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Propaganda sprinkling

After first reading this article from the Associated Press (echoed by the NPR), I thought, well, it seems to be all facts based. Over the years, I have come to realize critical thinking is required when consuming Western press. Read the left column through first before reading my comments on the right.  Try to ignore my highlighting.  Let me know if you think I am being too critical.  Did my points of contention jump out at you during your initial reading?

China Sends Anti-Terrorism Unit To Restive Westby THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEIJING August 13, 2011, 05:47 am ET

China has sent its elite Snow Leopard anti-terrorism unit to its far western frontier where ethnic violence has flared, hoping to boost security before the area stages an international trade convention in weeks, a state newspaper reported Sunday. If any separatist group blew up a government building in the U.S., they’d be reported as ‘terrorists.’“ethnic violence” is propaganda to reduce the heinous nature of what the bombers did.

Does it make sense to call 911 “ethnic violence?”

At least 20 people died in two attacks last month in the southern Xinjiang region, where security had already been tight since 2009 fighting between majority Han Chinese and minority ethnic Uighurs (pronounced WEE’-gur), who are Muslim and share other cultural links with groups in Central Asia. In 2009, it was mainly some minority ethnic Uighurs killing the majority Han Chinese.  It was also they robbing and burning stores in the community.The Chinese government to their credit placated possible public anger towards the ethnic Uighurs as to not exacerbate the situation.

This is revisionist anti-China propaganda.

The government has blamed Muslim extremists for the July attacks and violent protests in Kashgar, where 80 percent of the 600,000 population are Uighurs, and in another southern Xinjiang city, Hotan.Recently it sent its elite Snow Leopard Commando unit to patrol the region from a base in Aksu city, roughly halfway between Kashgar and the regional capital of Urumqi, the China Daily said, quoting a spokesman for the Xinjiang People’s Armed Police.
Calls to the Xinjiang government and police were not answered Saturday. This is a trick to pretend there is some sort of impartiality.  If you think about it, how could a government or a police station not answer phone calls?  Did the AFP call again?  To ask what?
The Snow Leopards, formed in 2002, were charged with securing the 2008 Beijing Olympics and have a mandate to combat terrorism, control riots, dispose of bombs, respond to hijackings and carry out other special tasks, the newspaper said.Xinjiang is China’s Central Asian frontier — bordering Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia and other countries — with Kashgar serving as an important hub along the ancient Silk Road trade route to Europe.

The Snow Leopard unit will be increasing security for the China-Eurasia Expo, being held in Urumqi the first week in September.

China has blamed the region’s unrest on forces outside the country, and said last month’s attacks were carried out by militants trained in camps run by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement in Pakistan on Xinjiang’s southern border. It has given no evidence for the allegation. You mean because the above mentioned phone call wasn’t answered?Did you try to do some research on this in the Chinese media?

Did you ask for this evidence and the Chinese authorities refused to provide?

It has “given no evidence” to who?

How can the AFP conclude it merely being an “allegation?”

Many Uighurs in the area resent the Han Chinese majority as interlopersrelegating them to minority status in their homeland.China defends its treatment of minorities, saying all ethnic groups are treated equally and that tens of billions of dollars in investment and aid have dramatically raised their living standards. This is a very mean narrative.  Try call American citizens as ‘interlopers’ in Hawaii, Alaska, and California!Obviously, the U.S. media would never offer this type of narrative in covering the Hawaiian separatist movement.  It never covers them, period.

China in fact can boast about the real affirmative action on behalf of minorities; favorable college entrance, multiple children policy, and yes, channeling of funds from coastal cities to develop minority regions.

Why did I title this post, “Propaganda sprinkling?” Well, this AP article was really supposed to be about more Chinese anti-terrorism units being sent. At this level, I felt the article was ‘right.’ However, when it injected these other points into the article, it is essentially sprinkling propaganda into an otherwise fact-based report.

  1. Al
    August 14th, 2011 at 01:43 | #1

    Usual propaganda from western media, based on ignorance and simple, plain distortion of reality. Calling that “Uighurs” homeland (ignoring, by the way, all the other minorities living in the areas..as much as history) is simply hilarious..

  2. Jon
    August 14th, 2011 at 09:14 | #2

    Also interesting to compare the way they report the Xinjiang riot with the London riot. The rioters in London are criminals who deserve the most severe punishment; as for those Uigher rioters who caused much, much more serious harm, the media here would give them the benefit of the doubt. But most of the rioters in London were ethnic minorities too, and perhaps the British should also have some reflections on why those youngsters would do such things. And the way they handled the riot, including monitoring of the social networking sites such as facebook — is this not restrictions on liberty too?

  3. August 14th, 2011 at 09:50 | #3

    Well, they are hoping that by telling the same lie a thousand times it would become the reality.

    The Uighur wasn’t even in the region during the Five Hu Sixteen Kingdoms period when those Hu people make a large scale migration to the central plain. If there is such a thing as ethnic claim to a certain land then the descendents of those Hu People would have first shot. Yes, they still exist, many “Han Chinese” still carry those special last name.

    Islam didn’t existed in that region 1500 yrs ago which was dominated by Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism Zoroastrianism, or even Nestorianism.

  4. August 14th, 2011 at 10:00 | #4

    I might add that all those Central Asian republics although sharing the same religion with the seperatist (which are actually tiny in numbers) are also wary of Islamic seperatism happening in their own countries. As such their crack down is probably even more severe than China’s.

    A glaring fact is that those terrorist attacks in China are rarely commited with firearms or explosives. The reason is that it is very hard for any seperatist groups in that region to get those supplies from any neighbouring countries. The only place they can get them are in Afghanistan or Pakistan but taking them back all the way to central Asia passing borders of several different states is extremely difficult if not impossible.

  5. Naqshbandiyya
    August 14th, 2011 at 23:51 | #5

    I was reading some Western press reports about Xinjiang violence in the 1990s, and the tone was quite different. The Uighurs were referred to as “ethnic Muslims” or “Chinese Muslims”, and the pinyin names for towns were used instead of the Uyghur transliterations (Yining, not Ghulja; Kashi, not Kashgar; Hetian, not Hotan). None of this stuff about “Han Chinese interlopers”. I think that that “mean narrative” of interlopers started with 2009 Urumqi riots; that’s when Western media started licking their lips about a secessionist movement in Xinjiang, viewed through the lens of Tibetan stereotypes and the eternal fantasy of the breakup of China. Isn’t 2009 when the BBC made a ‘territory profile’ of Xinjiang? Anyway, for all the propagandistic language about Xinjiang, it isn’t as bad as the propaganda about Tibet. At least they respect China’s names: more openly anti-China publications call Xinjiang “East Turkestan”, and that might be the future for mainstream Western media.

    But the blame for this “Uighur homeland” stuff lies directly with the Chinese government itself. The central government chose Xinjiang’s full name to be “Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region”, despite Xinjiang’s enormous ethnic diversity and the historical non-dominance of the Uighurs.

  6. Charles Liu
    August 15th, 2011 at 00:55 | #6

    What “fight between Chinese and Uighurs”? According to Peter Foster of London Telegraph, who is far from being pro-China, police in Urumqi protected Uyghurs from retaliation following the 7/5 riot:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peterfoster/100002643/urumqi-criticism-and-credit-for-the-chinese-police/

    “Han crowds on Tuesday effectively were allowed to go round and round in circles, exhausting themselves in the hot sun while never actually being allowed to reach the objects of their anger. To my mind, this was very smart policing.

    Then on Wednesday, after an overwhelming show of force, the police made sure that the Han protestors largely stayed off the streets.”

  7. August 15th, 2011 at 01:26 | #7

    @Naqshbandiyya : Are you sure what you read was about Uyghurs? “Chinese Muslims” is usually the term that’s used in English for Hui people, another Chinese minority that follows Islam, but they are different from Uyghurs.

    Also, I don’t think the “interlopers” angle started in 2009. I remember reading a similar characterization in a Life magazine article from the 1940s or 50s (I was reading it for a college assignment, don’t remember the exact date, might even have been earlier than the 40s actually). The author was also really excited about the quality of Xinjiang grapes. It was a bizarre piece, really.

  8. August 15th, 2011 at 01:27 | #8

    wtf….I had a whole large comment here that posted successfully, it was right before Naqshbandiyya’s. Now it’s gone.

  9. Naqshbandiyya
    August 15th, 2011 at 02:31 | #9

    @C. Custer I am sure from context that they were not referring to the Hui. Publications from the early 2000s described Rebiya Kadeer as a “Muslim” first and foremost, sometimes introducing the terms “Turkic” or “Uighur” as an afterthought.

    Just from reading the English-language press on China, I perceived a shift from the pre-Urumqi to the post-Urumqi period. Any reports on the region now carry an obligatory note that Xinjiang is a region “simmering with ethnic tension” as “Uighurs chafe under Chinese rule”, and the bogeyman of Han inmigration is invariably raised, despite the fact of a stagnant or declining Han presence in Xinjiang.

    The May 2011 protests about a murder in Inner Mongolia were not as big, but that led (and still leads) some news reporters to write dopey “news analyses” proclaiming that China’s ethnic policies have failed and that its ethnics (or oppressed captive nations) are all rising up. This probably has something to do with Tibetan independence groups’ championing these fringe separatist movements out of mutual hatred for China.

    The contrast with the London riots is poignant. From written and audio news reports, I was not aware that the London rioters, always described as just “youths”, “young men”, or maybe “poor young men”, were mostly black and Pakistani. An English historian who attributed the riots to “black culture” was thoroughly condemned and excluded from the mainstream narrative. According to the Western press, the West does not have ethnic problems; it only has class problems. However, ethnic problems are omnipresent and inevitable in oppressive and undemocratic countries in the East.

  10. denk
    August 15th, 2011 at 03:50 | #10

    quiz *whats the common factor to the unrest in xinjiang, tibet, mongol etc ?*

    ans *ned*

  11. Pete North
    August 15th, 2011 at 06:02 | #11

    ‘despite the fact of a stagnant or declining Han presence in Xinjiang.’ Where is your evidence of this, and from when till when ?

  12. raventhorn2000
    August 15th, 2011 at 07:04 | #12

    Speaking of Hui, it is noted by many sources, such as, http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/study/islam/modern_interaction/relation_hui_muslims_tibet_uighurs.html

    that Hui Chinese, in far more extent than “Han Chinese”, were the pioneers of migration into Xinjiang and Tibet, and make up large portions of the new population increase in Xinjiang and Tibet.

    And Tibetans and Uighurs resent Hui Chinese successes in Xinjiang and Tibet.

    “Thus, the present migration of Muslim merchants to Central Tibet is nothing new in Hui history. They are not being forcefully relocated to Tibet by the Han Chinese authorities, but are moving on their own initiative for a business motive.

    Western Hui have been moving not only into Tibet, but also all over Gansu and Xinjiang as the pioneers for Han Chinese settlement. They open restaurants and shops along all the roads, and as soon as there are a small number of them in any locality, they build a mosque – usually as a social gathering place to keep their communities together, rather than because of religious zeal. Not only do the Tibetans resent the Hui immigration; but so do the Uighurs. Although the Han Chinese army and bureaucracy have moved in first, Han traders and businessmen, lacking the pioneering spirit of the Hui, have only followed in their footsteps.

    The Tibetans and Uighurs see the Hui immigrants, more than the Han, as a greater threat to their cultures. As the Hui and Uighurs share Islam in common, it is evident that the tension does not arise from religious grounds, but from economic competition.”

    There have been numerous incidents of Hui and Tibetan conflicts in the past.

  13. raventhorn2000
    August 15th, 2011 at 07:14 | #13

    When Hui started migrating into Lhasa in the 1990s, racist rumors circulated among Tibetans in Lhasa about the Hui, such as that they were cannibals or ate children.[192] On February 2003, Tibetans rioted against Hui, destroying Hui-owned shops and restaurants.[193] With Islamophobic sentiments high following the Taliban’s demolition of two Buddha statues, local Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders lead a regional boycott movement that encouraged Tibetans to boycott Hui-owned shops, spreading the myth that Hui put the ashes of cremated imams in the cooking water they use to serve Tibetans food, in order to convert Tibetans to Islam.[192]

  14. raventhorn2000
  15. raventhorn2000
    August 15th, 2011 at 07:23 | #15

    A CNN report on a riot in Tibet, conflict between Tibetans and Huis.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/23/world/fg-muslims23

  16. August 15th, 2011 at 10:18 | #16

    @C. Custer
    I don’t see it in the spam queue.

  17. colin
    August 15th, 2011 at 10:21 | #17

    Hypocrisy at it’s finest.

    China should begin worldwide campaign for official recognition of the native american genocide . That might get some western journalists to reflect on their reporting before committing journalistic fraud.

  18. raventhorn2000
    August 15th, 2011 at 10:39 | #18

    Lakotah is seeking independence, as US has already reneged on their treaty with Lakotah’s.

    US Government’s response: Not recognize the “government” seeking independence, and threaten them with arrest for asserting their legal rights.

    Gary Garrison of the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) said that the group’s withdrawal “doesn’t mean anything.” “These are not legitimate tribal governments elected by the people … when they begin the process of violating other people’s rights, breaking the law, they’re going to end up like all the other groups that have declared themselves independent — usually getting arrested and being put in jail.”[7]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Lakotah

  19. Naqshbandiyya
    August 15th, 2011 at 11:59 | #19

    @Pete North

    http://www.adb.org/Documents/Reports/2020_Project/chap13.pdf page 271, a 2002 publication that analyzed census results over the years

    In 1978, Han made up 41.6% of the Xinjiang population and Uighurs 45.1%. In 1999, Han made up 38.7% of the population and Uighurs 46.5%. China recently took its 2010 census, but the ethnic breakdown is not yet available in English (can some Chinese-literate person see if they’re released in Chinese?)

    Also from the Asian Development Bank document: “There is probably a bigger outflow of Han from Xinjiang to other parts of the PRC than of minorities for reasons of language and family ties.” You could infer that due to the recent violence, Han people are also leaving Xinjiang for the same reason they’ve been leaving places like Malaysia and Indonesia for years: persecution by an underproductive population that feels entitled to monopolize the wealth just because they believe their ancestors came to the land first. It’s a real Greek tragedy, Xinjiang, because it is the Han who are the embattled minority of the region.

    Compounding the irony of this intentional lie of the impending Han majority in Xinjiang are claims by groups like the World Uyghur Congress that Uighurs in Xinjiang don’t actually number 8 million, but 20 million! Where does this Germany-based exile group get its numbers? I don’t know, but added to the 1999 census, that makes Uighurs 68% and Han 23%. How can anybody, much less the press who’s supposed to be investigating these things, take these exile groups’ claims seriously?

  20. August 15th, 2011 at 13:19 | #20

    They want to claim up to 20 million Uighurs, so that later they can claim “genocide” when the actual number falls short!

  21. August 15th, 2011 at 13:49 | #21

    Tibetan Government in Exile’s critique of China’s 2000 population census for Tibet.

    NOTABLY, the TGIE simply calls the Hui People as “Chinese Muslim”, and lump them in with “Chinese”.

    http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=5158&t=1

  22. August 15th, 2011 at 17:37 | #22

    ” You could infer that due to the recent violence, Han people are also leaving Xinjiang for the same reason they’ve been leaving places like Malaysia and Indonesia for years: persecution by an underproductive population that feels entitled to monopolize the wealth just because they believe their ancestors came to the land first. It’s a real Greek tragedy, Xinjiang, because it is the Han who are the embattled minority of the region.”

    The Malay people of Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines are not the original settlers of these regions. The aborigin, or earliest settlers are known as “Orang Asli” or aboriginal people in Malaysia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orang_asli

    Sadly because most were not Muslim, they do not benefit from the affirmative action in place there. Another sad reality is, except for the elite among the general population, the regular Malay folks are also poor and recived pitiful hand outs from the corrupt govn’t.

  23. Pete North
    August 15th, 2011 at 19:16 | #23

    Interesting that you took 1978 as the benchmark year. Why not choose 1949 as the starting point, which will show the tread over a much larger period of time? Starting with one date 33 years ago, and finishing 13 years ago probably doesn’t give us the best picture.

    As for Han being embattled in Xinjiang, that’s laughable. Yeah, you ‘could infer’ that, but are you saying you actually believe it is the case?

  24. denk
    August 15th, 2011 at 20:30 | #24

    colin
    *Hypocrisy at it’s finest.

    China should begin worldwide campaign for official recognition of the native american genocide . That might get some western journalists to reflect on their reporting before committing journalistic fraud.*

    yeah,
    its high time the chinese take a leaf outta the anglos play book, hehehe
    http://tinyurl.com/3tzxnbp

  25. August 15th, 2011 at 20:58 | #25

    yinyang :
    @C. Custer
    I don’t see it in the spam queue.

    It wasn’t spam; I posted it and I then saw it appear on the page with the countdown to edit/delete like every other successful comment. Naqsh posted something after me, so I then went to write a response to that. After I posted my response to Naqsh I looked back and saw my first comment was gone.

  26. Naqshbandiyya
    August 15th, 2011 at 21:14 | #26

    @Pete North

    1978 happens to represent a historical high for the Han population in Xinjiang, after which began a Han demographic decline as a proportion of the population that continues today. We’re talking about the trend within the last 20 or 30 years because we’re discussing a news media that falsely reports that Han people are _currently_ migrating to Xinjiang and stealing the Uighurs’ jerbs.

    It’s pointless to talk about “showing the trend over a much larger period of time”, because just as you can go to 1949—when the Han population was at a historic low—, I could go to 1849, when there were virtually no Uighurs in northern Xinjiang and plenty of Han and Hui farmers and administrators in the region.

    Most Han people in Xinjiang reside in the northern part, which Uighurs were never indigenous. On unsettled land they created prosperous cities like Urumqi, to where Uighurs now migrate to find prosperity (and riot when they cannot find it). You have to admire the chutzpah of the reporters who call the Han Xinjiang people—whose grandparents tilled the soil on which they now prosper—”interlopers” while calling the Uighurs—who are just as often migrant workers—”native”.

  27. Pete North
    August 15th, 2011 at 21:54 | #27

    This doesnt negate that Han are migrating to Xinjiang. Though according to your source the proportion of Han in Xinjiang decreased, the overall numbers certainly increased over this same period, partially due to migration of Han from other provinces.
    As for ‘stealing’ jobs I’m not sure. My experience would lead me to believe that many jobs in Urumqi for example were never open to Uyghurs in the first place, so how can something be stolen if it was never theirs? I’ve seen adverts on shop windows saying among other things ‘Han only’, and when I was helping with a recruitment drive for a 5 star hotel here a few years ago I was instructed by the leader to only interview Uyghur people for jobs in the Uyghur restaurants, otherwise don’t bother, no matter how good their putonghua. Do these count as ‘stolen jobs’?

  28. August 15th, 2011 at 22:57 | #28

    @Pete North #27

    The population – including all ethnic minorities – has been growing as the economy of Xinjiang has been developed. See, e.g., http://www.china.org.cn/english/China/165014.htm.

    As for your anecdotal evidence about “Han only,” I won’t go into a tailess spin. We know there are some prejudices amongst the various ethnic groups. Some Uyghurs hire only Uyghurs (as you said) and some Han only hire Han. I’ve read at least one case of “Han only” sign that relates to restaurants that prepare pork, which many Muslims will not do.

    Anyways the stealing job bit you refer to relates to an extrapolation of your narrow-minded kind of logic. If Urumqi does belong to Han, then Uyghurs moving to Urumqi are stealing Han jobs, land, water, etc. (following your logic that Xinjiang belong to Uyghurs, so all Hans moving into Xinjiang are stealing Uyghur water, land, jobs, whatever).

  29. Pete North
    August 15th, 2011 at 23:50 | #29

    Were did I Xinjiang belongs to Uyghurs?

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever said such a thing. Feel free to quote me, though ‘extrapolations’ dont count.
    Talking of prejudices, I had a friend of mine come up from Kashgar the other day. He went to a few hotels to find a room. He is Uyghur, but is often mistake for a Han. After being told rooms were available, upon showing his id card, the rooms suddenly became unavailable. In the end he stayed on my sofa. Pretty sad really, as he is such a nice bloke and doesn’t deserve to be treated like that. Sometimes he wonders that the PRC Han use the fact they they think they have been victimized to justify treating their own minorities with such disrespect. Maybe he should emigrate like you guys, though probably for completely different reasons.

  30. denk
    August 16th, 2011 at 01:34 | #30

    @Pete North

    like i say
    its high time the chinese emulate the anglos n take up this *hr* thingee
    kinda like sharing this *white men’s burder* 😉

  31. raventhorn2000
    August 16th, 2011 at 05:29 | #31

    “Talking of prejudices, I had a friend of mine come up from Kashgar the other day. He went to a few hotels to find a room. He is Uyghur, but is often mistake for a Han. After being told rooms were available, upon showing his id card, the rooms suddenly became unavailable. In the end he stayed on my sofa. Pretty sad really, as he is such a nice bloke and doesn’t deserve to be treated like that. Sometimes he wonders that the PRC Han use the fact they they think they have been victimized to justify treating their own minorities with such disrespect. ”

    Why would you assume “PRC Han” had anything to do with him not getting a room?

    Maybe it’s a Hui Chinese operated hotel. (It’s well known that the Hui Chinese operate lots of hotels and restaurants in Xinjiang).

    Sounds like you are just using the fact that you think you have been victimized to justify irrational assumptions of yours.

  32. August 16th, 2011 at 05:33 | #32

    http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/study/islam/modern_interaction/relation_hui_muslims_tibet_uighurs.html

    “Thus, the present migration of Muslim merchants to Central Tibet is nothing new in Hui history. They are not being forcefully relocated to Tibet by the Han Chinese authorities, but are moving on their own initiative for a business motive.

    Western Hui have been moving not only into Tibet, but also all over Gansu and Xinjiang as the pioneers for Han Chinese settlement. They open restaurants and shops along all the roads….”

  33. August 16th, 2011 at 07:37 | #33

    Anyway, the comment that I lost was this, in a nutshell:

    (1) I agree “fighting between Han and Uyghur” (or whatever the wording was) is not a good way to characterize the riots, but….

    (2) Your insistence that it’s impossible no one answered the phone when they called just shows you don’t understand the media environment in China. Obviously, they didn’t call 110 to talk to the police, that would get an answer. They called the PR number, possibly a specific one for foreign media. And let me tell you, if you don’t believe those phone calls get ignored, you’re fooling yourself. Happens all the time. Although it’s more common they do answer, tell you you’ve called the wrong office, and tell you to call some other office, which then tells you to call back the first office, repeat until you get frustrated and give up.

    We can debate about the repercussions and the responses to it, but the fact that the Western media is rarely given comments or access to anything official is just that…a fact. You can deny it, but to anyone who has worked in the business, it’s sort of like denying that the sky is blue, or that the ocean is wet. It’s that obvious: the vast majority of officials don’t talk to foreign reporters, and if they do, it’s probably at a press conference arranged on their terms; they certainly don’t respond to requests for comment on an issue like this unless someone has told them to.

    (Not that I can blame them…for most officials, they have nothing to gain by speaking for the foreign press. Even the perfect response is likely to go unnoticed domestically, but a flub or bad response could seriously hurt or end their careers, especially when we’re talking about something sensitive like Xinjiang. So why say anything?)

  34. pug_ster
    August 16th, 2011 at 08:30 | #34

    C Custer,

    What’s the big deal about Chinese government not respond to Foreign Media? You have no idea how the Chinese Journalists are restricted in the US.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2011/05/22/chinese-journalists-barred-from-shuttle-launch/

    Chinese Journalists have never given ‘exclusive’ access to the White House, never been picked to be asked questions by the White house staff. So who cares about these foreign journalists in China anyways?

  35. raventhorn2000
    August 16th, 2011 at 08:44 | #35

    “Your insistence that it’s impossible no one answered the phone when they called just shows you don’t understand the media environment in China. Obviously, they didn’t call 110 to talk to the police, that would get an answer. They called the PR number, possibly a specific one for foreign media. And let me tell you, if you don’t believe those phone calls get ignored, you’re fooling yourself. Happens all the time. Although it’s more common they do answer,”

    Well, you just contradicted yourself. They obviously DO answer. If they IGNORE your specific line of questions, that’s a completely different issue.

  36. Al
    August 16th, 2011 at 09:12 | #36

    Since when, anyway, not be granted access to what u want, or be “ignored” is a valid excuse for distorting facts and plain and simple lying?

  37. raventhorn2000
    August 16th, 2011 at 09:18 | #37

    “Since when, anyway, not be granted access to what u want, or be “ignored” is a valid excuse for distorting facts and plain and simple lying?”

    Apparently, Western Journalists are 5 year olds misbehaving to get attention. (Well, then, treat them like 5 year olds).

    LOL! 🙂

  38. August 16th, 2011 at 09:23 | #38

    pug_ster :
    C Custer,
    What’s the big deal about Chinese government not respond to Foreign Media? You have no idea how the Chinese Journalists are restricted in the US.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2011/05/22/chinese-journalists-barred-from-shuttle-launch/

    Yeah, I remember that one time. And while I agree it was unfair, the fact that it’s news at all– and that it was reported in non-Chinese media — is proof that that doesn’t happen frequently. As I understand it, Chinese state media reporters have even been allowed to embed with US troops in Iraq. I know the Global Times had people there reporting with a US regiment a year or two ago, though not sure if the reporters were GT or Xinhua that GT was picking up.

    Chinese Journalists have never given ‘exclusive’ access to the White House, never been picked to be asked questions by the White house staff. So who cares about these foreign journalists in China anyways?

    The white house staff has never answered the questions of Chinese journalists? That sounds unlikely. I’m sure they haven’t been given “exclusive” access to the white house, and why should they? They’re not barred from it, either. No one has a right to “exclusive” access and no one is saying foreign reporters should get “exclusive access” to Chinese officials. Anyway, that’s all completely irrelevant. My point was just that yinyang was suggesting that the media not getting a comment from Chinese officials reflected laziness on their part. I was saying that’s probably not the case.

    However, my point is also relevant to the argument that “The Western media never reports China’s perspective.” That’s fine, and true to an extent, but it’s also ignoring the fact that the Chinese government puts no effort into sharing their perspective with the Western media, and in fact tends to resist commenting on things at all. Frequently, they seem to be actively attempting to hide their rationale from foreign reporters, or antagonize them by wasting their time or (from time to time) sending goons to threaten them.

    Put it this way: Imagine two people get into a fight on a dark street with no cameras. No one else witnesses it until a few other people happen to catch them near the tail end of the fight and ask what happened. Guy 1 says he was attacked by Guy 2. Guy 2 resolutely refuses to say anything. Maybe he even tells the other people to fuck off, because it’s none of their business. Without any footage or other convincing evidence, who do you think the people are going to believe? And who can Guy 2 blame but himself when the police show up and everyone reports to them that Guy 2 started the fight?

    Guy 1 may have started the fight, but now it’s irrelevant. Guy 2 has made himself seem both unlikable and untrustworthy. He may share his story through some other platform later, but by then it’s way too late.

    At a certain point, the truth is irrelevant, in the sense that if the foreign media is reporting lies, and you make no effort to communicate with them, correct them, provide them with evidence you have, etc., then in my mind you’re just as guilty as they are, and you certainly don’t have the right to complain they’re not telling your side of the story. After all, you’re not even telling your side of the story!

    (Yes, the Chinese gov’t does tell its side of the story in the Global Times and the China Daily, but they can’t expect foreign reporters to wait a day to report anything that happens just so they can see what’s said in the GT first.)

    Even if Chinese reporters are treated the same way in the US — and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any actual Chinese reporters in the US or elsewhere who would claim that — my point isn’t that the US is doing a better job, it’s just that China has no right to accuse foreign reporters of not reporting their side of the story when they consistently refuse to share it.

  39. August 16th, 2011 at 09:31 | #39

    pug, this is a specific ban regarding collaboration on US science programs. It is a stupid restriction written by a right-wing Republican nut job, but it applies only to science/technology, based on China’s alleged involvement in cyberterrorism and spying. I’m sure China doesn’t meet with US reporters to share information on their latest technology. Still, the ban on scientific collaboration is stupid and I’m ashamed of it. Otherwise, Chinese reporters can cover whatever they want in the US, just like any other reporter.

    Raventhorn is missing Custer’s point: they ANSWER the phone, as in, “Hello, who would you like to speak with?” And then no one will get on the line to answer any questions – the call is not answered by people who can answer questions, just by a functionary who then tells you you have to call someone else. Spokespeople do not answer the call, or if they do they toss it to someone else in an endless bureaucratic maze. This is standard operating procedure all foreign reporters must endure on a daily basis and it makes it nearly impossible to get meaningful information.

  40. raventhorn2000
    August 16th, 2011 at 09:32 | #40

    “(Yes, the Chinese gov’t does tell its side of the story in the Global Times and the China Daily, but they can’t expect foreign reporters to wait a day to report anything that happens just so they can see what’s said in the GT first.)”

    Oh yes they can.

    Western Media reprint each other’s lines ALL the time. The question is, why Western Media choose to reprint their own colleagues’ version of the story at the SAME time as GT came out with their version.

    What they choose to reprint (and NOT reprint) ALSO indicate their bias.

    When they clearly had 2 different versions in front of them, they choose to reprint their own biases, instead of BOTH versions.

  41. raventhorn2000
    August 16th, 2011 at 09:34 | #41

    “Raventhorn is missing Custer’s point: they ANSWER the phone, as in, “Hello, who would you like to speak with?” And then no one will get on the line to answer any questions – the call is not answered by people who can answer questions, just by a functionary who then tells you you have to call someone else. Spokespeople do not answer the call, or if they do they toss it to someone else in an endless bureaucratic maze. This is standard operating procedure all foreign reporters must endure on a daily basis and it makes it nearly impossible to get meaningful information.”

    It’s called “NO COMMENT”. US government uses it all the time.

  42. Al
    August 16th, 2011 at 09:37 | #42

    Custer, u’r loosing sight of the issue…Usually western journalist are not INTERESTED (at least not really) in chinese side of the story, cause even when they have it, it is often dismissed as “propaganda” and the like. The issue on this is not having or not having this or that official side of the story, that wouldn’t, and DON’T change anything, even when there are official statement by the government…cause even then western journalist simply ignore most of it, and tell their own “faked/biased/prejudiced/false/ignorant” (choose one) story, regardless of official declarations and, worst of all, simple clear facts.
    Btw, ur attempt to downplay the gravity of the fact that western journalists simply lie whenever they see fit, trying to blame someone else is childish, and frankly, offensive for urs and the intelligence of whomever read this comments.
    In the end it all goes back to professionalism and dignity: “Since when, anyway, not be granted access to what u want, or be “ignored” is a valid excuse for distorting facts and plain and simple lying?”..if you choose to lie, u just lie, trying to find petty excuses for this only makes you look more dishonest.

  43. raventhorn2000
    August 16th, 2011 at 09:38 | #43
  44. raventhorn2000
    August 16th, 2011 at 09:41 | #44

    Speaking of “they toss it to someone else in an endless bureaucratic maze”:

    “I haven’t had any conversation with [Obama] and I think that I would steer you to HHS since it involves Medicaid funding. I don’t really have any comment. I’m not going to negotiate on behalf of the president or venture a guess on what he may or may not be open to. Again, on the specific issue of Medicaid funding, I’ll send you to HHS.”

    – White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, in response to questions about whether President Obama has a position on reparative “ex-gay” therapy and whether the therapy should be covered under Medicaid.

    http://www.bilerico.com/2011/07/white_house_has_no_comment_on_ex-gay_therapy.php

  45. August 16th, 2011 at 20:41 | #45

    Al :
    Custer, u’r loosing sight of the issue…Usually western journalist are not INTERESTED (at least not really) in chinese side of the story, cause even when they have it, it is often dismissed as “propaganda” and the like. The issue on this is not having or not having this or that official side of the story, that wouldn’t, and DON’T change anything, even when there are official statement by the government…cause even then western journalist simply ignore most of it, and tell their own “faked/biased/prejudiced/false/ignorant” (choose one) story, regardless of official declarations and, worst of all, simple clear facts.

    Really? And how do you know this? Do you work in the Western media covering China? Do you know those reporters personally? You’ve heard them say this? Because I do work in the Western media covering China, and I do know a lot of the foreign correspondents in Beijing, and to my knowledge what you’re saying is not accurate at all.

    Btw, ur attempt to downplay the gravity of the fact that western journalists simply lie whenever they see fit, trying to blame someone else is childish, and frankly, offensive for urs and the intelligence of whomever read this comments.

    “Western journalists simply lie whenever they see fit.” This is a huge overstatement, and also a preposterously broad generalization.

    In the end it all goes back to professionalism and dignity: “Since when, anyway, not be granted access to what u want, or be “ignored” is a valid excuse for distorting facts and plain and simple lying?”..if you choose to lie, u just lie, trying to find petty excuses for this only makes you look more dishonest.

    Sure. But who is “lying”? Western coverage might be biased from time to time, but it is rarely inaccurate.

  46. Al
    August 16th, 2011 at 22:57 | #46

    C. Custer….I know cause I know and I spoke with some of them personally, cause I argued with some of them personally, cause I know personally people who work in the media…but most of all, cause I (as many others here) have eyes to read and see, and a brain to reason..it doesn’t really take some one from inside to realize that…On the contrary, it takes exactly someone from inside to try and defend this fraudolent and unprofessional way of working. You are not the least original in this respect 🙂
    I will add something…the fact that you DO work in the western media doesn’t really add something on ur objectivity on the issue. On the contrary, it is my, unfortunately not rare, experience that often western media circle in China (and not only) are a kind of closed, self-centered, self-referential and, worst of all, self-righteous environment, always reading things through the lens of its own bias and preconceived ideas.

    As for the rest of your statements, I will leave them aside, cause their “clumsiness” (I think from the context is pretty clear that my original statement was related to a well defined field of “reporting”, only if you are biased in wanting to defend the “profession” u can define it as a “overstatement and a broad generalization”) and preposterousness are self evident…I think that just only on this website we have plenty of examples, as if it was needed, of exposed western journalists lies and distortions.

    Btw…if something is biased, it can’t, by definition, be accurate….

  47. August 16th, 2011 at 23:41 | #47

    Al :
    C. Custer….I know cause I know and I spoke with some of them personally, cause I argued with some of them personally, cause I know personally people who work in the media…but most of all, cause I (as many others here) have eyes to read and see, and a brain to reason..it doesn’t really take some one from inside to realize that…On the contrary, it takes exactly someone from inside to try and defend this fraudolent and unprofessional way of working. You are not the least original in this respect

    Ah, how clever. So my knowing about the subject in question through personal experience makes me ineligible to comment on it. I see what you did there!

    But let’s play ball for real. Who do you know, specifically, and what have they said to you that made you believe they’re happy to just make up and print lies? If these people are so evil, why not share some names? I’m sure we know some of the same people, and I’d love to ask them about your conversations, to hear their perspectives on it — that is, unless you were just making all that stuff about knowing them up.

    As for the rest of your statements, I will leave them aside, cause their “clumsiness” (I think from the context is pretty clear that my original statement was related to a well defined field of “reporting”, only if you are biased in wanting to defend the “profession” u can define it as a “overstatement and a broad generalization”) and preposterousness are self evident…I think that just only on this website we have plenty of examples, as if it was needed, of exposed western journalists lies and distortions.

    Yes, truly my argument was the clumsy one. 🙂

    Btw…if something is biased, it can’t, by definition, be accurate….

    Uh, no. Bias in prejudice in favor of one thing over another. Accuracy refers to whether or not something is factually true.

    Especially if you go back a few years, you could say many Western media reports were biased in that the information presented is chosen selectively to push readers in a certain direction. That doesn’t mean they’re inaccurate, though. (Of course, some stories were inaccurate in addition to being biased, but that’s much less common).

    For example, let’s say I write a story about a house being forcibly demolished. I interview the people who owned the house, and take photos of it being torn down. I don’t even try to talk to anyone from the government, or from the development company.

    You might reasonably argue my story is biased — I told the story in a misleading way by intentionally not presenting the whole picture. However, my story isn’t inaccurate. It does not contain lies; the house really was torn down and the house owners really did say what I quoted them as saying.

    Anyway, I don’t know why I’m bothering. If you really don’t know the difference between something being inaccurate and biased there’s obviously not much point in discussing this, or anything else, with you.

  48. Al
    August 18th, 2011 at 09:31 | #48

    Sorry Custer, but it’s not my “habit” make names (u can accept it or not, I’m not a 15 years old geek hungry for “victory” on a website or eager to show “mine is bigger”…the facts prove you wrong enough all around this website, and the “scolding” u gather from almost everyone is already enough), u can call it “making stuff” etc. (wouldn’t really expect more from you at this point), I call it respect for privacy, mine, my friends and others…and, as for evil, come on, don’t be too childish in order to “score” another imaginary victory in your mind..those are simply unprofessional people, not the devil 😉

    For the rest, you have been discredited and proven wrong around here (and not only) multiple times, in multiple ways, on multiple issues with a wide variety of facts, datas, proofs etc. but you are too FULL of yourself to simply acknowledge it, and accept it…so..no, I won’t add the fact that not being able to understand that something biased cannot truly be accurate (letting aside the your hilarious statement according to which western journalists are “rarely” inaccurate….which has been contradicted multiple times even here) is the definite mark of your shallowness.

    “Anyway, I don’t know why I’m bothering. If you really don’t know the difference between something being inaccurate and biased there’s obviously not much point in discussing this, or anything else, with you.”

    Really, Custer, that’s the best you can do? How old are you, 11? I realize now that an “Ivy league” degree must have become pretty cheap these days

  49. August 18th, 2011 at 21:40 | #49

    Al :

    Really, Custer, that’s the best you can do?

    Right back at you. I have to say, I expected a weak comeback, but I didn’t expect you to avoid literally everything I said. Textbook execution of the “Hidden Harmonies” debate style, though (does not apply to all commenters on this site, but I’ve seen it from a few people):

    Person 1: Makes an assertion

    Me: Challenges that assertion.

    Person 1: Ignores challenge, suggests I have already been proven wrong “elsewhere”, declares victory.

  50. raventhorn2000
    August 24th, 2011 at 06:07 | #50

    “Western coverage might be biased from time to time, but it is rarely inaccurate.”

    Quoting other people’s inaccurate reports are not bias, it’s also inaccuracy (or at very least complete disregard for accuracy).

  51. April 20th, 2012 at 23:49 | #51

    I may be on a hiatus for a couple of weeks, going back to visit my home back in Taiwan…

    Was clearing my email and came across this link that I had saved. I may have left it in some comments, but am not sure, so am leaving it here again.

    One of the biased presumptions we often hear in the biased Western media is of Han Chinese / Chinese even going in to overwhelming the Uighur native populations in Urumqi / Xinjiang. Here is an excerpt of a brief history of Urumqi that I hope will give better balance to that distorted narrative.

    http://archnet.org/library/places/one-place.jsp?place_id=2536&order_by=title&showdescription=1

    Urumqi, meaning “fine pasture” in Mongolian, is the capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and is said to be the most landlocked city in China. It is the main settlement of the Junggar basin, a valley that for centuries has been the mercantile passageway, and a route of conquest, between Mongolia and Central Asia. Located at the base of the Tianshan Mountains, the city borders the Taklamakan Desert. From the alpine Lake of Heaven and the mountain glaciers to the south runs the Urumqi River, which bisects the city.

    Until recent industrialization, Urumqi was a large frontier town and a major node along the high-traffic northern Silk Road, which skirted the north of the Taklamakan Desert from Xian through Turfan to Urumqi before arriving at Aksu and Kashi. The city’s eclectic built fabric reveals the new industrial and the old mercantile identities.

    In first century B.C., Han Chinese soldiers established the city as the imperial outpost Luntai. During the Tang Dynasty in the seventh and eighth centuries, Luntai was developed as a regional administrative center. Uygur people, who were fleeing the Kyrgz from the Orhon Valley took the city in the ninth century and made it their northern capital along with Kashi to the southwest and Turfan to the east. After the establishment of Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire in the thirteenth century, and during the subsequent stability of the Pax Mongolica, Urumqi was known as Bishbalik or “the five cities,” because the city was divided into five walled areas. These cities stretched southwards along the eastern bank of the Wulumuqi River beginning with the walled inner-city with its four gates, to the southernmost city, which contained the major marketplace.

    The Chinese Manchu dynasty reclaimed the Junggar basin in the eighteenth century, and built a garrisoned city to the northwest of Urumqi to thwart Dzungar attacks. The new city, Tihua, was perfectly square, covering an area of 1,200 by 1,200 meters divided into quadrants. The Uygur Dungan rebellion against the Chinese forces of occupation from 1864 to 1876 destroyed most of the old city. In 1884, the Chinese Province of Xinjiang was established with Urumqi as its capital. By the 1900s about 10,000 people lived in the new city while 30,000 people still inhabited old Urumqi across the river. Still a major commercial center, the city was sought after by the British as well as the Russians due to its strategic location.

    In the 1950s, the population of Urumqi skyrocketed to about one and a half million people as the new Communist government began developing the desert to the north of the city for agricultural cultivation and the extraction of petroleum, coal, iron, copper and salt. The different segments of the city were engulfed in suburbs and eventually merged into the unified modern Urumqi. A railroad was built to the city in 1963 from Beijing and major highways have been extended since into the Xinjiang Province.

    Today, multi-storied office and apartment buildings, hospitals, universities and industrial smokestacks define Urumqi’s skyline. However, much of the urban fabric -the neighborhood and street layouts as well as the housing- has maintained its Mongol, Chinese and Turkish influences. Most of the Uygur and Muslim Hui Chinese inhabit the older parts of the city, while the Han Chinese who arrived since the 1950s were settled in the newer segments of the city.

    The mosques of Urumqi represent a variety of typologies; the Shaanxi Mosque is built distinctly in Chinese pagoda style, while the Beytullah Mosque has a bulbous central dome and minarets with crescent finials, in contrast with the square minaret of the wooden Tartar Mosque. These monumental mosques are complimented by the recently built Islamic Institute of Xinjiang. Secular features of Urumqi include the 1970s Communist brigade residential quarters, the Xinjiang People’s Theater and the Xinjiang Science Hall.

    Sources:

    Lunde, Paul. 1985. “Muslims in China: The History”. In Aramco World Magazine 36-4, 29. http://archnet.org/library/documents/one-document.jsp?document_id=4357 [Accessed October 23, 2004]

    Petersen, Andrew. 1996. Dictionary of Islamic Architecture. London: Routledge., 52-54. http://archnet.org/library/dictionary/entry.jsp?entry_id=DIA0074 [Accessed October 23, 2004]

    Rab, Samia. 1989. Continuity and Change in the Rural Habitat: the case of Urumchi, China. Unpublished Report, Aga Khan Visual Archives, 11-14.

    Schinz, Alfred. 1989. Cities in China. Berlin: Gebruder Brontraeger, 449-451.

    “Urumchi.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
    23 Oct. 2004 .

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