Aug 21

Russia, South Ossetia, China and West

Written by wuming on Thursday, August 21st, 2008 at 1:58 pm
Filed under:-mini-posts, General | Tags:, ,
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On Wednesday, Mr. Gorbachev wrote an opinion piece in New York Times commenting on the South Ossetia crises. The following passage sounded eerily familiar:
“The news coverage has been far from fair and balanced, especially during the first days of the crisis. Tskhinvali was in smoking ruins and thousands of people were fleeing — before any Russian troops arrived. Yet Russia was already being accused of aggression; news reports were often an embarrassing recitation of the Georgian leader’s deceptive statements.”

As have been observed before on this blog, this particular conflict is rich in irony, especially when viewed from a Chinese perspective. That it is Mr. Gorbachev who wrote this only adds to the complex layers for us to ponder.

If it was a stretch to argue that the Lhasa riot was some kind of western conspiracy, Russians are not hesitating in making similar claims now, should we tag along?

Should China stick to its non-interference policy? Or should it hug the Russian bear?

Have we got sufficient proof that for matters outside of their border, western media establishment has lost its credibility?

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45 Responses to “Russia, South Ossetia, China and West”

  1. hotshotdebut Says:

    Look at the coverage of Iraq, you will know the answer.

    However there are few alternatives, blogs or sites like alternet?

    Academic books are slightly more reliable, but not up to the minute.

  2. jack Says:

    The Puppet Masters Behind Georgia President Saakashvili. (The real story behind us/jewish imperialist propaganda)


  3. wuming Says:

    I don’t know if we want to get into the “Jewish Conspiracy” mess, too much baggage all around. It is not obvious that Israel regard Russia or China as existing or even potential threat. They have to do Washington’s bidding from time to time (if not for that, they would be selling advanced weapons to China now,) that is all.

  4. FOARP Says:

    @Hotshotdebut – I’m sorry, but have you any evidence to show that the western media was, as a body, untruthful in its reporting of the Iraq war? Plenty of newspapers were entirely dubious about pretty much every aspect of it.

    @Jack – “Jewish imperialism?!?” What awful, anti-Semitic, and racist nonsense!

    @Wuming – Russia banned western reporters from the region – hence the drop-off in western reporting from South Ossetia. So yes, it does resemble the situation in Tibet in that regard.

  5. wuming Says:


    Maybe they should have allowed embeds (or “in beds”, pardon the bad pun) with the Russian army? But yes, there are interesting morsels for all taste in this conflict.

  6. Wahaha Says:

    Nor, morally, west has no right to comment on China’s policy on Tibet, as they never blame what George did to Ossetia.

  7. Wahaha Says:

    Now, morally, west has no right to comment on China’s policy on Tibet, as they never blame what George did to Ossetia.

    Watch the video


  8. B.Smith Says:

    Does anybody else find it ironic that this post is linking to a Western media outlet to highlight an article explaining how bad Western media bias is? 😉

    The strength of the Western media isn’t in reporters who can supposedly be 100% objective all of the time (I doubt you could find any issue to report on where at least one side wouldn’t be screaming about bias). The strength of Western media is that all voices have a chance to be heard, from their own perspectives. I’d take that any day over one source’s “objective” analysis of what happened.

  9. DJ Says:

    I found myself sticking to simplistic views in this matter.

    Georgia: A tail that failed to wag the dog

    Russia: What does it have to lose? Good will and accommodation from the west (NATO)?

    West: All the righteous expression of indignation is almost worth to be designated as a spectator sport.

    And here are a couple interesting quotes, off the top of my head, that I enjoyed:

    Robert Kagan started his essay in WaPo with the following line:

    The details of who did what to precipitate Russia’s war against Georgia are not very important. Do you recall the precise details of the Sudeten Crisis that led to Nazi Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia? Of course not, because that morally ambiguous dispute is rightly remembered as a minor part of a much bigger drama.

    That’s it. Now I am convinced that Georgia started it all.

    Michael Dobbs had this to say, also in WaPo, about Georgia’s president:

    Saakashvili’s decision to gamble everything on a lightning grab for Tskhinvali brings to mind the comment of the 19th-century French statesman Talleyrand: “it was worse than a crime, it was a mistake.”

    How true!

  10. FOARP Says:

    @Wahaha – The accusations levelled against Georgia were carried in all the reports I read, and much of the editorialising was critical of Saakashvilli. Western leaders urged restraint on both sides, but since Russia has now spent much of the last week in occupation of large stretches of Georgia proper, opinion is naturally turning against them.

  11. wuming Says:

    @B Smith

    The irony didn’t escape me. Unfortunately for Chinese, we don’t get such voices on New York Times. The best we have is Kristof’s occasional musings. On western media, all voices can be heard in THEORY, had this being the case in practice, this blog would have no reason to exist.

  12. FOARP Says:

    @Wuming – Back during the Tibet protests the Times, the Telegraph, and the Guardian all carried articles written by the Chinese ambassador to Britain. Gorbachev writing in the New York Times is another example of this, and I do not doubt that they would be willing to carry an article by Wu Yi, Wen Jiabao, or Hu Jintao. I suppose I should also mention that Tony Blair and Bill Clinton were both allowed to have editorials written by them published in the People’s Daily. The best thing about this blog is that it occasionally gives you an insight into how Chinese people actually see things, rather than how someone interprets how Chinese people see things. So people can carry on all they like about the Chinese being ‘angry’ or ‘not caring’ about some issue or other, but the only way to know what, for example Chinese Radiohead fans think of Radiohead displaying the Tibetan flag on stage is to hear it from the horse’s mouth.

  13. Wahaha Says:

    @FOARP and B. Smith,

    West media didnt mention what Mikheil Saakashvili did wrong MORALLY at the very beginning of the war, and bombard readers with their opinions : Russia went too far.

    They dont speak directly, but the impression given to readers is that Russia is morally wrong, they should get the hell off Georgia, but if America or UK send their troop to Kosovo, will they withdraw within a month, let alone 10 days ?

    That is exactly why West media is far more skillful than China’s : give readers an impression what is wrong and what is right by bombarding them with their opinions and handpicking SOME facts, not ALL fact.

    Let give you an example in China,

    Some people are forced to move, they are not happy and try to protest, China’s media wont report the protest. What would West media do ? West media wouldve told readers that there was a protest going on against a project THAT WOULD BENEFIT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE.

    Like one year ago, 3 NYPD was found not guilty for shoting 50 times and killing a young man, media reported the protests after verdict, but they explained in detail why Judge found them not guilty. What can people complain ? Nothing.

    So does West media tell the truth ? yes, BUT NOT ALL THE RELATED FACTS. ( like Tibet was part of China before 1950 accepted by international world.)

  14. Daniel Says:

    I only have a small hint of knowledge in international politics from some of my college courses and aquantinces who work in a related field. So far, it appears it would be best for the Chinese government to “publically” proclaim it’s non-interference act with issue. A lot of countries are quite interconnected and realistically it would be very hard to find some, especially those with the status of having impact on economics or military affairs, to not be involved or connected in some way.

    Back to the media bashing bandwagon (which is enjoyable once in a while), to be honest, we are only exposed to certain elements or angles regarding this subject and as I noticed from some of my neighbors and friends back in the US mid-west region, they already have a pre-formulated opinion regarding Russia. Maybe due to influence from entertainment or personal experiences, but for example, even if let’s say the mainstream news agencies were to focus intensenly on the angle of what Mr. Gorbachev said regarding Russia’s actions, there is still going to be people who will swayed towards the “evil empire” analogy, almost blindly from the perspective of outsiders.
    Not everyone is like this and even if they’ve never been to the region where these new-agencies report about are able to see things outside the box. However, it can be hard to portray full knowledge (if it’s possible) regarding the topic if a portion of the public already has particular views and hold on to them in any fashion.

  15. MoneyBall Says:

    “The strength of the Western media isn’t in reporters who can supposedly be 100% objective all of the time (I doubt you could find any issue to report on where at least one side wouldn’t be screaming about bias). The strength of Western media is that all voices have a chance to be heard, from their own perspectives. I’d take that any day over one source’s “objective” analysis of what happened.”

    So you have Bush…and Gorbachev telling 2 opposite stories, good for you.
    Based on this 2 stories, did you get the truth, did you finally find out what’s going on there?
    Or you ‘re still as clueless as before?

  16. JXie Says:

    Instead of looking at facts, people are looking at narratives. Here is a whole set of narratives with regard to the events happening in the Balkans in the 90s and early 00s, with just enough if not more ground evidence to back it up:

    1. Early 90s, Croatia was the first to conduct ethnic cleansing to uproot a large number of Serbs out of Croatia, all with the tolerance of not the support of NATO.

    2. Years later, Serbs intended to use the same principle (some sort of territorial integrity?) to force out Albanians from Kosovo, it was bombed mercilessly (military and civilian targets including an embassy were all fair game) by NATO.

    3. Some time later, Albanians forced a large number of Serbs out of Kosovo, again with the tolerance if not support by NATO.

    BTW, “territorial integrity” has been such a dirty phase that I am surprised it’s been used now in the Russia/Georgia conflict, by people whom you wouldn’t have thought to use it.

    If I give you these words: Jesse Owens, 1936, Berlin, Hitler, 2008, Beijing, somehow you can get a consistent moral narrative together, you are hopelessly brainwashed. Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Owens

    “Hitler didn’t snub me—it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.”

    Owens was allowed to travel with and stay in the same hotels [in Berlin] as whites, an irony at the time given that blacks in the United States were denied equal rights. After a New York ticker-tape parade in his honor, Owens had to ride the freight elevator to attend his own reception at the Waldorf-Astoria.

  17. wuming Says:


    Thank you for tying this discussion so neatly back to the narrative discussion. When I wrote my post, I felt something was missing. Now I know what it is.

  18. Ted Says:

    Here’s a related article by Olga Ivanova:

    Agree with FOARP.

    Western media bias hurts Russia? …It sounds to me like the Bear is taking a page from China’s playbook.

    @Moneball “So you have Bush…and Gorbachev telling 2 opposite stories, good for you.
    Based on this 2 stories, did you get the truth, did you finally find out what’s going on there?
    Or you‘re still as clueless as before?”

    Yup, still clueless. That’s why its called “News” and not “Answers.”

  19. Wahaha Says:


    Did you smell something from the reports ?

    West is ready to withdraw from direct conflict with Russia.

    Let us watch how things go in next 10 days.

  20. wuming Says:


    “That’s why its called ‘News’ and not ‘Answers.'”

    It’s not “News”, it is “Stories”

    When the original Lip sync “news” (sorry to bring this up again) completely unraveled, the same story ran in almost all western media outlets for several days more, and will be cited unperturbed for years to come. The quote “Poliburo Member” fitted too perfectly into the arch-types to be over-written by facts.

    Until there are competing narratives, the occasional Gorbachevs and Ivanovias will not make much difference, not to mention the Chinese ambassador to Britain.

    On the other hand, it is asking too much to expect the western media to accommodate such consistent dissenting voices. Especially, in the case of China, there is no credible figure to advocate for such voices. It will take many more Fools Mountains and much longer time than a few months for the consensus, narratives and spokesmen to emerge.

  21. FOARP Says:

    @Wahaha – The news also reports what people are being removed for, and also told the story of Amadou Diallo. Were editorials very positive about the issues surrounding his death? No, but they had to report the judge’s findings, and they did report the reasoning behind the 3 gorges and the Beijing demolitions. By the way, the shooting of Sean Bell happened in 2006, I believe this is the incident you referred to:


    No-one in the west wants war with Russia. Say what you like about weapons manufacturers and neocons, but even they know that war with Russia for any reason other than self-defence would be sheer madness. For myself, I say that if enough Russians in eastern Ukraine and Sevastopol want to join Russia – let them, but oppose any Russian military action designed to seize these territories.

    @JXie – Far too simplified – the objections to ethnic cleansing in the Balkans were pretty much omni-directional until the siege of Sarajevo, where the Bosnian Serbs besieged and shelled the city, it was at this point that opinion became increasingly unwilling to allow further rounds of cleansing. When it became clear that it was taking place again in Kosovo, the essential mood became one of ‘not again’. Anyone who knows the history of the Balkan wars knows that the Croats were trained for ‘Operation Storm’ by the Americans, and that the population of Serbian Krajina received aid from the Russian volunteers – read Eduard Limonov’s account of serving as a volunteer with the Serbs here:


    Timothy Garton Ash wrote a brilliant series of essays on Europe during the 90’s called “History of the Present” that covers most of the Balkan wars – including the training of the Croat army by the US.

    As for the claimed ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Kosovo – the evidence does not bear this out. The 1991 census showed 104,000 Serbs and 20,000 Montenegrins (who are closely related to the Serbs) living in Kosovo, the lowest estimate for the current Serb population of Kosovo is 120,000. Have Serbs left certain areas of Kosovo? Yes. Have they, in the main, left Kosovo proper? No, they have reconcentrated in Serb-majority communities, where they enjoy greater security from attacks from Albanians. Is this an ideal situation? No. Is this better than allowing the expulsion of a million Albanians from Kosovo, in the heart of Europe and under our very noses? Yes, I think so. Do I expect the Serbs to be happy about this? No, but hopefully in the end EU membership will bring the prosperity necessary to leave the dark past behind.

    The Russians levelled Grozny, flattened the Daghestanis, and supported the eviction of 200,000 Georgians from Abkhazia – and the west did nothing about any of this. Do western leaders (or western people in general) care enough about Abkhazia and Ossetia to go to war with Russia over them? No. Do they want to allow Russia to stomp and occupy Georgia? No. Do the Russians want to stomp and occupy Georgia? Stomp – yes, occupy? Probably not, but we shall see.

    The ‘territorial integrity’ of Georgia is indeed a joke, but it is a legal fiction which has been preserved so as not to prejudice the desire of the Georgians to re-conquer their lost provinces. I would say that now it appears that the Georgians will never re-take them, and it is time that people started to take account of that. Of course, I doubt leaders in the west will see it that way, as they still wish to maintain friendly relations with Tblisi.

    Jesse Owens was a black man living in a country where black men were second-rate citizens, had he been a German Jew he might have seen things differently. Beijing 2008 is an Olympic event happening in a rising power ruled by a single-party dictatorship that shows no sign of democratising any time soon – I don’t think that saying these things proves how ‘hopelessly brainwashed’ I am.

    @Daniel – Russia is a much bigger story than Georgia in this conflict, because, in the main, Russia is a much bigger country than Georgia – and what it does effects far more people.

    @DJ – Agreed.

    @Wuming – On the other hand, not everything that Gorbachev, Ivanova, or the Chinese ambassador to Britain is convincing, the more convincing it is, the more people will listen, but it must be a two-way street, otherwise there can be no genuine dialogue. So, when the Chinese ambassador ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fu_Ying ) tells me that Tibet is not as some romantics would have us imagine, well, this is obviously the truth. However, when she says ‘now is not the time to protest’, it begs the question ‘if not now, then when?’ and the answer you get is ‘never’ – this is not something that will convince anybody, in fact I doubt that she herself is convinced by it.

  22. wuming Says:

    @FOARP — Points taken. That is why maybe some of the bloggers here would have done a better job speaking up for China. We actually believe in the stuff we wrote, sometimes.

    Nobody has touched on other interesting angles to look at this conflict. Should China support Russia? God No! Putin’s geo-petro-politico-game is as damaging to China as Europe. As far as I know, Russians would much prefer to hate Chinese than to hate the Europeans.

  23. Daniel Says:

    @ FOARP

    Oh, I definantly agree with you about Russia being such a major player.
    I was just mentioning how some people already have strong opinions regarding certain countries even before particular incidents happen. I was refering back to the question of western media credibility regarding external affairs. That even if journalists were to report fairly or all sides, there is a segment of a population anywhere which already has some pre-notion of particular countries that they are either unwilling or unaccepting of how the event is played out. It would be hard to believe that everything is straight forward black and white, but I’m quite serious when there are people out there who do and reflect it on their views regarding the world.

  24. Wahaha Says:

    @ FOARP,

    Direct conflict doesnt mean war in my post, I mean something else, like drop Russia from G8, lower diplomatic relation with Russia, financial sanction, etc. Everyone with right mind knows no way would West start WWIIII with bear cuz of small Ossetia, not mention lot of European countries depend on Russia for oil and natural gas; Putin and Russians know that too. but if West use financial to punish Russia, it will greatly damage Russia’s economy, that is the conflict I was talking about. AS WEST IS NOT GOING TO DO THAT, THEY NEED SOME REASONS FOR NOT DOING THAT. If you dont believe me, you pay attention to what Bush and Rice will say about Ossetia in next several days.

    The Shooting incident in New York, I wont deny that Judge had good reason to find 3 NYPD not guilty, but where was the other side of story ? The key point in this case is why one of the NYPD had to shot 30+ times (the reason why it was not self-defense). what was defendent’s excuse ? ONLY if we know that explanation, we can reach an unbiased opinion on Judge’s decision.

    FOARP, government MUST have control one way or another on sensitive issues, nationwide and global policy, otherwise the political situation in the country will be in chaos, like middle east, like Taiwan (relation with mainland). Think of that, a president’s affair with intern could divide 300 million Americans into 2 groups, plus day and night ado about nothing for nearly a year, You will see what will happen if Chinese government has no control of major nationwide policy.

  25. JL Says:

    For me, the most interesting thing here is how it’s been reported in the Chinese media; it seems to me they’ve been more pro-Russia than pro-Georgia: anyone disagree?

    I’m not going to comment on the “Western media”, because its a tedious debate about which everything has been said before.

  26. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Mischa was nuts, and Georgia was wrong to have entered South Ossetia. However, Georgia did not enter Russia proper. So to me, the parallel to Lhasa comes down to the proportionality of response. I don’t think public opinion would have turned against Russia (at least in the west) if she simply kicked the snot out of the Georgians back to the city of Gori, and left it at that. However, Russians advanced far beyond that, and have been very slow to retreat despite a ceasefire agreement. That is the basis for complaints about a disproportionate response. IMO, that is justified, just as it would be to chastise the Georgians for re-igniting hostilities.
    I wondered a week ago on this site about the ironies of the CHinese position wrt this dispute. I am still left to wonder.

    As for Wahaha and the perfect journalistic balance that he continually seeks, I think that will forever be elusive, and he may have to someday settle for our freedom of opinions.

  27. Charles Liu Says:

    Gorbi’s oped reminded me of another oped from Gregory Clark on TAM:


    “Perhaps the worst example was the Sino-Indian 1962 frontier war. As China desk officer in Canberra’s foreign affairs bureaucracy at the time, I had to watch on impotently as the world, including Canberra, accused China of making an unprovoked attack on India when the evidence in front of me proved clearly that it was India that had first attacked China, across even the furthermost line of control demanded by India. It would be more than a decade before that evidence finally found the light of day. In the meantime, the myth of Chinese aggressiveness would be used to justify a raft of Western atrocities in Asia, the Vietnam intervention especially.”

    I didn’t know this until I read this article couple years ago.

  28. Wukailong Says:

    Does someone know about the position of the Chinese government on this one? It is indeed odd to hear Western politicians defend “territorial integrity” when that is usually not a catchphrase, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if China defended Russia. It would just show that none of the sides really give a damn to their principles, or at least that their real principles are not what they openly advocate.

  29. Wahaha Says:

    China will support Russia, cuz of Pakistan.

  30. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I’m sorry to be repeating myself, I said this about a week ago, but if China supports Russia, who is supporting the right of South Ossetians (and Abkhazians) to self-determination (in itself ironic because of her position on Chechnya), then how is that consistent with China’s principle of not allowing self-determination in you-know-where?
    Now, I’m sure some will say that the US position on Kosovo is also not consistent with her current support of Georgian “territorial integrity”, and I would agree. I personally feel South Ossetians should be allowed to do whatever they so choose, just like the Kosovars, and the you-know-who’s.
    But can China (and Russia) say that their “principles” are “flexible” because the Americans’ are? Do 2 wrongs make a right?

  31. ted Says:


    re: #19 Yes, aspects of reports on all sides are smelly. In Ivanova’s article she compared Saakashvili’s actions to Hitler’s. Her comment reminded me of several articles last year that suggested Putin made a comparison between the US and the Third Reich, here’s one. Add the article on the on the cyber attacks against Ossetia in the weeks prior to the conflict and theorists on all sides can have fun.

    There is nothing to prevent a Chinese voice such as the one you all are looking for from emerging. I believe a major reason no such voice has emerged was noted in Hemulen’s comment on his observations at a Tibet panel discussion. Otherwise, if Jiang Zemin wants to follow in Gorbachev’s footstep and submit an editorial on behalf of China’s interests he can go for it, but I don’t think that’s how China’s system works. Someone else here has already remarked on the related issue of reciprocation in the Chinese media.

    I think journalists are doing more editorializing these days and it wouldn’t hurt if the stories were a little drier. When an article opens with a line like “The sound of gunfire crackled in the distance as our convoy sped down the narrow side streets of Fallujah.” I know that I’m in for more of an adventure story than a news piece. With the emergence of the internet and blogs such as this one, media outlets are struggling to hold on to their readership. Maybe the media is having a bit of an identity crisis in its effort to adapt.

    Re: the original post, I still think the bear is following in China’s footsteps.

  32. ted Says:

    Sorry, links



  33. eswn Says:

    Russian jorno-blogs try to tell the truth:


  34. jack Says:

    Silly, the government of PRC will never publicly backup Russia’s adventure in Georgia, which clearly contradicts the Five principles held dearly to Chinese diplomats’ hearts.
    Kosovo, whose self-declared independence has been widely recognized by most developed countries, for one, not only pokes a gigantic hole on the international law system, but also makes China nervous about Taiwan’s future.
    Should China choose to support Russian’s adventure in Georgia, thus the right of self-determination in South Ossetia, its decision would surely come back to bite on China’s ass someday.

  35. Gan Lu Says:

    Go ahead. Hug the Russian bear. See what that gets you.

    What many people forget is that the U.S. and China are not natural enemies. Competitors in some ways, but not enemies. If it weren’t for the Taiwan issue, there would be little risk of war between China and the U.S.

    On the other hand, China is surrounded by natural enemies – with Russia as perhaps the most worrisome. It is predicted that China’s population will grow to something like 1.5 billion by mid-century. During the same time, Russia’s population is expected to decline to less than 100 million, making it ever more difficult for Moscow to control its vast territory at a time when China’s territory will be stretched to the limit. Moreover, during recent years, Russia has never agreed to the kind of energy guarantees that China’s leadership has desperately hoped for. This is unlikely to change anytime soon. Add to that the fact that Central Asia is as stragetically important for Russia as it is for China, that long-standing territorial disputes have not been settled to the satisfaction of either side, and a history of punctuated by animosity and hostility.

    Go ahead and hug the bear. You may find that one day you will miss the “good ole days” when you had the wicked U.S. media to blame for all your troubles. Again, pathetic.

  36. BMY Says:

    @Gan Lu

    “You may find that one day you will miss the “good ole days” when you had the wicked U.S. media to blame for all your troubles. Again, pathetic.”

    I think the “you” you are trying to talk to just hope some biased media not to make more trouble to China which already have enough trouble .

    Even what you are saying is right , there is no need combativ tone.

    for sure hugging Russia(I don’t see pointing out Georgia attacked first and ignored by some media can be judged as “Hug the Russian bear”) and kicking the US might not be wise but I am not seeing make Russia feel like a enemy is a good policy either.(this blog dose not make foriegn policy for China, no need get frustrated)

  37. wuming Says:

    @Gan Lu — “Go ahead and hug the bear. You may find that one day you will miss the “good ole days” when you had the wicked U.S. media to blame for all your troubles. Again, pathetic.”

    I don’t understand your hostility. I posed the question of whether China should hug the bear, and in subsequent comments I stated views that are not very different from yours. Chinese government is not hugging the bear either. It stayed neutral on this current conflicts and had done so in previous affairs that involved Russia but not China. Have the respect of reading through the comments before venting your rage accumulated from some other threads.

    On you substantive point, as I said I agree. If I am being pathetic, it is for raising a question with such an obvious answer. Clearly:

    1. Russia is not asking and do not need China’s support on this matter
    2. Russia’s long term interests diverge from that of China more often than not.
    3. Psychologically, Russia would like to belong to Europe. Their intelligentsia always looked down upon the Asiatic elements of Russia (or former USSR) and desperately trying to purge the elements from their system.
    4. China does not take stands on matters that do not directly involve it’s interests.

  38. Gan Lu Says:


    Relax, guys. I meant no offense to anyone in particular. However, one need read BFC for only a week or so to understand that enemy No.1 here is the western media. If my comment (35) seems “hostile,” it’s only because I believe that China has more important battles to fight than this. In fact, alleged western media bias is more akin to a pet peeve than a serious problem. Fight the good fight if you feel you must, but it will do no good – the western media is what it is – contentious and addicted to conflict. For my part, I still prefer the western press to China’s. Likewise, though I don’t speak Russian, I take as a matter of faith that the western press is much better than Russia’s as well. Follow this link to a second essay in the Ny Times (entitled “Russia Prevailed on the Ground, but Not in the Media”) to learn more about the Russian media’s hamfisted response:


    So, who do I trust? Truthfully, I trust no one completely. Even so, I trust the western media more than either China’s or Russia’s.

    Finally, I must say that very few people here in China are as worked up about the western media as our Chinese compatriots living in the U.S. It’s a well-known fact that the media here is a joke. Take the Propaganda Ministry’s recent order to refrain from criticizing Liu Xiang. A list of similarly pathetic efforts to control the Chinese media would stretch to the moon and back.

    Again, continue to rail against the western press if you must. It’s just that in doing so, you neglect other, more important issues.

  39. Wahaha Says:

    Gan Lu,

    Russia is already an authoritarian government now.

    Several journalists were killed for reporint corruptions.

  40. Charles Liu Says:

    Just for the record, America’s position on Bosnia and Kosovo has not once affected our claim over Hawaii, Natiave American Nations, or legitmacy of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

  41. Charles Liu Says:

    Gan Lu, go ahead and submit a blog on Propaganda Ministry’s recent order to refrain from criticizing Liu Xiang, I’ll comment on it I promise.

  42. JXie Says:

    if West use financial to punish Russia, it will greatly damage Russia’s economy

    How? By refusing to borrow more money from Russia, so Russia has nowhere to park its oil/gas profit?

  43. werew Says:

    @Gan Lu
    But the mainstream Western Media is so much more competent at leading public opinion than any other media both western and eastern, therefore it’s much more scarier. It’s a well known fact that Chinese media is biased, while almost no one accepts that western media is biased. Even for the ones that do admit that western media can be very misleading, most of them still believe the western media more than the other ones. I hope one day Chinese media can be less biased but still form its own narrative which can be even more effective than the unrefined techniques they use now. For then they can break the monopoly of opinions currently held by the western media and people will really be allowed to read the narratives from all sides. Right now it doesn’t hurt if Chinese media is heavily biased and still believed, because they are going to reform as China become more open if the public completely lost faith in Chinese media now, there will be no challenger to the monopoly of western media and their general narrative.

  44. Gan Lu Says:


    Your comment (43) appears to be written by someone who relies on the Chinese media in order to understand the western media. My advice to you – stay away from Sina, Sohu, etc. Your head is buried so deep in the sand that only your toes are showing.

    More advice – sit-in on a Tsinghua University journalism course. You’ll find that the many, if not most, of their teaching materials are taken from such western sources as The NY Times, The Washington Post, etc. Moreover, the China media offers nothing close to the kind of diversity of opinion available to people in the West. For all the handwringing here about the western media’s anti-China bias, the Chinese media’s anti-U.S. bias is far worse. Journalistic standards in China are a sorry joke. Consider the following passage from the Bible, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3) We Chinese would do well to keep this in mind when pointing fingers at others.

    Add to all of this the fact that U.S. scholarship on China is not only better than Chinese scholarship (that is, scholarship produced by Chinese scholars here in China) on the West, it’s also frequently superior to Chinese scholarship on China.

  45. starlight Says:

    @Gan Lu

    “Finally, I must say that very few people here in China are as worked up about the western media as our Chinese compatriots living in the U.S.”

    This is only natural reaction, because the perception of China (as the next superpower) is part of Overseas Chinese human-cultural capital, if China is portrayed negatively it can negatively affect their social-economic status, so they care about it than Chinese in the mainland. Also, there is the human reaction that the further away you are located from your homeland, the more patriotic you become.

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