In light of President Xi’s latest visit to Russia, it would be appropriate to provide a nuanced perspective to the current state of Sino-Russian relations. It is understandably difficult for the western media to deliver this kind of nuance; this difficulty stems not only from western biases against both Russia and China that obstructs objective analysis, but also the complications inherent in bilateral relations. For the sake of brevity, I will make just two observations which is inadequately emphasized in modern-day discourse on the Sino-Russian bilateral relationship – incentives for cooperation and Russia’s true value as a “comprehensive” strategic partner. Continue reading A proper perspective on Sino-Russian relations
Allen and I had a chance to chat with Professor Ann Lee a little over a year ago, and we continue to see her moderating the warped perspectives in the Anglophone press. In this short CNBC video, she debunks Professor Peter Navarro of UC Irvine. Actually, she’s mostly debunking CNBC’s narrative. China’s urbanization rate is still only about 52%. When China’s industrialization finishes, about 1 billion people would have moved. Demand for urban housing is astronomical in China this day in age. As Lee says, China is implementing various policies to curb escalating real-estate prices. Allen often like to say – this is an economics issue, but as you see in the narrative below from CNBC’s reporter and Peter Navarro, this issue sounds ominous and political doesn’t it? Kudos to Lee for sticking to her points which we wholeheartedly agree with.
What’s the most absurd nonsense that’s out there in the American press lately? Now that the Wall Street Journal has jumped into the fray, asserting, “Chinese Hackers Hit U.S. Media,” I thought the paper would at least cite some hard evidence. Alas, no. Instead, when you see the whole article premised on “people familiar with incidents said” or “several people familiar with the response to the cyberattacks said,” well, what can you say? Perhaps there is a career in journalism in quoting cats and dogs too. But I must give the WSJ credit for interviewing Chinese Embassy spokesman Geng Shuang, who condemned the allegations: “It is irresponsible to make such an allegation without solid proof and evidence. The Chinese government prohibits cyberattacks and has done what it can to combat such activities in accordance with Chinese laws.”
Continue reading Chinese hackers hacking Western journalists to want to know what they THINK about China?
With the U.S. Congress recently passing and President Obama signing into law the Magnitsky Act, Russian officials can be blacklisted and punishable for “human rights violations.” In response, the Russian parliament retaliated banning Americans from adopting Russian orphans. In reporting these two events, Russia Today laments the following which I thought interesting and worthwhile pondering:
There was, however, a significant difference. Under President Vladimir Putin’s “authoritarian regime,” the Russian media were filled with heated controversy over the adoption ban, including denunciations of Putin for signing it. In the “democratic” US mainstream media, on the other hand, there has been only applause for the Magnitsky Act and President Obama’s decision to sign it. Nor is this the first time leading American newspapers and television and radio outlets have been cheerleaders for a new cold war.
One of the best methods used by colonists, genociders, and other racist oppressors is to use testimony from certain members of the victim group as evidence of the victim group’s subhuman nature. We are told that this member of that group agrees with the oppresser’s narrative of the inferiority of the victim group. White slave masters loved to show-off their House Negroes who went on about the natural inferiority of the black race and how slavery was a good thing for his people. This kind of co-opting of narratives to serve as a tool to justify racism and oppression is common throughout history. If even they say they’re inferior/evil/stupid/worthy of oppression, oppressing them has to be right!
Savaged Again, Understanding the BBC’s Role
Monday, 26 November 2012 09:20
By John Pilger, Truthout | Op-Ed
In the Middle East, the Israeli state has successfully intimidated the BBC into presenting the theft of Palestinian land and the caging, torturing and killing of its people as an intractable “conflict” between equals. Understanding the BBC as a pre-eminent state propagandist is on no public agenda and it ought to be.
Continue reading Savaged Again, Understanding the BBC’s Role
Criticism of China’s high-speed rail development is rampant, but I must take exception to Ian Johnson’s recent piece in the National Geographic. Before his article even begins, the defamatory lede reads: “Engineering blitzkrieg continues despite financial and human toll.” For Westerners, ‘blitzkrieg’ conjures Nazi aggression during WW2 as they trampled their way around Europe in domination. America’s NASA program had her human toll too in the Challenger disaster in 1986. I wonder if Johnson would dare to characterize the U.S. shuttle program as “engineering blitzkrieg.” Continue reading National Geographic gets in on anti-China defamation
Zigong inquired, “What if everyone in a village despises a person?” The Master said, “It’s not enough. It would be better if the best villagers love and the worst despise, this person.”
There’s no one more emblematic of Chinese wisdom than the ancient Chinese sage, Confucius (Kong Zi). His legacy as a philosopher in Chinese history is unsurpassed and his influence still seen even two and half thousand years after his death. The spirit of his ideas can be felt in the words, actions and future hopes of the Chinese people despite the fact that much of the influence has been diluted during contemporary times.
The following tweet by Gady Epstein, a correspondent for the Economist based in Beijing, is not surprising. The way I read it, he seemed dissatisfied that China and Japan haven’t yet escalated their tension into war.
Yes, this is that same trash magazine that had a sort of mea culpa not too long ago for their role in justifying British imperialism against the Chinese. Remember the Opium Wars? Yes, they ‘regretted’ fueling that war! Earlier in the year they announced a dedicated section to China coverage, and in response I suggested they have an editorial overhaul, because that very announcement were filled with bigotry they said they wanted to avoid. Apparently, that overhaul didn’t happen, and their century-old tradition of fact-twisting continues. Here we are today, on the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands dispute, I just want to share a few bits of the anti-China propaganda this thing, The Economist, is. Continue reading The Economist’s Anti-China Stance on Diaoyu Islands
Ron Paul has a sizable following which agree with his view that senseless wars or “humanitarian” interventions around the world actually undermine peace and future prospects for the United States. (Believe it or not, some paper even called Ron Paul “dangerous.”) While few, there are other U.S. politicians who hold similar views. Back in 2001, then Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D), GA, boldly sponsored a forum to criticize the West and the U.S. for having “set in motion a policy of oppression, destabilization and tempered, not by moral principle, but by a ruthless desire to enrich itself on Africa’s fabulous wealth.” The full proceedings are still available here, at From The Wilderness Publications. So our readers may piece this all together, Ray, in his recent article, “Debunking Myth of China exploiting Africa Again!” shared with us a debate where Deborah Brautigam, Professor in the School of International Service at American University and Stephen Chan, Dean of Arts and Sciences at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) handily beat their opponents spouting Western media narratives in how China is supposedly exploiting Africa.
Despite full access to Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen and her executives (including Chen Lifan, a board member and a senior vice president), CNET continues to report with astounding accusations and insinuations. At the heart of the issue is American and Australian press accusing Huawei of potentially assisting the Chinese government of hacking into American and Australian computers. The CNET report is wrapped up by a segment where writer Jay Greene (who along with Roger Cheng wrote the article) is interviewed by CNET’s Editor, Bridget Carey, titled, “The espionage anxiety over Huawei.” Now, how do you prove that you are not a spy when your accuser merely accuse you of spying? Isn’t the accuser obligated to present evidence? How does a person prove that he is not a savage to a racist who accuses him of such? The video segment below shows what’s wrong with CNET and the American (and Australian) media in general when they lose faculty in judging how ludicrous their own narratives are.
Continue reading CNET’s “Espionage anxiety over Huawei”
This is a good start, but we need more articles like this in the Mainland press, not just HK:
West has no reason to be smug
Graeme Maxton says Western leaders who lecture the rest of the world about democracy, human rights and the free market should first practise what they preach, then learn to respect other ways.
Continue reading Good to see Chinese media going on the offensive in an unapologetic manner
There has been terrible violence in India’s Assam region recently and the violence has spread to other parts of India. Since this is a blog on China, not India, I am not going to dig too much into the cause or even meaning of the riots. But I do want to point out the relatively “favorable” coverage India is getting.
In almost all reports I see, India is cast as the force of stability (and humanity), with the forces of conniving politicians and ethnic-based politics the root of instability. By comparison, when ethnic violence occurs in China, the opposite story is told, with ethnic-based politics held in high regard (under the guise of “human rights”) and any efforts to stabilize the situation seen as somehow oppressive and barbaric.
You see this fairly uniformly across Western media in all Western countries, including even self-professed “independent” news sources such as the global post. Here is a recent article global post had on Tibetan self immolations – which place the blame squarely on China. The Tibetans who burned themselves – and by extension the Tibetans who rioted in 2008 – were seen as oppressed people who had a right to riot, to fight back and were cheered on for their presumptive courage. There was never a reference to the official Chinese perspective on what’s really going on. Continue reading Riots in Assam
First, let me emphasize that I don’t believe or even suspect the 800m freestyle Olympic gold medal winner Kathie Ledecky is doping. Yes, she came from nowhere (ranked #55 in 2011) and had a huge one-year improvement (4.2%), but these aren’t unheard of for teenagers. For example, the 2004 200m backstroke gold medal winner, Zimbabwean Kristy Coventry had the similar trajectory (ranked #19 in 2003 and one-year time improvement was also 4.2%). Compare to Ye who was fairly well known prior to the Games, they truly came from nowhere and had much larger one-year improvement (Ye’s one-year improvement was 1.9%.).
While on the topic of suspicion of doping, I am having a hard time to believe Carmelita Jeter is clean. Jeter’s personal best of 100 meter dash was at age 26 11.48”, at age 27 11.02”, and she has managed to improve to 10.64” at age 32.
The purpose of this post is examining the coverage of Ye and Ledecky by a couple of major Western media outlets, and scoring them in terms of being fair and balanced.
BBC – A
It aired the viewpoint of John Leonard; it also aired the rebuttals by Ye, her team and her Australian coach.
Its guest commentator Ian Thorpe offered his defense of Ye.
At the end, with all information available so far, it has done a couple of fine pieces of summary reports (report A, report B). Also the pictures of Ye Shiwen aren’t the unflattering ones, certainly not PS’d.
New York Times – F
What an embarrassment of horrendous journalistic integrity! I know New York Times has sunk into hell, but I simply can’t imagine it can sink this low.
Like everybody else, it provided a stage for John Leonard’s viewpoint. It made no mention of the rebuttals, but had no problem of summarizing the reactions by the Chinese media and the public — in its twisted way I might add. It didn’t report the WADA test result, or Moynihan’s defense, or Ian Thorpe’s defense, or Michael Phelps’ defense of Ye. It also didn’t report the doping questions being raised on Ledecky because of her improvement being far better than Ye’s.
As a sports enthusiast, I follow a lot of less known athletes, of which some eventually became superstars, but far more just faded. A superstar example was Liu Xiang. I started following him in 2002 after he clocked 13.12” at age 19. It takes knowledge and experience to link up 13.12” and 19, and figure out the potentiality – or quite frankly just a lot of time waste nurturing a hobby.
The first time I watched Ye Shiwen swimming in a live race on TV, was the 200 meter Individual Medley (IM) in the 2011 FINA World Championships held in Shanghai. I had started following Ye Shiwen since 2010 but had never actually watched her swim. In the 2010 Asian Games, she won 3 gold medals and ended the year ranking #1 in 200m IM, and #2 in 400m IM in the world. 2010 was in the middle of two Olympic Games, and sometimes the rankings don’t mean nearly as much as in an Olympic year – but she was only 14!
Continue reading Ye Shiwen, the 16 year old dreamy girl superstar, and the ugly world
An Asia Society piece here with three experts weighing in on the 15th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong. Winston Lord, Orville Schell, and Jeffrey Wasserstrom are all individuals we can respect. What struck me really, really hard was that they were talking about press freedom. Wait a minute! How about adding a Chinese perspective there, say, from Eric X Li? Then, that’d make it 1 out of 4 being a China voice. Still, that’d be 3 Americans versus 1 Chinese. I guess they never thought of that. Does “freedom of the press” = balanced perspectives?
In this recent article at the New Yorker, Evan Osnos insinuates Chinese companies ultimately cannot be trusted because their relationship with the government cannot be known for certain. His entire article basically boils down to the following:
Part of the complexity about being a big Chinese company is that it’s not clear what information related to your relationship with the government counts as a secret.
I guess China could simply declare Apple has a secret spy chip implanted on behalf of the NSA in every iPhone. No evidence required. Therefore, Apple should be blocked in China and around the world. Imagine a Chinese journalist writes, “part of the complexity about Apple’s relationship with the NSA is you don’t know what counts as a secret.” The secret is so secretive, we can’t find anything! Hence it’s complex. What idiocy. Does that even make sense? Continue reading The New Yorker throws stone in a glass house
Following is an interesting interview of Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, by Julian Assange. There are many criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, but what I find most interesting is Correa lamenting the fact he has to fight against moneyed interests within his own country who control the mass media. Assange asked about China being a replacement devil as source of capital. With Brazil and China as alternative sources of capital for Latin America, the political landscape is slowly changing. Another thought that struck me was the idea of transparency. U.S. media and politician often criticize China of being ‘opaque.’ Isn’t suppression of Wikileaks hypocrisy? Continue reading President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, to Julian Assange, “welcome to the club of the persecuted”
In this American Public Media’s Marketplace report (which I heard on NPR yesterday), reporter Rob Schmitz casts some doubts about China’s investments in Mongolia (podcast segment starts at 10:40 mark), especially with respect to recently discovered coal deposits. Of course, this is the same Rob Schmitz who exposed the Mike Daisey lies about working conditions at Foxconn. Schmitz is one of the best Western reporters covering China right now. I love listening to Marketplace and appreciate his work. Continue reading American Public Media’s Marketplace casts doubt on China’s investment in Mongolia, what about America’s in Canada?
Another common meme to dehumanize and defame the Chinese people is that they are cannibals and specifically eat babies. The Nazi analogy meme, the cruelty to animals meme and this meme have been very successfully employed in getting people to see the Chinese people as less than human. After all, what’s more worthy of white folk’s’ sympathies than Tibetans, cute furry animals and babies? What’s more worthy of condemnation and foam-at-the-mouth vitriol than any perceived harm done to those most venerable groups of innocent beings? The latest epidemic in this last infestation of hate-mongering is from South Korean customs officials that claim that pills made of ground up baby powder was manufactured in China to be distributed in South Korea as medicine and “stamina enhancement” supplements.
The following report by Russia Today is about a year old, but is just as applicable today, or for that matter, for the years to come. We often hear in the Western press that the Internet democratizes information. I think that’s very true. But they often portray it, for example, in China’s case, as Chinese public rising up using the Internet to challenge the Chinese government. That was really the rage during the “dot com” boom period. Recently, since social media is hot, that narrative is recycled with a social media twist. Or when the Arab Spring was hot, the narrative was yet again recycled into a “Jasmine Revolution” for China. However, as this RT report suggests, there is also the bigger trend of narratives put forth on the global stage by countries like Russia and China. The West will increasingly dominate less. Perhaps “war” is too strong a word. I sincerely hope the different narratives serve to balance. Continue reading Russia Today: “Hillary Clinton: US Losing Information War to Alternative Media”
From imgur. This image almost brought tears to my eyes. I am so disappointed in the lack of humanity in the Western press. The plight of Iraqi children not told. So much for human rights bullshitery. [Update April 22, 2012: As a reader pointed out below in the comment section, this image seems to be taken from a public service announcement; not a genuine story. However, nobody is denying the monstrosity that took place in Iraq in the last couple of decades, and perhaps that blame lays not only at the Western media but squarely too at the American public as melektaus rightfully put it.]
(Update 4/20/2012: see update section below with response from Branigan.)
There has been a lot of rumor mongering going on in the Western press about Bo Xilai and the alleged murder of British citizen Neil Heywood by his wife Gu Kailai. In an otherwise fairly well researched article by Guardian U.K. reporter, Tania Branigan, there were couple of crucial errors that were uncalled for. This scandal is indeed one about corruption. However, as Premier Wen recently said, corruption is the most critical problem China faces today. That view is unanimous across the whole country. Insinuating the Chinese government not sincere about it is ridiculous. Continue reading A few gripes with Tania Branigan’s Bo Xilai corruption piece
Perhaps it’s too much democracy, human rights and freedom. More likely, it’s too less of those things and way too much worries and troubles such as a lack of financial security, too much crime, not enough health care, and deficiencies in other indices of well-being. A common way to measure happiness and well-being is the Happy Planet Index by the New Economics Foundation. In 2006, the organization found that the US scored a disappointing 150 out of 178 countries (between Lithuania and Côte d’Ivoire). In 2009, it found that it was ranked 114 out of 143 (between Madagascar and Nigeria). As a reference, China was 31st and 20th respectively.
CNN is basically trash, though today I was forwarded a link to their look at a toy factory in Shengzhen trying to be more green. Of course, the typical Western view of the Chinese factory is like that of 19th century America or U.K.. There are horrendous working conditions, I am sure, in other sectors such as rare earth and coal mining. The Chinese government absolutely needs to try to help upgrade working conditions in those sectors – perhaps by taxing consumption and exports. While the picture in China is mixed, the view in the West is completely distorted – or at times through outright lies – (see recent Mike Daisy article by Charles Liu and Allen). Continue reading CNN’s latest look at a Shengzhen toy factory in going green
Over the last few years, CCTV has been signaling expanding its footprint around the globe. On February 6, 2012, CCTV America officially launched with a new production studio based in Washington, D.C.. So far, I have watched a number of CCTV America reports, and I must say, for the American market, they are good. The reporters are American and the nuance is too, American. Obviously the narrative is Chinese. (This article contains a video that auto-plays, which I don’t know how to turn off.) Continue reading CCTV America and Beyond
This blog may be taken as a second part my Collective Defamation article (with possible further blogs in the future involving other kinds of anti-sinitic defamation). It is inspired by recent events blogged by Charles Liu. Another vicious slander that is common in the west is that the Chinese are a cruel people. The image is made visceral, rage inducing, when a cute animal is shown being killed or tortured. These kinds of images are often made focusing on Chinese people as the perpetrators. This is an effective image that serves to single out and dehumanize the Chinese as a group and it is very effective.
Recently a story by Peter Simpson of Daily Mail UK made waves in the conservationist circle, that wealthy Chinese businessmen, as many as 100, are paying upwards of $80,000US to hunt endangered polar bears into extinction with this headline, “Rich Chinese Thrill Seekers Paying £50,000 for ‘trip of a lifetime…’ to kill endangered polar bears.”
The Daily Mail then followed up with an OpEd with the temerity to question how cruel the Chinese race is: “are the Chinese the cruelest race on earth?” Continue reading Examining The Non-Existent “Rich Chinese Hunting Polar Bear” Story
Hat tip to reader, perspectivehere, in sharing this important perspective (through our Open Forum) from the continent of Africa, from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, where in this 20-minute talk to a TED audience, she warns against a dominant Western narrative about other peoples on the planet. It’s called, “The danger of a single story.” Adichie’s words must be spread. As perspective rightly noted:
This is one of the problems that Hidden Harmonies is trying to address is to present voices that are different from and challenge the one-sided stories we often see in the western media about China.