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Posts Tagged ‘media’

A victory for the rule of law: an untold story in China

July 21st, 2008 63 comments

Two months ago, major Western newspapers ran stories on laywers Jiang Tianyong and Teng Biao. These two have been working in the “rights defense” (维权) movement in China. Both have received extensive overseas praise and attention for their work defending dissidents and FLG practictioners. Both also offered to defend Tibetans implicated in the March riots.

It all culminated in these articles at the beginning of June.  I won’t bother quoting from the articles; the titles are pretty self-explanatory:

New York Times: Beijing Suspends Licenses of 2 Lawyers Who Offered to Defend Tibetans in Court
Washington Post: China Shuts Out 2 Lawyers Over Tibetans’ Cases
Toronto Star: Lawyers pay high price for coming to aid of Tibetans
Reuters: China rights lawyers say licenses blocked after Tibet call

The articles largely agree in content, and are basically copied directly from press releases from activist dissident groups: the two lawyers were denied their licenses for political reasons, authoritarian China, no sign of reform, etc, etc…

Well, we’ve learned more about their situations since.  However, the Western media doesn’t seem very interested in telling the rest of the story.  We’ll just have to discuss it here.

Read more…

Categories: News Tags: , ,

The danger of categorically accusing others of prejudice

July 18th, 2008 65 comments

Tom Miller of the South China Morning Post has generated somewhat doubtful outrages with an article alleging Beijing ordered bars not to serve blacks. For now, however, Beijing Boyce seems to have seriously deflated the credibility of Tom Miller’s work. (H/T Danwei) Read more…

Ted Koppel on the People's Republic of Capitalism

July 10th, 2008 10 comments

Most Chinese and Sinophiles are probably already aware of this, but here’s a reminder that Discovery channel is broadcasting a 4-part series, hosted by Ted Koppel, on the People’s Republic of Capitalism. (Part 2 will be broadcast tonight, Thursday July 10th.) The general consensus (from both Chinese and overseas viewers) seems to be: interesting, reasonably well-done, but not especially shocking or ground-breaking.

Courtesy of the Shanghaiist, here is Ted Koppel talking on Charlie Rose:

UPDATE: Courtesy of AC, here’s the full video of Ted Koppel on Charlie Rose. I believe his interview and comments are very interesting, probably better than the actual Discovery documentary itself.

Categories: media Tags:

Wall Street Journal gets it wrong on Weng'an

July 7th, 2008 39 comments

A few days ago, an assistant working for the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong emailed me an inquiry, asking for my thoughts on the Weng’an story. They were working on a story about the significance of citizen bloggers like Zola, and were interested in my input.

Unfortunately, the version they finally went to press with is simply wrong. I usually am more politic on this blog, but I feel entitled to judge this article, especially after they asked me for my opinion. The title and introductory paragraph from the article tell you all you really need to know about the rest:

Chinese Bloggers Score a Victory Against the Government
Firings Indicate Growing Power; Exploits of ‘Zola’

Aggressive Chinese bloggers make an art of challenging Chinese government propaganda. This week, they can claim a victory.


That change in stance appears to be a direct result of pressure brought by journalists and Chinese bloggers such as Zhou Shuguang, a self-styled “personal news station,” who didn’t allow the issue to drop, posting to the Internet unofficial reports along with photos and pleas from the family of the dead youth.

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Categories: Analysis, media Tags: ,

Heads roll (figuratively) in the Weng'An riot aftermath

July 5th, 2008 10 comments

David Peng made a prediction in his blog An Anachronist’s Life on July 1st, thee days after the Weng’An riot:

… I predict, the “Hu Jintao style” government response [which emphasises on proactive reporting the news and guiding the public discussion/opinion in order to restore/maintain stability] is going to be followed by acts in the “organizing department style” , that the entire local leadership team is going to be summarily dismissed.

He was right. The following is a translation of an article titled “Party secretary and head commisioner of Weng’An county both dismissed”, coming from the Xinhua Net.

Guizhou provincial government continues pursuing officials responsible for the June 28th Weng’An incident. Authorities at various levels have decided on July 4th to dismiss Weng’An county party secretary, Wang Qin, and head commisioner, Wang Haiping, from their positions. [Note: these are the top 1 and 2 positions at the county level.]

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Categories: News Tags: , , ,

Weng'an Riots: How the state media hurts China

July 2nd, 2008 95 comments

The central government did many things right in response to the Weng’an riots. Beijing’s campaign to treat “sudden incidents” with more openness was also obvious; a full news conference revealing the government’s version less than 2 days after the riot is pretty unheard of by Chinese standards. Reporters from around the country and world flooded into Guizhou without limitation (according to one reporter on site, as many as 140 reporters were present for a banquet last night). Citizen blogger/reporters, like Zola, also reported from the scene. Senior provincial leaders were also sent to Weng’an to provide high-level attention; Shi Zongyuan, the Party chief for Guizhou province, was on the scene leading that first investigation team within two days.

By anyone’s standard, these should all be considered positive steps in the aftermath of this type of crisis. But it didn’t completely work; for many Chinese, online tempers still flared. Here’s one key, representative quote behind the public frustration:

Shi Zongyuan pointed out, “6.28” incident started for a simple reason, but was used by a small number of people with ulterior motives along with the participation of evil, organized criminals.

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Categories: media Tags: , , , , ,

The Chinese debate – Part 1: The West

June 28th, 2008 37 comments

One of our myriad goals for this blog was to make one simple point: the Chinese debate politics. The Chinese community debate eloquently and foolishly, intelligently and blindly, informed and uninformed, left and right, China and West… the Chinese are not brain-washed robots living in a closed society; we often disagree, often very passionately. To make this point, we talked about the divide between “old and little generals“; we talked about the Chinese that love America; we talked about Tianya, one of the bastions of online debate in China; and we of course had a long series about the deeply divisive issue of Six Four

Debate is important, because debate is the foundation of true knowledge and true conviction; without opening yourself up to true debate and reconsideration, any knowledge or conviction is suspect. Most in the West have never seen the Chinese debate political issues, so our conclusions are often ignored for exactly the reason. The more that we explain what the Chinese debate about, the more we will gain respect (if not agreement)… and gradually, we can erase Western bias and ignorance. And even more importantly, the better we’ll know what we want from our own country.

Thanks to one our visitors (Traveler, Youzi, 游子), this debate has been brought to our blog (see comment in previous thread).

In terms of the problem with Western media’s “bias”, different Chinese can have different feelings. For overseas Chinese, because they exist in a different cultural environment, it’s easy for them to develop some isolation while interacting with locals. Minorities will often feel more sensitive about mainstream media’s criticisms. In reality, the same reaction can be seen in China’s interior as well. Furthermore, outsiders always feel discriminated against by locals, and the most basic reason is a cultural gap. This sort of discrimination due to the cultural gap is a very common phenomenon, and can only be erased through integration. Clearly, any sort of specific discrimination that causes injury or loss, can be rectified through a lawsuit seeking economic compensation. Therefore, the discrimination due to cultural differences in the West should be resolved by law if effective rule of law exists; cultural problems can only be resolved through cultural interaction.

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Is Fiat too clever?

June 27th, 2008 44 comments

The story of Fiat apologizing to China for its Richard Gere and Tibet themed ad for a new car was first reported on June 20. At that time, I quickly dismissed it as nothing but another blunder by the marketing department of a global company that should have known better. The ad itself wasn’t problematic per se. But it was clearly created with Richard Gere’s Tibet oriented activism in mind. Somebody should have foreseen that it would be perceived as provocative by some (or a lot) people.

So my first impression was quite similar to how Stan Abrams reacted in his China Hearsay blog.

Someone should get fired for this, and not because of the political overtones themselves. No, someone should be fired for incompetence. Through the whole vetting process for this ad, no one thought this was a bad idea? Really?

But interestingly, the story didn’t just die. I keep seeing reports of this matter in the English based media, perhaps because Fiat was also rather loudly insisting that the commercial would continue to air. “That’s odd,” I thought, “What’s the point for Fiat to apologize in the first place?”

Tim Johnson, in his China Rises blog, offerred an explanation.

Maybe it is a new corporate strategy. Mount an ad campaign. Anger Chinese. Capture lots of newspaper headlines. Issue an apology. Keep the ad campaign running anyway.

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Briefs on Tibet: Action and Reaction

June 7th, 2008 102 comments

Just as the earthquake shook China last month, the ground has also shifted under the Tibet issue. It seems the protests and counter-protests did not go into a black hole, but are having some effects on the media. But the exiles and their supporters aren’t ready to pass up on such a good chance in this Olympic year yet. They are elevating the profile of a different lama. Between now and the Olympics, we may also see more Tibetan disturbances should the talks not “work out”, as the Dalai Lama advised/threatened. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. Inside are a few articles in the recent news on these two cross-currents, action and reaction:
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Lesson on physics: a stone sinks deeper if it keeps on digging

May 31st, 2008 17 comments

Alright, I have to concede, after a few days of reflection, that I might have been a bit too harsh on Sharon Stone.

Some of the commentators, both on this blog and else where, have suggested/recommended leaving her alone for it was not worth the ink (or the LCD backlight decay) to argue over her remarks. I see the wisdom of such perspectives now. All I really should have done is to stand aside and watch her pushing the proverbial high heel and the attached flesh ever deeper down into her throat.

So Sharon, please keep going. And would you like a bigger shovel?

PS: Could anyone explain to me why Google News, when the term “Sharon Stone” is queried, would return a top ranked link titled “Actress Stone Contrite Over China Comments” whereas the referenced NYT article is actually titled “Actress Stone and Dior Differ Over Apology”?

Categories: media, News Tags: , , ,

Beijing's sensitivity to people with disabilities received sensitively

May 28th, 2008 17 comments

I was alerted by the China Hearsay to a story titled “Disabled groups outraged by Beijing snub,” at the Times. It reported the indignation expressed by some to an official guide for volunteers at the Beijing Olympic Games in August and the Paralympics in September.

“I’m stunned,” said Simone Aspis, a parliamentary campaigner at the UK Disabled People’s Council. “It’s not just the language but the perception that in 2008 we are considered a race apart. ”

So what is it in that guide that caused such negative reactions? One example offered in the news report is the following abbreviated quote lifted from the guide:

“Some physically disabled are isolated, unsocial, and introspective. They can be stubborn and controlling . . . defensive and have a strong sense of inferiority.”

[EDITED TO ADD A NOTE] I probably should have noted that the “…” in the quote above spans fully three pages in the guide and the separated parts are placed in completely different sections. Yet, the next quote listed in the report follows almost right after the “They can be stubborn and controlling” part.

Hmm, I must admit such writing, as reported, sounds inartful. (As an aside, I am a bit sensitive to inartful language nowadays.) It’s understandable that some may even find it insulting. Nevertheless, is there some contextual information that was lost in the reporting? I decided to read through the guide and see for myself. And the following is the full paragraph containing the offending quote.

Physically disabled people are often mentally healthy. They show no differences in sensation, reaction, memorization and thinking mechanism from other people, but they might have unusual personalities because of disfigurement and disability. For example, some physically disabled are isolated, unsocial, and introspective; they usually do not volunteer to contact people. They can be stubborn and controlling; they may be sensitive and struggle with trust issues. Sometimes they are overly protective of themselves, especially when they are called “crippled” or “paralyzed”. It is not acceptable for others to hurt their dignity, so volunteers should make extra efforts to assist with due respect.

Read more…

Sharon Stone reveals her dark basic instinct

May 26th, 2008 91 comments

While being interviewed at the Cannes film festival, Sharon Stone shared some candid words on her reactions to the Sichuan earthquake, which to date is estimated to have killed more than 80,000 (including confirmed fatalities and those missing) and left millions homeless. I would strongly urge everyone to listen for yourself at this YouTube link. The following is a transcript I took down from the video clip as precisely as possible. The capitalized words reflect her own emphasized tones.

[EDITED to break the transcript into more readable parts]

Sharon Stone: … Well you know it was very interesting because at first, you know, I am not happy about the ways the Chinese were treating the Tibetans because I don’t think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And so I have been very concerned about how to think and what to do about that because I don’t like THAT.

And I had been this, you know, concerned about, oh how should we deal with the Olympics because they are not being nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine.

And all these earthquake and stuff happened and I thought: IS THAT KARMA? When you are not nice that bad things happen to you.

And then I got a letter, from the Tibetan Foundations that they want to go and be helpful. And that made me cry. And they ask me if I would write a quote about that and I said, “I would.” And it was a big lesson to me, that some times you have to learn to put your head down and be of service even to people who are not nice to you. And that’s a big lesson for me.

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Western coverage begins to find balance

May 12th, 2008 3 comments

In recent weeks, Western press coverage has substantially changed in tone from earlier, one-sided demonized versions.  One article today which, while still criticizing Beijing on human rights + Tibet issues, concludes there is another side of the Olympics story yet to be heard.

Telegraph: New China basks in golden glow of Olympics

Categories: media Tags: , ,

Two Chinese protests, two different reactions

May 6th, 2008 35 comments

Written by Tang Buxi – May 5th, 2008

There were (at least) two significant protests on Sunday. Both involved Chinese people, and both were significant and interesting in their own ways. That’s where the similarities end.

Chinese Supporter in Manhattan - \

If you get your news primarily from the New York Times and other Western media, here’s what you saw, and here’s what you missed.

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