about China. The incentive in reporting favorably about China is by China doing things that are favorable.

    “I do not see pro-China reports coming out of Tibet as a thank you for being allowed to report there. Also, I give far more credit to journalists than you do. I’m sure any reporter would do an exclusive with Kim Jong-il even if he “disrespects” him/her.”

    Not a ‘thank you’ but since most of our commentators are saying that the situation in Tibet is positive, then that would result in positive stories. If the situation there is negative, that would result in negative stories. Wouldn’t that mean the CCP wasn’t telling the truth about the situation if the situation was negative? But since most everyone is saying the situation is positive, then there is nothing to worry about and reporters should be more than welcome.

  39. Steve
    March 31st, 2009 at 21:15 | #39

    @ Allen #29: Most reporters majored in English so they are good writers but it doesn’t necessarily mean they know much about their subject. Most engineers and scientists aren’t good writers, they’re good engineers and scientists. The problem with reporters is that their technical knowledge tends to be infantile. That can be good or bad; they are easily influenced by technical jargon since they don’t understand it.

    The surveys I’ve seen show that reporters tend to be VERY liberal. That was an advantage for China decades ago but in situations like Tibet, the liberal position tends to be very pro-DL.

  40. March 31st, 2009 at 22:58 | #40

    @Steve #35,

    You wrote:

    I think the delusion is on the side of people thinking there is any “deep fear” in the “west”. I can’t speak for this amorphous “west” but I don’t know of anyone where I live who thinks there is any such thing as a “universal” government structure.

    You are a special case – not so ideological as many – and much more pragmatic and inquisitive than a lot. But a lot of people I know jump to “human rights, democracy, freedom” western style whenever we talk about world’s problems…

    I don’t think there is any “deep fear” in the “west” about the rise of China, either.

    But while I don’t agree with BXBQ on a lot of things – I think the fact that there is some unease about the rise of China in the West – esp. on an ideological level – can not really be denied.

  41. miaka9383
    March 31st, 2009 at 23:58 | #41

    Maybe I am idealistic, but a lot of the world’s problem are about human rights and freedom. Of course those two are very broad ideas to implement and practice.

    As for the “west” ‘s fear of China on a basic level, it does exists on a small level beause there are groups of people in U.S that just doesn’t like CCP (Not the Chinese People):
    1. Christian groups such as Pentacostals and the born again christians: They believe that there shouldn’t be underground churches and ignore the fact about a state run church.
    2. Dittoheads: People who listen to Rush Limbaugh and any other DingDong conservatives who uses the cold war mentality to scare people like most unaware blue collar workers.
    3. Union workers that are afraid that all of the Business are building their factories in China and they are going to be unemployeed and yet they are going to walmart to buy chinese made products. It is an endless cycle.

  42. Steve
    April 1st, 2009 at 01:37 | #42

    @ Allen #40: I think the unease about China is political rather than ideological. By that I mean that China is seen as a potential military threat to some in government and think tanks. Notice I said “potential” rather than imminent and “some” rather than all.

    The main reason for that attitude is the “closed” approach to both political and military affairs that China takes in dealing with the rest of the world. In this respect, China is “going it alone” compared to most other countries and whenever anyone plays outside the system, the assumption will be that they are doing more than they are claiming because there is no way to confirm their capabilities. China has been honest as far as wanting to do things their own way but that will always engender unease. The known is never feared as much as the unknown.

    @ Miaka: Why do you listen to Rush Limbaugh? Don’t you realize he is an entertainer whose prime motivation is to get as many listeners as possible? That’s how he makes his money. When you listen to him, you help to keep his ratings up and give him more perceived power. I’d just ignore the guy. 😉

  43. Wei
    April 1st, 2009 at 03:47 | #43

    I agree with Berlin, I think this blog need to find other more interesting and least depressing things to talk about, I don’t know what other interesting thing that this blog can talk about, but there has to be some right?

  44. JXie
    April 1st, 2009 at 04:06 | #44

    BXBQ, you may want to check out WSJ and its China Journal at, http://blogs.wsj.com/chinajournal/. Its reporter Sky Canaves, is one of the best covering China. The problem as I see it, is too many news reporters are at heart columnists wannabes. Often they allow their opinions to get in the way of reporting facts and figures. The China coverages by NYT and WP are simply horrendous.

  45. Steve
    April 1st, 2009 at 04:09 | #45

    Hi Wei~ we’re always willing to post new topics. Can you or Berlin think of any? If you do, just drop a line to admin or post them in the letters section.

    What would you think of topics that are more cultural? Things like the differences in dating between China and non-Chinese cultures, etc. Would something like that be the change of pace you desire?

    Actually, anytime you want to bring up topics like this, please post them on the Open Thread so admin and all the editors can see them. That way the post won’t be missed by anyone. Thanks!

    @ JXie #44: Thanks for that link. I checked it out and already have it bookmarked.

  46. miaka9383
    April 1st, 2009 at 04:15 | #46

    @Steve
    I can’t just ignore him…. He is on a talk station that I enjoy listen to.. since our progressive talk radio station truly sucks.
    I know he is a senile, drugged-filled old man…. He makes my blood boil! But I listen to him to get the other side… just like I listen to Sean Hannity and sometimes Glenn Beck… *sigh* he is like a drug… I think I may be addicted to his show 😛

  47. Steve
    April 1st, 2009 at 04:23 | #47

    @ Miaka: NO, NO, NO!!! Fight it, Miaka! Burn some music CDs, roll your windows down and shout at pedestrians, read the newspaper while you drive; anything but Limbaugh! And Hannity + Beck? All in the same day? You’re killing me. 🙁

    Whatever happened to the UNM campus station? It used to be very good back in the ’80s.

    Remember, if you’ve just listened to any of those guys, you can’t post on FM until you’ve had at least one hour to stop your blood from boiling. I believe it’s an OSHA requirement. 😉

  48. Wukailong
    April 1st, 2009 at 04:31 | #48

    Miaka9383: I tried the same thing for several years (listening and reading to people with views I really don’t agree with – in my case libertarians and conservatives). In the end I got much more understanding for these viewpoints, but I also realized it wasn’t good for my mental hygiene in the long run. People like Limbaugh bombard you with filth, and you have to make sure you’re getting it in small doses so your system can handle it… 😉

    Imagine reading Ann Coulter for a year to get a feel for the logic of her viewpoints. There aren’t any. 🙂

  49. Steve
    April 1st, 2009 at 04:35 | #49

    @ Wukailong #48: “Imagine reading Ann Coulter for a year to get a feel for the logic of her viewpoints. There aren’t any.”

    Ok, that got an “out-loud belly laugh” from me. 😛

  50. zepplin
    April 1st, 2009 at 05:16 | #50

    @Steve, Raj

    I apologize if I misconstrued your posts as meaning the Chinese government should be open to press to get positive press coverage. But isn’t prison access, monk access, dissident access an extension of access to Tibet? I agree with you that the situation is negative from the Western perspective, and hence not with Raj’s suggestion to “open up” as a way to get better coverage.

    However, your suggestion that “Why don’t you open up?” as a rebuttal to claims of positiveness by “most commentators” is flawed. If the media’s incentive is to repeat preexisting prejudices and report sensationalist negative stories, then even if the situation is mostly positive, the government still should not open up since it will only give more credibility to the negative reports.

  51. April 1st, 2009 at 05:33 | #51

    @Wei and everyone else,

    You can help us make this site a better and less “depressing” place! 😉

    When you come across any interesting topic that merit discussion, please post us a quick note in the open thread. We’ll try our best to follow up!

  52. miaka9383
    April 1st, 2009 at 17:22 | #52

    @zepplin
    People who grew up in the “west” tend to take everything with a huge grain of salt. If CCP becomes more transparent, it makes the stories that the “west” reports more believable. Of course they will inject their own biases in there, but generally you can find the facts in between the “west” media and the “east” media.
    The “west” are not going to report something that isn’t true, they are just going to take whatever facts (backed by whatever evidence that they own) that they have and exaggerate it. Hence if CCP opens up, there will be a better chance the truth will come out vs not having any at all so the journalists work with what they have….

  53. miaka9383
    April 1st, 2009 at 17:24 | #53

    @Steve and Wukailong

    I will take your advice under consideration. It can be entertaining to listen to filth at times…. It was even more fun when Rush was arrested or went into rehab for his drug problem and there were still ignorant people that still listen to him….

  54. Wahaha
    April 1st, 2009 at 17:50 | #54

    The “west” are not going to report something that isn’t true, they are just going to take whatever facts (backed by whatever evidence that they own) that they have and exaggerate it.

    _____________________________

    No, the fact is they report part of facts that can sell their agenda, and hide the other parts. This is even worse than not reporting at all like the media in China.

  55. miaka9383
    April 1st, 2009 at 18:23 | #55

    @Wahaha
    I am not too convince that they hid the part of the facts… I think they just didn’t know… and/or assumed the facts too much

  56. April 1st, 2009 at 18:45 | #56

    @miaka9383 #55,

    Have you seen the purposeful distortion of “protest images” last year?

  57. miaka9383
    April 1st, 2009 at 18:58 | #57

    Yes I have… but I would definitely say the intentions are up to speculation….. their story is that they had to crop the picture to fit the page…*shrug* I don’t believe them frankly, but I don’t believe the CCP’s position on it either. The truth has to be in the middle somewhere

  58. zepplin
    April 1st, 2009 at 21:17 | #58

    @miaka9383

    From the comments I’ve seen, people who grew up in China also claim to take everything with a grain of salt. There seems to be a discrepancy though, between questioning of domestic news and international news.

    There is indeed a better chance of the truth coming out if China opens up to media, but which truths? If it will only shed light on the darker side, there is no reason to open up from a PR perspective.

  59. miaka9383
    April 2nd, 2009 at 00:29 | #59

    @zepplin
    You cannot except good report right away like Chinese local media. CCP needs to establish a good relationship. They cannot except good will from foreign media. There has been a history of CCP dictating what foreign media can/cannot report and foreign media is not like Chinese media where they just say ok… because they will ask “why?” It is not in their nature to not question authority. So of course the foreign reporters will report the “supposed” truth. It is a vicious cycle. Someone has to break that cycle and I know it ain’t the media.
    Their culture and mentality is completely different than Chinese population.

    A good example : a 20 something year old got elected (bravo) to be the head of village (mayor?) She tells all of the reporter, and all of her villagers not to say anything negative about her. I read the article and the whole time I am thinking (WTF?) Who says things like that?

  60. 游子
    April 2nd, 2009 at 13:37 | #60

     === 维克特说,张丹红饱受批评的那句话——“中国在过去30年里成功地使4亿人摆脱了绝对贫困,因此中国共产党比世界上任何一支政治力量在实践人权宣言第三条方面的贡献都要大”,===

    我这个真正的中国人要在这里宣布:这个姓张的女人无耻。什么叫“中国在过去30年里成功地使4亿人摆脱了绝对贫困”?使人民摆脱贫困的是人民自己,是人民靠自己的劳动改善自己的生活,不是一个叫“中国”、“政府”、“共产党”这样的东西恩赐的。而民众为什么三十年前是“绝对贫困”呢?是因为当权的组织倒行逆施,令民众无法改善自己的生活。后来这个组织收敛了,不瞎折腾了,民众能够专心生产并自己改善生活了,竟然有蠢货说这是某个组织的贡献!

      本人诅咒那些定居外国甚至拿了外国护照,还有脸代表“中国人”、以美化中国现实特别是刻意掩盖阴暗面的“海外华人”。你们是最不要脸的杂种华人。

  61. Wahaha
    April 2nd, 2009 at 13:50 | #61

    游子,

    here you come again.

    I have asked a question which no1 answered.

    With thousands of millionaires and hundreds of billionaires, why does US have to borrow money from other countries ?

    Can you answer the question ?

    Give me a break, you hate CCP, that is all your comments are about. while most of us just view CCP as a ruling party.

  62. Berlin
    April 2nd, 2009 at 15:40 | #62

    游子,“ 本人诅咒那些定居外国甚至拿了外国护照,还有脸代表“中国人”、以美化中国现实特别是刻意掩盖阴暗面的“海外华人”。你们是最不要脸的杂种华人。”

    你这话说得太粗暴了一些,不是所有“海外华人”都在“美化中国现实的。”“海外华人”也不是死铁板一块。就好比这个博客,才这么几个人在写,都有不同看法,何况笼统的“海外华人”呢?我看过你几次留言,感觉你总是在努力证明你能代表中国人,海外的那些不可以。那欢迎你去代表,而不是在这里发泄自己的愤慨,并制造出自己比海外华人更站在道德高地上的假象来。 如果说你代表了中国人的话,可能是代表了我们同胞相残的不良传统。

    但是你说的想法我局部认同的是,我们身处海外的中国人(至少我是),不要好心帮倒忙。中国已经走到一个不用太费心处处去经营形象的地步了。就好比一个青春少年,他会时时照镜子看自己,总觉得自己是不是在外人眼里不对劲。而稍年长后,他会逐渐自信,知道自己到底是什么样子的人,有哪些好与歹,哪些可变,哪些不可变,外人对自己有什么看法,以及自己是否去在乎。

    这个博客我也在写,总的看法是我们不要变成英文版的强国论坛,我们也不要变成用英文码字的愤青。中国这么大,为什么不写写中国的书法、历史、电影、科技,而老在几个政治话题上打转呢?就是说说中国现有的阴暗面又如何呢?

    关于海外媒体对中国的“负面评价”,我以前也是义愤填膺,经过好多事情之后,我发觉根本不需要去一概而论。如果遇到个案,比如外国传媒针对某件事情报道失实,那么可以个别地,一件事情一件事情地澄清,而不要笼统处理,因为这样会伤害无辜的媒体。

  63. April 2nd, 2009 at 18:20 | #63

    We left China for one reason or another. Most seek a better life for themselves and their families. What’s wrong with that?

    To illustrate, an educated professional in China can make about $6,000 a year and enjoy a decent living standard. However, the air and water have been polluted. The infrastructure outside Tier I and II cities is terrible. Why wait for China to improve the country side in next 10 years while you have a far better life in the states?

    China receives a lot of help from overseas Chinese. Personally I know several schools are donated by my US friends. How about the overseas Chinese help the revolution (see my thread on Yellow Flower Hill Uprising

    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2009/03/31/a-brief-memoriam-for-the-yellow-flower-hill-uprising/

    You do not have to be in China to love your country and to be proud of your country even if you have a US passport. Loving your adopted country does not mean you’re ashamed of your own country.

    游子, your mind is very twisted. There are many extremists like you. Try to digest the news and analyze. Debate with facts.

  64. April 2nd, 2009 at 18:38 | #64

    @Wahaha #61.

    I thought I tried to answer that question before.

    I suspect:
    1. Human nature to protect his/her investment. The rich in US are not stupid enough to lend money out if the return does not justify the risk. Charity is not investment.

    2. Human nature to be lazy. The poor will spend all the money s/he can borrow. That’s why most poor stay poor for ever.

    The oil producers, Japan and China have something similar: they do not want to kill their customers and hence their markets. That’s why they lend money to US. I blame China that they never learn the lesson from Japan.

  65. Wahaha
    April 3rd, 2009 at 14:45 | #65

    TonyP4,

    You didnt get my point.

    The direct answer is that in democratic countries, politicians have to beg riches; in China, riches have to to beg the politicians or CCP governers.

    When politicians control economy, so government controled major industry and media, the corruptions (in traditional meaning) follow, and but it usually bring more good things for 80 to 90% of people of the countries (as long as government’s #1 goal is economic improvement), but it suppress the top 5% (the riches and intelligence) WHO ARE NOT in the circle of decision making, like indonesia and China. Riches have little influence in decision making.

    When riches control economy, few riches control the major industry and wealth, most people get nothing, like India and countries in south America. THE POOR WILL STAY POOR FOREVER. West countries are getting onto this way now, the situation in America is more serious as it has bigger % of poor people. But top 5% to 20% of the people are happy, as their wealth and rights are protected under such system. ( in China, if a rich wants to have a say in politics, he must join in CCP first, hence he is just 1/67,000,000.)

  66. colin
    April 8th, 2009 at 00:03 | #66

    Part of the answer is the inherent xenophobia and racism. For example, look at this cartoon by the miami herald:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/jim-morin/image_media/987354.html

    Looks to me as bad as the worst demonizations of Japanese during WWII. To mock the NKorean dictator legitimately one thing, to mock him based on his racial and cultural features (perceived western stereotypes no less) is another. Many westerners have a deep hate and bias against Asians (an other peoples, of course).

    Why is above cartoon accepted by the western media? Would a similar cartoon of a African dictator depicting fat lips and speaking gangster rap be similarly accepted?

    Bashing China gives an outlet to these racists in attacking things and people they hate. At the same time, the can say they are hating the government, not the people, as if to justify their hate to themselves and others – but this is just a cover-up. Western hate and bias is as insidious and pervasive as any other, if not more so. After all, which group of people more thoroughly raped and pillaged the world in the last 500 years. How were these atrocities justified and rationalized by “civilized” societies?

  67. miaka9383
    April 8th, 2009 at 00:28 | #67

    @Colin
    You did know that the Kim Jong Ill shoot a missile way too close to the Alaskan border? Way too close to the American border… Hence why American Media was making fun of Kim Jong Ill the crazy leader of North Korea… get your story straight…. before turning everything into racist slur….

  68. colin
    April 8th, 2009 at 00:43 | #68

    @miaka

    I have my story straight. That comic does not.

    What does the stereotyping of Kim Jong Ill with big eyeglasses, slant eyes, buckeye teeth and “me launch missile” mocking grammer have to do with the actual missile launch?

    I guess you have no problem with these either:

    http://www.historyoncd.com/images/uploads/wwpost5.jpg
    http://www.animationarchive.org/pics/propaganda2teaser-big.jpg

    Miaka, I take it you an asian in a western country? If you really are, and if you do not feel insult at this style of mockery, I feel pretty confident in saying you have been brainwashed by western media.

    The issue of racist reporting is usually downplayed in the western media – even non-existent. And it would certainly be taboo in the mainstream to suggest that racism and bias affects western media. Of course, many of us know better. And that’s why we’re here on this blog.

  69. miaka9383
    April 8th, 2009 at 01:27 | #69

    @Colin
    I am not offende by the first cartoon and am offended by the 2nd two.

    If you say they are racist.. they must be racist…. I don’t think they are and if you think I am brainedwashed then ok whatever… even though I am not… its ok…you are right.. and I am wrong…

  70. Wukailong
    April 8th, 2009 at 03:18 | #70

    colin: Technically, I have been brainwashed by the Western media as you say, but I find all three pictures offensive, actually…

    “And it would certainly be taboo in the mainstream to suggest that racism and bias affects western media.”

    Eh…? What “western media” have you been following?

  71. colin
    April 8th, 2009 at 05:30 | #71

    @miaka

    Go ahead an keep believing that you’re a special asian, That the racists and bigots do not project their stereotypes upon you when they see you. Keep prancing along in your utopian reality.

    Now, I’m not saying everyone in the west is racist and bigoted. But there are many xenophobes and racists (overt or covert) and they inhabit the media space as much as any other industry. And so, back to my original point about this article, some of the demonization of china is due to plain racism and bigotry.

    To dispute these points is to declare western societies and western media free of racism and bigotry.

  72. miaka9383
    April 8th, 2009 at 05:39 | #72

    @Colin
    Whatever you say is right. I am wrong..
    I never said I believe myself to be a special Asian, but since you think I am one… Thank you…

    But just to clarify things.. the original political cartoon was not aimed at China. But if you believe that OK! You are just as special as I am.

  73. colin
    April 8th, 2009 at 05:50 | #73

    @miaka

    You’re a bit dense. Everyone knows the cartoon intended ridicule Kim. But the way the author did it, it ridiculed all asians because he’s using universal asian stereotypes. He’s perpetuating them in the media. He probably doesn’t even know he’s insulting asians in general when he uses those stereotypes. That just proves how ingrained western stereotypes of asians are. They don’t even know it. And these stereotypes are re-inforced by this comic, so that everyone seeing it will think “kim is bad, asian features are bad… therefore, asians are bad”.

    You’re quite a piece of work. Makes me think that you’re really not who you imply you are.

  74. miaka9383
    April 8th, 2009 at 15:04 | #74

    @Colin
    No, I just give up trying to tell you that you are mistaken. I am not dense, I just don’t care about your argument. Because you have never seen racism at its best, and there are many Asians that enforces this stereotype on a daily basis here in U.S. So I don’t believe it is wrong for the cartoonist to draw something like that.
    There are many ingrained stereotypes out there not just in the West. A good example: in Taiwan, there is still a common believe that main land Chinese still live in straw huts.
    Many younger generation Chinese women sees westerners and they see money.
    Chinese parents won’t let their children marry black men.
    Asian men complaining that all of the white men are taking their jobs and women.
    I still hear the words “guilao” or “hei gui” tossed around.
    People still treats SE Asian women like second class citizens in North Asia.
    There are many more… did you want to add to the list?

    The thing is, that it is good that you are politically correct. But overly PC is also bad, because we cannot say what we think.
    Asians in America or at least in the West, know better. They know that these political cartoon will not harm them, because they live above the stereotype.

    Kim is bad, but any intelligent individual will know that not asian features are bad and therefore asians are bad. That is a bit of a stretch. Anyone who reads political cartoon like that are far more intelligent and aware than you give them credit for. Idiots don’t have the time to read papers and let along political cartoons. Any intelligent person can see that they are making fun of Kim, and just read it and forgets about it. It reflects the situation perfectly.

  75. Shane9219
    April 17th, 2009 at 16:53 | #75

    Lack of news about China has nothing to do with bias
    – Comprehensive foreign coverage doesn’t fit into the financial structure of traditional mainstream media.

    By Timothy Garton Ash

    This aritcle on LA Times did an internal examination on foreign press’s coverage on China. Strangely, he places blame solely on capitalism of western mainstream media. He did not touch the kind of blind and ideological “activism” often seen among mainstream media reporters.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-garton_ash16-2009apr16,0,4250841,print.story

  76. Bodpa
    April 26th, 2009 at 13:53 | #76

    PRC’s dismal image in the world will improve dramatically if it works with the Tibetan people to solve the Tibet issue instead of repression, fear and locking up Tibet from scrutiny from outsiders who want to investigate the situation in Tibet.

    Here is a latest NY Times editorial that PRC is hypocritical and the world is not stupid not to see it. Sure you guys can start writing letters to NYTimes to tell the PRC-CCP side on Tibet if you think PRC has nothing to hide in Tibet but I hate to say PRC-CCP is lying and you guys who blindly support its policy on Tibet are either fools or just as hypocritical and complicit.

    “As it carves out an ever greater role in the world, Beijing will have to learn that it cannot have it both ways. China cannot be the aggrieved victim in the morning and the bully in the afternoon”

    China can’t have it both ways.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/opinion/27iht-edchina.html?hpw

    Editorial
    China Can’t Have It Both Ways

    Article Tools Sponsored By
    Published: April 26, 2009

    The Chinese government issued two statements last Thursday. Both were only briefly, and separately, noted in the press. They make for a curious contrast.

    In one, China denounced Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso for making an offering to the Yasukuni shrine. This is the shrine that honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 top war criminals from World War II, when Japan committed terrible atrocities in China.

    China was furious when the then-prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, visited Yasukuni in 2005, and the next two prime ministers stayed clear.

    But Mr. Aso, a pugnacious nationalist, revived the controversy on Tuesday by offering the Shinto shrine a potted plant. Mr. Aso’s spokesmen insisted that this was not the same as a visit, and in any case would not affect his scheduled visit to China next week.

    China was furious, telling the Japanese that “the question of history is highly sensitive.”

    In the other statement, China demanded that the United States cancel a visit by the Dalai Lama (he arrived on Friday for a two-week tour). The Buddhist religious leader, a recipient of the Nobel peace prize who is respected around the world, says he is seeking only autonomy for his homeland, Tibet. China vilifies him as a separatist and regularly lambastes countries and leaders who receive him.

    “We oppose the Dalai Lama going to any country to engage in splittist activities under any pretext,” said Jiang Yu, the same Foreign Ministry spokeswoman who had earlier found history to be so sensitive.

    Mr. Aso’s offering to Yasukuni was blatantly provocative and offensive, even if all he offered was a potted sakaki evergreen, and his explanation — that he was just expressing “appreciation and respect” to Japanese who gave their all — was disingenuous.

    We understand China’s frustration. But it only makes Beijing’s repression of Tibet and its attacks on the Dalai Lama all the more hypocritical.

    As it carves out an ever greater role in the world, Beijing will have to learn that it cannot have it both ways. China cannot be the aggrieved victim in the morning and the bully in the afternoon.

  77. April 29th, 2009 at 05:48 | #77

    “Why is China portrayed as either collapsing…or menacing”

    Because the US is horribly jealous and afraid of China and the Media amps that threat/fear factor.

    It doesn’t help that our Press is in a MESS, with newspapers collapsing all over the country and hundreds of journalists out of work. There are out and out lies being perpetrated in our papers (not just about China either, don’t feel singled out).

    I just wish I could see an end in sight, but I do not.

  78. shane9219
    May 13th, 2009 at 07:28 | #78

    @Bodpa #76

    That NYT article is really a cheap shot. It is not my first time to hear such argument from some westerners, but certainly disingenuous and a lose of face to NYT.

    Japanese militants commited grave altrocity during their invasion of China.

    But let me ask you what offense China did in Tibet, provided Tibet is part of China. Although there are policy mistakes during Cultural Revolution, but the whole China suffered during that time.

  79. May 13th, 2009 at 17:28 | #79

    @shane9219 #78,

    Pieces like that is pure propaganda – it’s really not worth discussing. In truth, the Tibetan nationalists can copy every word Chinese nationalists use against Japanese militarism and Western colonialism – justified or not. Every argument we make here on this board against Western meddling they can use against “Han” meddling. That’s the perogative of Tibetan nationalists. That’s why they have given imagery-laden rhetoric such as “invasion” and “colonization” such importance.

    In a political struggle such as this – they choose their words, their history, their leaders. We however also get to choose our words, our history, our leaders … and fortunately also our future. So let’s leave their propaganda to be their propaganda. To the extent we want to talk about governing Tibet in a better way … that’s interesting and viable. To the extent we want to talk about Tibetan nationalism – I personally will treat it like gas…

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