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Mar 23

Media hurdle to intercultural relations

Written by guest on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 at 1:05 am
Filed under:-mini-posts, Analysis, media |
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By Bi Yantao (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-23

Amid the latest news that Google may soon pull out of China, some Western media outlets are once again criticizing the country’s Internet regulations and press freedom record.

Just as a Chinese scholar told a reporter from The Guardian, it’s the Western media that mainly instigated Western countries to adopt a hostile attitude toward China. That’s why Chinese scholars think the media have not only failed to promote international dialogue and world peace, but also have become a big obstacle to inter-cultural exchanges.

China’s economic rise has triggered reprehension among some members of the international community. And the resultant displeasure is fueling nationalist sentiments in China’s media (especially the Internet).

On the eve of the World Press Freedom Day in 2009, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement, which said the media have the great potential of promoting dialogue, mutual understanding and reconciliation. Ban believes that the media could eliminate people’s deep-rooted bias against other cultures, religions and ethnic groups. And UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura has said that the media have been “regarded as an arbitrator, which could play an important role in encouraging and promoting cross-cultural exchanges and provide an open platform for debate by all the social parties”.

Frankly speaking, however, my personal understanding of the media is far less optimistic. In today’s world, the media, both State-run and private-owned, tend to publish information they prefer and filter the content that they do not like. The “gatekeeper” theory of communications sciences states that there are plenty of “gatekeepers” in the information network and only information that is in line with their values could be allowed to enter the system.

This theory coincides with the “selective mechanism” that people are always apt to engage, transmit, understand and memorize information, which is consistent with their own existing knowledge and viewpoint. British scholar Stuart Hall’s study reached the same conclusion. And D. McGregor, an American psychologist, found that without the guidance of objective evidences the majority of people would like to predict according to their subjective preference.

In addition to subjective limitation, factors in terms of politics, economy, society and culture are also conditioning the media in varying degrees. “Insiders” are aware that there are numerous “big potatoes” trying to influence the media. Hence, in the modern political propagation, it is very difficult for ordinary people to form their own independent cognition.

Actually, the media have been employed as a means in the global game by some elites, and international communications in peacetime is becoming increasingly like wartime public opinion confrontation.

For subjective and objective reasons, not every free media outlet is accountable.

Irresponsible reports from the free media could widen the gap among cultures and expand interethnic divide. If international conflicts intensify, the media in most of the countries would take measures to safeguard their national interests and try to seek or even make excuses to accuse others without hesitation.

In fact, even without a conflict of national interests, cultural differences often become an obstacle in international communication. In December 2009, a Western mainstream newspaper strongly questioned the language used in a Chinese leader’s speech, citing Noam Chomsky’s words: “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.” The newspaper’s peremptoriness and arrogance is appalling.

The spread of information among homogeneous populations is more easily to gain recognition, but the points of view usually tend to be extreme. The problem is that not many international media outlets like to “challenge people’s deep-rooted prejudice on other cultures, religions and ethnic groups” at the risk of offending their readers or audience.

The result of catering to psychological needs of their readers and audience is a deeper bias toward a “hostile country”, which in return would evoke fiercer response from the other side. Some media have thus become perpetrators of prejudice and hatred.

With the global popularity of communications sciences and other disciplines, more and more people are becoming aware of the limitations and poor performance of the media. If media become an element of “smart power” and a means of national strategy, their objectiveness and impartiality would inevitably suffer more damage.

Why have so many Chinese people begun to question the Western media even after living in Western countries for a while? This is a very heavy topic, that definitely needs to be resolved.

The author is Director of the Center for Communication Studies, Hainan University and Director of Communication Research Center of Sanlue Institute, a think tank based in Beijing.

(China Daily, March 23, 2010, page 9)

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2010-03/23/content_9626070.htm


There are currently 5 comments highlighted: 66724, 66732, 67154, 67162, 67234.

83 Responses to “Media hurdle to intercultural relations”

  1. Yantao Says:

    All comments are warmly welcome!

  2. pug_ster Says:

    Western Media and Chinese reminds of the quote from NY times “All the news that’s fit to print.”

  3. Mick Says:

    Promoting world peace is best left to Miss World contestants. I want my newspapers, TV and blogs to tell me what’s really happening. I am fortunate to live in a country where I can choose from a variety of ‘filters’ and I am able to access a wide range of news sources and blogs without getting a ‘connection reset’ message.

  4. pug_ster Says:

    Mick,

    I don’t think this opinion piece is about promoting world peace, rather it is about media have the great potential of promoting dialogue, mutual understanding and reconciliation. But instead it has done the very opposite. Western Media does it by Information dominance, Chinese Media does it by censorship. The news articles that you read nowadays is mostly one-sided and doesn’t give you the whole picture.

  5. Raj Says:

    Yantao

    Who is the “western media”? Can you list the countries it includes, please?

    As for the content of your article, it’s not the fault of the foreign media if China has laws and practices that many countries and their citizens think are wrong. If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s the Chinese government’s. As Mick says, most people want to read about what is happening, not pro-Chinese propaganda to sweep China’s shortcomings under the carpet.

    Besides, even by your standards the Chinese media has been repeatedly guilty in past years (or indeed decades) of threatening “international harmony”, blocking dialogue and developing negative feelings towards “hostile countries”. It has demonised foreign leaders like former Taiwanese president Chen, former Japanese PM Koizumi, promoted a one-sided Chinese nationalist agenda over many issues like Taiwan without giving voice to different opinions, etc.

    Even British newspapers have allowed Chinese diplomats a platform to say that China is unfairly treated. When was the last time the same privilege was offered in the Chinese media to a Taiwanese government official?

  6. Jason Says:

    The spotlight on censorship in China created by the Western propaganda machine is totally irrelevant to the Google Case.

    The relevance is that NY Times and Washington Post did not double check China Digital Times blog on a crucial mistranslation on the education disciplines of Lanxiang Vocational.

    The spotlight should be on China Digital Times.

    Why did China Digital Times mistranslate “technical sergeant” as “technology officers?”

    Why did NY Times and WaPo editor let something very crucial to slip by?

    The talk of censorship in China is to cover up the Western propaganda lies and deceitfulness.

  7. colin Says:

    Western media is inherently biased, because they exist to make profit. NYTimes and WaPo will print what helps sell papers. And in the US, people want to read about how bad China is and how “good” Americans are.

  8. Raj Says:

    colin, lol so the Chinese media only wants to break even? Sure…..

  9. kui Says:

    When I arrived in Australia 11 years ago, my English was extremely poor (my English is still poor now). A friend of mine told me listening to news is a good way to learn English because newsreaders speak clearly and slowly in standard English. What a great advise! So I start from 5pm Channel Ten news (1 hour), then 6pm Channel 7 or Channel 9 (I have to choose one of them because they start at the same time) for half an hour. SBS news starts at 6:30 pm, in the past they only had half an hour news and now it delievers one hour news. ABC news starts at 7pm for half an hour. I have been doing so for 3-4 days almost every week (travel time excluded) for the last 11 years. I would say that ABC is the least extreme and SBS in the past did for a while made diffrent points ( For example the aid worker story). But, what I found out is for most of time these diffrent channels cover the same main stories in the same tone, from the same angle and sometimes even use exactly the same sentences. And these are done by diffrent journalists! Ha, free media!

  10. Josef Says:

    Just two arguments: FM is blocked in China, and what about the activities of “Reporters Without Borders”. pug_ster, I regard dominating better than censoring, as at least for those who seek, they get the answers…

  11. Yantao Says:

    @ pug_ster:

    You are so wise to conclude that “Western Media does it by Information dominance, Chinese Media does it by censorship”.

    @Josef

    From the perspective of the dominating, dominating is better than censoring. But what can the dominated do to defend itself?

  12. Yantao Says:

    Please be noted that I didn’t blame Google in my writings, nor did I defend China for its regulations. What I know is that US army has defined cyberspace as the fifth warfield. And I know US has been promoting “public diplomacy 2.0″.

    Google is a great help for me, in many aspects. Honestly, I owe a lot to Google!

  13. Yantao Says:

    @Raj

    1. Who is the ‘western media’? Perhaps the answer is available on Internet.

    2. By your logical, it is the fault of foreign media if China thinks they are wrong because you think China is wrong when many countries and their citizens think China is wrong. Do you think you are wrong when many people think you are wrong?

    3. In the eyes of many Chinese people, the foreign media are guilty (in your words) because they have been developing negative feelings about China and demonised China and its leaders.

    4. When did you know a Taiwanese governmental official contribute to a Chinese media? If you don’t know, how can you assert the Chinese media will decline the contribution? Do you know how many foreign officials have published articles in Chinese media?

  14. Nimrod Says:

    Josef Says:

    March 24th, 2010 at 1:59 am
    Just two arguments: FM is blocked in China, and what about the activities of Reporters Without Borders. pug_ster, I regard dominating better than censoring, as at least for those who seek, they get the answers

    +++++
    Actually, China’s censoring is no barrier for those who seek. They just get on a VPN or use some wall climbing tools. It’s more of a nuisance for the common masses than a hermetically seal-off. The need for “controlling the message” is not fundamentally different. The methods may be different, and one may seem hamfisted while the other more “sophisticated”, but it is only that, “sophistication” in achieving the same aim. Nevertheless, even that judgement is largely culturally informed.

  15. Raj Says:

    Yantao (13)

    1. There are several answers, ranging from a few countries to many. You used the term so you should know what it means, right?

    2. Erm, no it’s not my “logical”. I was saying that if you complain because the foreign media will have reports about negative news from China that you don’t like that’s too bad because the foreign public want to know what’s happening regardless of whether it’s good or bad. Indeed they don’t like “everything today is great” news of the sort that the Chinese media sometimes contains.

    If you want someone to blame it’s your own government for doing things like censoring the internet for political content the CCP doesn’t like.

    3. How does that address the point I made that the Chinese media has done time and time again exactly what you’ve complained the foreign media does?

    4. My entire point is that foreign officials can’t participate and published articles because they’re not offered the opportunity.

  16. Wukailong Says:

    I’ve noticed the argument many times that censorship in China is mostly a nuisance, and you can use a VPN or proxy, etc etc. The problem with this is that

    1) A majority don’t use proxies.
    2) Proxies are slow, error-prone and give you a bad user experience.
    3) When there are things like JavaScript, Flash or other advanced things involved, most proxies do not work and you need a VPN.
    4) VPN:s are expensive for most people, and while I don’t find them expensive per se, I cringe at having higher network costs per month than I would back in Europe, just because you have to work around the system.

    Most things blocked aren’t any threat to China or the government at all, so I just don’t get why they’re censored. Perhaps someone care to tell me?

    Yantao, sorry for bringing this up, but it appeared in the discussion and I’ve heard it many times so I thought I should mention it.

  17. Yantao Says:

    Wukailong:

    I appreciate your comments.

    As a communication scholar, I am against political censorship. I am a consistent advocate of empowering the civil society, including the news media. I once published an essay in China entitled Liberate News Media and Revive China.

    I am not blaming foreign media. I only explored the nature and characteristics of news media. Furthermore, not all foreign media are bad. In fact, almost all the information I receive every day comes from foreign news media (including the Chinese media outside mainland China).

    It’s a pity to learn that FM is blocked in China (But is it true?) I feel much benefited from our discussion here at FM.

    I would like to reiterate that I am agaisnt blocking foreign news websites.

  18. Raj Says:

    Yantao

    I’m glad to hear that you’re against political censorship. It would be very interesting if you were to write an article on that subject for Chinadaily or another Chinese newspaper/news website. If you do, please let us know.

    Fools Mountain is blocked in China – this has been confirmed by users in China and the admin. I’m not sure whether the alternative address works anymore.

  19. pug_ster Says:

    I always wondered where are all the pro-China Western authors/writers/journalists out there. I doubt that their writings will never be published because if they do, many westerners will claim the newspaper is some kind of communist newspaper. Recently there’s a pro-China author who wrote the book China’s Megatrends and it reflects this kind of dismissive attitude towards people who have a different view toward such things.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1971287,00.html

  20. Wukailong Says:

    @Yantao: I should add that I also see a problem in Western media, or any situation where you have a few big actors like media companies, because they will monopolize information. That’s why it’s great we can communicate like this.

    I also agree with the comment in #4. There’s still a long way to go to truly get free and reliable information.

  21. Yantao Says:

    @ Raj

    Thank you so much for your interest.

    In June 2003, I published my first essay on China’s news media. Here is the link:

    http://www.rthk.org.hk/mediadigest/20030616_76_84872.html (in Chinese)

    Since then on, I have published hundreds of articles in print media on news media. If you need a list of my publications, please let me know. (Sorry I won’t publish the list here, because I don’t want to leave an impression that I am promoting myself, which I am not interested in).

    I am critical, to certain degree, but not hostile to any individual, institute or state. I have been trying to take a neutral stance. These are my principles.

    If people judge me by some of my sentences, paragraphs or articles, they will likely misunderstand me. Anyway, it is unavoidable. If I have tried my best, that’s ok.

  22. Steve Says:

    @ Yantao: I saw this list of censored excerpts today on the net. It might shed some light on what the actual directives from the propaganda department and Bureau of Internet Affairs look like if you are a Chinese news organization. The following translation is from the NY Times:

    1. For news on the electoral law during the two meetings, only use articles from Xinhua News Agency and People’s Daily. [Xinhua is the government’s official news agency, and People’s Daily is the official newspaper of the Communist Party.]

    2. Do not report on news of people from all walks of life demanding that officials make financial disclosures. [Recently issued party guidelines requiring officials to declare their assets have been widely criticized as weak and ineffective against corruption.]

    3. Do not report the editor of Southern Weekend being named among the 10 most influential people by a foreign institution. [Southern Weekend is a weekly newspaper based in Guangzhou that often runs afoul of government censors.]

    4. Do not feature news articles on the diary of a bureau director. News must not carry photos of related figures or contents relating to individuals’ private matters from human flesh searches and the like. [A tobacco bureau official in the region of Guangxi was arrested on suspicion of corruption after a diary he allegedly wrote was published on the Internet, describing trysts with mistresses, drunken bouts and bribes. “Human flesh search” is shorthand for the phenomenon of Chinese Web users collaborating en masse to hunt down information on people or other matters.]

    5. No negative news allowed on the front pages of newspapers or the headline news sections of Web sites.

    6. In articles on the two meetings, do not use wording such as “thundering person,” “thundering proposal” or “thundering delegate.” Do not use the concept of “thundering” to define contents of the two meetings. [Thunder has become a trendy Chinese slang term to describe something shockingly ridiculous or embarrassing.]

    7. Delete news related to the youtan poluo flower. [Buddhist lore says this rare and auspicious flower blooms once every 3,000 years. Reports that a nun at a temple in southern China found a cluster of the tiny flowers under her washing machine set off a recent stir in the press. Chinese officials are concerned about the spread of superstition.]

    8. For the “poisonous cowpea incident” in Hainan, only use news articles from the Xinhua News Agency, People’s Daily and the official Hainan media. [Cowpeas from Hainan Province were found to be contaminated with a toxic pesticide, setting off criticism about why the cowpeas were sold to other provinces.]

    9. Do not feature news reports on major incidents in Beijing during the two meetings, including “staffer at Xidan Books Building hacks manager to death” or “accident at Shunyi car showroom, one man dies.” Do not highlight the timing of these events.

    10. During the two meetings, do not feature or sensationalize news about petitioners.

    11. Do not report on the hunger strike by Ai Weiwei and other artists. [There was no hunger strike, but Beijing artists are protesting being forced to relocate their studios without fair compensation.]

    12. Do not sensationalize or feature reports on the joint editorial of 13 newspapers advocating reform of the household registration system. [The March 1 editorial said the system unfairly restricted the right of Chinese citizens to seek a better life outside their hometowns.]

    13. During the two meetings, exercise caution in releasing negative news from all regions. Do not sensationalize or feature news articles that will create a major impact.

    14. Do not feature news items about the mass promotion of 89 cadres in Handan city. [The promotions took place at a time when the government was ostensibly streamlining operations.]

    15. Do not report on cases of detention center inmates dying during sleep.

    16. Do not report on the news of the Inner Mongolian female prosecutor who drove a luxury vehicle and who was reinstated after resigning.

    17. Do not hype or feature news of Li Changjiang and Meng Xuenong resurfacing at the two meetings. [Mr. Li was ousted as head of quality control in 2008 after a scandal involving tainted baby milk powder that killed six and sickened 300,000 children. Mr. Meng resigned as governor of Shanxi Province after 267 people died in an iron ore mine disaster. Both have since assumed new posts.]

  23. Yantao Says:

    Steve: Thank you!

  24. Nimrod Says:

    Wukailong Says:

    March 24th, 2010 at 10:10 am
    I’ve noticed the argument many times that censorship in China is mostly a nuisance, and you can use a VPN or proxy, etc etc. The problem with this is that…

    +++++
    I understand this point. However, my point was, if the argument is to be that censorship is worse than information dominance, due to the ability in the latter to seek out alternative information at some cost — whether it be time, energy, or money — then that argument doesn’t work against China’s method of filtering the internet, because the situation is the same there.

    Ultimately, there is propaganda, which those with power will disseminate. Is the White House sending out talking points or limiting access to uncooperative reporters a form of information control? Of course it is. And if something is perceived as a serious enough of a threat, you can bet that the US government will take action to do “un-American” things, legal or not. These things have happened. Courts may sort some of it out later, or not. So is what China is doing worse in principle? I just don’t think so.

    What I do think is that the Chinese government needs to lighten up a bit on filtering, since the threats are fewer than they perceive. This is the kind of mission creep that come with the power to censor. There needs to be a counteracting force. However, I do think China faces more threats than other countries and I do think that a bit more filtering than is done in other countries is okay, just not as much as in recent years, that’s all.

  25. Nimrod Says:

    The Google story is getting faker and faker by the day. See the following articles.

    Google executive calls for censorship trade rules
    U.S. Urged to Act on Internet Freedoms
    Go Daddy, Rival Not Offering New China Domain Names

    It seems the early call that this was instigated by the State Department and the US security agencies is panning out. Word has it that the US government has been leveraging government contracts with technology companies to force them to choose sides and comply with new directives. If so, this is Obama’s version of Star Wars, aimed at sustaining long-term US objectives to propagandize in China. There are some thinktanks that promote this kind of stuff to the White House. You know, fewer and fewer people are listening to VOA pirate radios and the such in the new age, and the US must get a foothold in this alternate medium where China’s own content and voice are not only dominating, but — given that China has the most users on the internet now — may even come to rival the voice of the US on the international stage. Can’t let that happen…

    The Chinese internet is a rich and active microcosm from which people derive both information and entertainment. Though Chinese people need to hear more voices, it is mostly their own voices that they need to hear more of. What is being promoted here, which is to make them hear more non-Chinese voices, has little to do with that.

    I’ll just quote from the end of the WSJ article:

    “There’s this hubris [among Americans] that drives the belief that what matters in China is Twitter and Facebook and Youtube. Ultimately, that’s not what matters … it’s Weibo, Kaixin or RenRen, and Youku and Tudou,” says Kaiser Kuo, consultant for one of China’s most popular online video Web sites, Youku.com. “There’s definitely a vibrant, dynamic dialogue happening all the time on the Internet in China.”

    I’ll add that it’s not only hubris, but also self-interest. When another nation’s people is wedded to your ideas, they are your mental slaves.

  26. Wukailong Says:

    @Nimrod (#24): “However, I do think China faces more threats than other countries and I do think that a bit more filtering than is done in other countries is okay, just not as much as in recent years, that’s all.”

    I can go along with that. I don’t like filtering or information domination, but we also need to be pragmatic – what works and what can be achieved in the short run? In the long run I don’t think the censorship regime can be kept in its present state. Unfortunately what we’re seeing now is a general tightening around the globe, not just China.

    It would be nice if the complete domain blocks that’ve happened with blogger or YouTube would be gone. If only particular blogs or videos were blocked, I wouldn’t really bother that much. Blocking porn doesn’t bother me at all. It would also be nice if you could appeal a blocking decision, but as long as the system officially doesn’t even exist, it will be hard.

  27. Yantao Says:

    Nimrod:

    “Word has it that the US government has been leveraging government contracts with technology companies to force them to choose sides and comply with new directives. If so, this is Obama’s version of Star Wars, aimed at sustaining long-term US objectives to propagandize in China”.

    Is it possible to offer some updates? I am planning to write an essay about it.

    Many thanks and best wishes.

  28. pug_ster Says:

    The Western Media spinmasters sure know how to spin a story about Godaddy leaving China after Google. Typical Western Propaganda crap comes from Washington Post.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/24/AR2010032401543.html

    However, in WSJ article, godaddy says that leaving China has nothing to do with the recent Google departure.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/03/24/what-does-it-cost-go-daddy-to-leave-china/

    Jones said that getting attention wasn’t the plan. “Our decision to discontinue selling the .cn names had nothing to do with Google’s decision to move its search into Hong Kong. Nor does it have anything to do with generating publicity,” she said. “It had only to do with preventing extensive personal information on domain name registrants from being supplied to the Chinese government.”

    There’s a more detailed testimony from Godaddy.

    http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/ChinaGoogleInternetControl.pdf

    In here it says that many people use godaddy to create spam, porn, websites and payment fraud. So when China decided to crack down this abuse by requiring people more documentation in order to register domain names, I thought it would be a good thing. Instead godaddy bailed out and blamed on ‘lack of privacy’ issues.

    Edit: I have to give credit to ESWN for bring this article to light.

  29. Nimrod Says:

    Yantao,

    Please see this article: How Cozy Are Google and the NSA?

    It discusses some background to what Google has been up to these days and has links to several news articles on the subject of Google’s cooperation with the NSA.

  30. Yantao Says:

    Nimrod:

    Thank you very much for your kindest support.

  31. Bill Says:

    I have discovered by myself that FM is not accessible in Beijing.

  32. miaka9383 Says:

    I just want to share an article from the Monocle (British Magazine) that I read about China
    http://www.monocle.com/sections/business/Magazine-Articles/No-dilly-Dalian/

  33. pug_ster Says:

    Saw an article about ‘Chinese Drywall’ here.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34276015/vp/36089968#36085923

    I thought that I wrote exactly what they said and put it here and it started to sound like propaganda.

    Brian Williams: We’re back and we turn now to an urgent and growing problem in this country. Something alot of homeowners consider a time bomb built into the walls of their homes. It’s drywall, it comes from China. It’s been used in alot of construction and renovation work. And it happens to be toxic. Homeowners are are looking for help. We get an update from Virgina. Here’s NBC’s Mark Potter.

    Mark Potter: (Outlined Unsafe at home?) In a subdivision of Newport news Virgina, Monte and Katina Lane are moving out, claiming their rental home makes them sick. Neighbors Rachael and Preston McKeller are say they are also move; to protect their son and unborn child.

    Rachael Mckeller: It’s not the how way we want to bring another child you know in the world.

    Potter: 47 homes here with tens of thousands more around the country were built with drywall made in China which the consumer products safety board commission which emits pungent fumes that corrodes wires, heating coils and appliances. Fred and Vanessa Mcshow says that their children developed unexplained health problems which disappeared when they moved out:

    Vanessa Mcshow: it didn’t matter if we lose everything. It was a no brainer. We are getting our children out.

    Potter: (background construction person says: there it goes): Attorneys says millions of sheets of Chinese drywall were imported into the US after the destructive 2005 Hurricane season caused shortages of American materials. Families are now forced to move elsewhere but still paying their mortgages are hurting.

    Richard Serpe (Virgina plantiff’s attorney): We’ve got families that are now worried about homelessness and losing everything over Chinese drywall.

    Potter: A Federal lawsuit filed in New Orleans asked the Chinese Manufacturer to pay for damages. A major concern for the homeowners though that even if they win the suit in New Orleans and a judgement has been granted. There is no guarantee Chinese will pay to fix the damaged homes in the US. While health effects are still being studied, Florida Senator Bill Nelson says he’s convinced there is a health problem which the Chinese must pay.

    Bill Nelson: At the end of the day, the deep pockets of the Chinese government are going to have to make all of these poor homeowners whole.

    Potter: Homeowners who now say the dream homes have become poisonous.

    Vanessa Mcshow: I’m sorry, it’s too hard.

    Potter: Mark Potter, NBC News in Newport news Virgina.

  34. Charles Liu Says:

    Yanto, I’ve consistenly witnessed an “Echo Chamber” in our China reporting. The recent Washington Post description of “military hacker central” of some piss a$$ vocational school was based on mistranslation by TAM dissident funded by the NED. IMHO no native Chinese speaker would mistranslate stuff like this by mistake; these students are cooks and mechanics for crissake. To date NY Post has not made correction to this error in reporting.

    (BTW, this is not conspiracy, rather testament to the fact our media will happily belive, and eagerly report, anything bad about China.)

    Here’s another example. This is the latest Gallup poll on Global Wellbing:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/126977/Global-WellBeing-Surveys-Find-Nations-Worlds-Apart.aspx

    Iraq and Afghanistan scored higher than China. I needn’t say more.

  35. Nimrod Says:

    Here is the latest article by our eminent “CNN Wire Staff”.

    Chinese hospital staff disciplined after babies’ bodies found by river

    Let’s note that this is not CNN original reporting, simply a translation of an article in China’s own media here. The question is, why do the editors of CNN choose this particular article, out of thousands of others, to spend the effort to translate? What is the thinking here? Let’s not even mention the telling URL slug “china.babies.bodies”. And why is it that, under “We Recommend” below the article, we further have:

    – 153 trapped in China coal mine
    – Man fatally stabs 8 schoolchildren in China
    – 19 killed in firecracker explosion in China

    Obviously this is not all that happens in China. These rags read like 19th century reporting on “savages”. These Neanderthal newsworkers of America simply haven’t pulled their heads out of their asses since that time. I would pity the journalism schools, if they had actually gone there. With de facto credentials like these, I don’t blame the Chinese government for not allowing them in China to report on, say, Tibet.

  36. dewang Says:

    @Nimrod,

    And, of course, the intended effect of what CNN wishes to achieve is accomplished. Just read the “Most liked” comment there on CNN:

    “Idahoplant Hmm, so just curious, were they female?”

    And people in the U.S. wonder why there is an “anti-CNN.”

    Crazy stuff.

  37. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/36106050#36089968

    Just want to update the link to my post in #33. Don’t know why it worked yesterday but not today.

  38. Charles Liu Says:

    The Echo Chamber continues. Google just keeps hammering, and our media is glad to oblige. This time it’s the Bauxite mine in Vietnam, which China has a stake.

    But once again, the “government hacking” claim is made with out any proof. There’re no hacker with political agenda independent of the government? Only when it’s a case we want to make.

    Even if government action is proven, is it legal under the laws of respective nations? I ain’t holding my breath for our free and independent media to make it clear. Wiretapping is legal under US laws, and we assert our right to spy on other nations on a daily basis.

  39. Joyce Says:

    As someone who works for the “evil Western media,” I always find these comments interesting. (Disclosure: I work for the IHT, which is the NYT’s overseas arm. But I comment on blogs independently).

    Sure, there are sometimes mistakes. Big newspapers like The NYT publish hundreds of articles about complex situations all over the world, often relying on local secondary sources and researchers. They also print commentary from vastly different people — sometimes biased, sometimes contradictory.
    None of that equals a mass conspiracy to bring down a country.

    China coverage in international media is mixed between the positive (mostly economic or cultural news) and the negative (mostly rights-related or political news). You can disagree — but that’s how most places are covered, with a combination of good and bad.

    @ Nimrod — If a 150+ miners were trapped somewhere in America, it would be front page. If a crazy American guy shot 8 innocent people — that’s front page. It’s not a conspiracy against China every time negative news is reported.

  40. Joyce Says:

    BTW, this China Daily commentary is awful. I can appreciate well-written pieces that I don’t agree with. But this lacks logic and structure. It’s way too wordy . It uses too many fancy words, pseudo-academic language and name-dropping — without making a clear argument. It’s not engaging, new, or challenging.

    And it misses a big point: It’s not the media’s job to be diplomats or “create world peace.” It’s the media’s job to report.

    Plus, if you look at what the Chinese media say about the West, it’s not diplomatic at all. It’s pretty ironic that China Daily preaches about making nice, then calls the Western media a perpetrator of hatred. ;)

    P.S. And, no. Busy news reporters, editors and producers — who are from all over the world — don’t sit around all day plotting to bring down China.

  41. Jason Says:

    @Joyce

    Go read the Paul Krugman piece about devaluing the yuan. NY Times could have provided opinions of how detrimental this is to the United States such as the ones from Cato Institute, they went for the liberal drivel-propaganda for destroying both two nations.

  42. Steve Says:

    Paul Krugman is a regular columnist for the NY Times, not a reporter. Thomas Friedman is also a regular columnist for the NY Times and writes mostly positive pieces about China, and also not a reporter. They are both editorial writers. Since you’re able to read opinion pieces from the Cato Institute in other media sources and are not blocked from it, your point isn’t much of a point.

    Now find me a piece in the China media saying that the yuan should increase in value by 40%. Find me an article in Chinese media saying that Google was correct in leaving China. And how does the increasing the value of the yuan “destroy” China? If the yuan was valued accurately, China would allow it to float. By not allowing it to float, China is admitting it is not valued accurately. You can argue this back and forth ad nauseum but until the yuan floats, it’s anyone’s guess what its true value should be. Your argument can be summed up as “pro-CCP drivel propaganda” by someone who disagrees with you. So what’s the point? Why is it “liberal drivel propaganda”? You make accusations but you don’t back them up with any facts. Are you an economist? Can you tell us what formulas you’ve used to arrive at your conclusion? Can you tell us what historical precedents you are referring to? You love to throw out accusations and criticize people but you’re notoriously weak on evidence.

    But that’s not the point of the post. You’re saying that the media is undertaking some vast conspiracy to write negatively about China. You might want to look at Occam’s Razor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor

    The people who believe there is a big media conspiracy against China can be grouped with the ones who believe the Bilderberg Group is running the world along with the Trilateral Commission, all a part of the New World Order. They also believe auto companies could have their cars get 200 MPG and run on water by adding little pills to the tank, etc. Conspiracy theorists are all of a kind, theorizing that the most complicated explanation must be true, taking vague coincidences and turning them into planned plots to take over the world, yada yada yada.

  43. Nimrod Says:

    Joyce wrote:

    @ Nimrod — If a 150+ miners were trapped somewhere in America, it would be front page. If a crazy American guy shot 8 innocent people — that’s front page. It’s not a conspiracy against China every time negative news is reported.

    +++++
    That’s exactly the point, it is not America. It’s not domestic news. When some crazy guy in Trinidad shoots 8 innocent people, does it show up anywhere? When some Naxalites shoot up some village in India, where is that news? Where is CNN? Don’t tell me it’s not an editorial decision to present a certain kind of news from around the world. There is too much to cover, even just from China.

  44. Jason Says:

    I found this China Daily article about the pros and cons of increase of yuan:

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2010-03/23/content_9628273.htm

    @Google was correct in leaving China.

    Except Google didn’t leave China. They just redirect to .hk and kept most of their staffs in the China Headquarters. Most editorials commented that Google did in fact politicize this event for a smear on the censorship laws. But they never publicized their evidence (even when WaPo and NY Times brought in to the mistranslation by Global Digital Times, they never even brought it up). Also some editorials points out the hypocrisy of Google smearing Chinese censorship laws when Google has association with NSA, which still taps phone lines for AT&T.

  45. Steve Says:

    I just read that article and it argues that the pros aren’t pros and the cons are really cons. It’s not balanced at all.

    Google.cn left China and you know exactly what I meant when I wrote it. Do I need to direct you to all the anti-Google articles and editorials in the Chinese media? All editorials that I read in Chinese media, not most, said Google politicized their shutting down google.cn and were highly critical. ‘All’ as in 100%.

    Look, if you want to argue that media in China should continue to be controlled, that’s fine with me since it acknowledges the reality of the present situation. But when you act like the media in China isn’t controlled and the media in western countries is some big conspiracy, that’s when your argument falls apart. I know how media works in China, I lived there. I know how media works in the US, I live here. I know and can acknowledge the faults of US media so why can’t you acknowledge the faults of Chinese media? And saying the two are comparable? That’s when it sounds like you took the blue pill.

    Now you have someone in the business that’s willing to comment and answer your questions but do you ask any? No, you just try to put her down and pick apart someone who does this everyday while you just think you know how that world works. Why would you not take advantage of an opportunity to learn more?

    I have a friend who is quite wealthy but has a gambling problem. I have another friend who is considered the foremost authority in the world on gambling. (He was asked to write Gambling for Dummies as a primer and his newsletter is read by virtually all professional gamblers) So I invited the friend who gambles too much to the same dinner party as the Phd statistician since my friend loses money gambling and at least he could learn from an expert. But he had no desire to learn since he feels he knows everything there is to know about gambling, probably because he’s a PhD and successful business owner. So he continues to lose big money gambling. He didn’t take advantage of learning from an expert. Now we have an ‘expert’ on our blog. Why not learn from her instead of criticizing her?

  46. Nimrod Says:

    Here is a question for Joyce: If she were to write an article that cast the CCP or its policies in a rather positive light, if it were well deserved and she so believed, would she feel weird or feel ostracized among her colleagues? Would she feel the need to defend herself? Would she feel the need to “balance it out” by writing other negative stuff or placing some of your usual irrelevant and misleading boilerplate wrapups at the end of articles like “China occupied Tibet in 1959″, “Taiwan and China split in 1949″, “China is a Communist state” in every marginally related article?

  47. Jason Says:

    @Steve

    Again, Google didn’t leave China since their headquarters are still opened. Google changed their policies to having responsibility of filtering searches to the responsibility of CCP filtering searches on .hk and .tw.

    If you think that the media isn’t big conspiracy, then why is there absolutely NO article of correcting WaPo and NY Times articles’ mistake of one of the “supposedly” instigators that they copy from an absolute horrid translation of Global Digital Times and most of media were attacks on China’s censorship laws that has no barren on this situation.

    Shouldn’t the media focus on who did it WITH solid proof instead they provided drivel and smear?

    And about the rising of the Yuan article see the headline named “US strategy behind yuan rise talks.” Those are pros.

  48. Steve Says:

    Nimrod, when I saw your question I thought, “Alright! Someone asked a good question (and it IS a good question) to someone “in the know” but as I read further, your question became so slanted that by the end, it sounded like something a political party would ask in the States to slant the poll answer in their favor. Rather than all the “irrelevant”, “misleading boilerplate” and such ilk, why not just ask it as a straight question? You’ve revealed your biases in the way you worded your question so now her answer would have to spend more time on the biases than on the original question.

    Jason, I already said the shut down google.cn so the direct site left China and that Google itself is still in China. You couldn’t figure that out??? So if what Google did was no big deal, then why all the anti-Google articles in the Chinese press? I guess you are disagreeing with the Chinese media here, and you think they overreacted since Google is still in China? Are you taking the opposite stance of the official Chinese media when it comes to Google?

    Yeah, the media isn’t in a big conspiracy. There never was a media conspiracy, there never will be a media conspiracy. They are separate entities that write differing opinions depending on the story, the writer, whether it is straight reporting or an editorial, etc. That doesn’t mean some of the stories aren’t nonsense, but it isn’t from being a conspiracy but more from a lack of knowledge by the reporter writing the story. I agree with Wukailong; every time I read a story pertaining to an industry where I’m knowledgeable, there are so many errors in it that I can immediately tell that the reporter did not have the technical expertise to write the story accurately. That’s way different than a conspiracy. The worst stories I’ve ever seen concerned nuclear power plants. It was obvious none of the reporters had ever taken a course in science, physics or engineering, so I’m very sympathetic to the charge of incompetence but not to the charge of conspiracy. To claim conspiracy just indicates a naivety and lack of understanding of that industry.

    If you have a question about a specific article then why don’t you ask Joyce about it instead of calling things “drivel and smear”? The wording you use indicate your biases.

    The section of the article to which you refer, if you bothered to actually read it, doesn’t give the US argument for higher valuation of the RMB at all. What it gives is the Chinese version of the US argument. If all you read is the Chinese media, you might think this is the American argument but it’s not.

    Do you really think “A stronger yuan could significantly lower the value of China’s dollar assets and drag down China’s economy. Thus, the US has dramatically stepped up pressure on China.” is the American argument?

    Do you really think “The dollar’s dominant role as global reserve currency will be under threat if China makes its currency fully convertible.” is the US argument? If this were true, then why does the US want China’s currency to be fully convertible? That’s what is called a “contradiction”.

    “It is an inevitable choice for the US to force the yuan to appreciate in order to maintain the dollar’s dominance and contain the emergence of the yuan as an international currency.” yet if China floats its currency, the entire US argument goes away. So why isn’t China floating its currency? Hmm.. they never bothered to mention that because the government doesn’t want to float the currency. And why is that, Jason??? Is it because China wants to keep the US currency strong and maintain it as the international currency while keeping China’s currency weak and not let it become the international currency? If so, wouldn’t that make the Chinese leadership traitors to their own people??

  49. Jason Says:

    @Steve

    The big deal is that Google politicized and backed up with nonsensical evidence from NY Times via Washington Post via Global Digital Times to smear the Chinese government.

    And here’s some of the things you actually missed when reading the Chinadaily of revaluing the yuan issue:

    “It cost millions of US manufacturing jobs.

    Many Americans believe a rise in yuan could help because it could make China’s exports more expensive and less competitive in the US market.”

    And all the A,B,C categories are what the US wants. And the paragraphs below each section are China’s viewpoints

    And also as you read the bottom, it said in the pros column which is a US point:

    “Chinese yuan is grossly undervalued, consequently its cheap goods bring about trade surplus against US and harm the American economy. Yuan’s appreciation can resolve imbalances in the world economy.”

  50. Steve Says:

    @ Jason: Yes, they gave those arguments so they could refute them. Read the entire article, it’s not balanced at all. Aiya!

  51. Jason Says:

    @Steve

    The article’s conclusion is that it is WILLING to rise the value of the currency but in a slow way.

  52. Nimrod Says:

    Steve and Joyce:

    All right, I confess I got a bit riled up at the end, but it’s a valid question and I would still like to know the answer. :-)

  53. Steve Says:

    @ Nimrod: So would I, and I think it is an excellent question.

  54. pug_ster Says:

    Joyce, Steve,

    While there is less regulation towards Western Media compared to Chinese media,, I think there is a certain lack of objectivity when it comes to reporting when it comes to China. Objectivity in news reporting is when the reporter tries to tell both sides of the story. Unfortunately, this lack of objectivity when it comes to China is what the public wants to hear. Imagine if there was some objectivity in CBS or some other major news outlet about the ‘loss of manufacturing jobs being shipped off to China’ that was actually defending China, many Americans would probably stage protests against the news organization, viewership would probably go down and many would make jokes as CBS as ‘Communist Broadcasting Station.’ It is like why ‘tea-baggers’ and other right wing people would watch fox news, because if they really show some ‘fair and balanced’ news, viewership will go down and it will hurt their bottom line.

  55. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/05/opinion/05douthat.html?ref=opinion

    Just saw a NYTimes columnist about the issue with CNN’s lack of objectivity.

  56. Wukailong Says:

    @pug_ster (#54): I agree with this completely.

  57. pug_ster Says:

    Thanks.

    There are recent reports of the cover up in the killing of the 2 Reuters people in Iraq and this cover up in Afghanistan where American Media like NY times and CNN with their ‘creative reporting’ are trying to whitewash this whole incident. Is that ‘free press?’

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/04/05/afghanistan/index.html

  58. Charles Liu Says:

    Joyce @ 39,

    If you are responding to my comment in 38, I must ask you to read comment 34:

    “(BTW, this is not conspiracy, rather testament to the fact our media will happily belive, and eagerly report, anything bad about China.)”

    I for one did not say there’s a conspiracy, just a well demonstrated pattern of behavior that many of us here have noted, as our personal experience. If questionable soruce is a problem, where’s the added efforts in fact checking? Retraction, correction?

    For example, since you work for NYT, why don’t you ask John Markoff why he has not retracted his claim about Lanxiang Vocational School training computer scientists for the Chinese military? I have emailed him all the research and translation, but he refuses to believe this piss a$$ 3rd rate voc school in China only churns out cooks and mechanics when a billion people in China know this.

    This kind of lack of journalist integrety doesn’t suprise me at all, as I have long observed a pattern (again not suggesting there’s a conspiracy) of misreporting about China, and lack of fact check, follow up or correction.

    Who cares right? The damage is done, just leave it there; it’s China we’re talking about for crissake. As a minority citizen I have time and again witnessed our media contributing to America’s rising anti-Chinese sentiment with these half-truth and twist of fact.

  59. Steve Says:

    I saw an article in the Atlantic that summed up what I wanted to say about how many reporters write stories. Here are some excerpts where I highlighted what I felt was most pertinent:

    But the reporters’ questions weren’t geared toward getting a better understanding of those points. They were narrowly focused on one or two aspects of the story. And from the questions that were being asked, I realized–because I had so much more information on the subject–that the reporters were missing a couple of really important pieces of understanding about the product and its use. And as the event progressed, I also realized that the questions that might have uncovered those pieces weren’t being asked because the reporters already had a story angle in their heads and were focused only on getting the necessary data points to flesh out and back up what they already thought was the story.

    The journalists at the press conference didn’t have a bias as the term is normally used; that is, I didn’t get the sense that they were inherently for or against the company or its product. They just appeared to think they knew the subject well enough, or had a set enough idea in their heads as to what this kind of story was about, that they pursued only the lines of questioning necessary to fill in the blanks of that presumed story line. As a result, they left the press conference with less knowledge and understanding than they otherwise might have had. And while nobody could have said the resulting stories were entirely wrong, they definitely suffered from that lapse. Especially, as might be expected, when it came to the predictions they made about the product’s evolution or future.

    Most of Tetlock’s questions about the future events were put in the form of specific, multiple choice questions, with three possible answers. But for all their expertise, the pundits’ predictions turned out to be correct less than 33% of the time. Which meant, as Lehrer puts it, that a “dart-throwing chimp” would have had a higher rate of success. Tetlock also found that the least accurate predictions were made by the most famous experts in the group.

    Why was that? According to Lehrer, “The central error diagnosed by Tetlock was the sin of certainty, which led the ‘experts’ to impose a top-down solution on their decision-making processes … When pundits were convinced that they were right, they ignored any brain areas that implied they might be wrong.”

    Tetlock himself, Lehrer says, concluded that “The dominant danger [for pundits] remains hubris, the vice of closed-mindedness, of dismissing dissonant possibilities too quickly.”

    A friend of mine who’s an editor at the New York Times said those results don’t surprise him at all. “If you watch a White House press conference,” he said, “you can tell who the new reporters are. They’re often the ones who ask the best questions.” I must have looked a little surprised. “Seriously,” he said. “I actually think we should rotate reporters’ beats every two years, so nobody ever thinks they’re too much of an expert at anything.”

    We might want to call this “expert-itis”. The other side of this that I’ve seen are technical articles written by reporters with no technical knowledge, who screw up the ‘science’ beyond recognition.

  60. Nimrod Says:

    Steve,

    This is the problem when you have reporting as an industry. The supply and demand for news are not matched. Once so many reporters are hired onto payroll, they must make news or what are they being paid for? See this:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/09/the-onion-some-bullshit-h_n_491973.html

    The sad part is, they could spend the extra labor to go more in depth when the news well is dry, but that isn’t profitable, so…

  61. Steve Says:

    @ Nimrod: I love the Onion! I’ve been reading it even before they had a website and it’s consistently, witty, clever and ruthlessly sarcastic! They go after everyone equally. I sometimes think they’re the inspiration for Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.

    Rather than have legitimate reporters give me both sides of an issue, I’d like them to do some actually investigative reporting and tell me what actually happened, who is correct and who is a lying SOB. Rather than hear about who’s scoring political points on the health plan, I’d rather hear what is actually contained in the health plan as written and how it actually affects my life, but that would require effort rather than having them just regurgitate what they are told by political spin-meisters and lobbyists. Though I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, I do think there are legitimate complaints and weaknesses that mainstream media needs to address. Unfortunately, they’ve found that celebrity gossip and controversy along with bad news sells papers and boosts TV ratings. Sad but true, “we have seen the enemy and it is us”.

  62. Charles Liu Says:

    Nimrod @ 60, what you cited doesn’t explain this pattern of behavior some of us have noticed. The examples cited in comments pretty much prove that positive reporting is the exception that proves the rule on China reporting.

    Here’s another example. Recently there’s been a spat of news report that China banned/censored Bob Dylan.

    However, When I looked up the same news in China, it turned out our media neglected to mention Dylan had canceled Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea independent of China. Seems his departure from Asia had more to do with finances than any permit application problem in China:

    Questions behind Dylan Canceling Asia, Permit Problem Claim Forced

    Greed Destroyed Bob Dylan’s China Concert

    According to a Chinese music industry insider, it seems while Dylan was paid $250,000 by the Taiwanese promoter, they turn around sold the rights for $400,000, driving up ticket price to around $300.

    How did our supposed free and impartial media twisted this into censorship and the usual China narrative is beyond me. Whatever happened to fact check? Will anyone bother to follow up and correct their story? I doubt it.

  63. Steve Says:

    When it comes to the Dylan concert, you don’t know, I don’t know nor does anyone know the actual story, so you’re just as much at fault for spreading rumors as the people you blame. Per James Fallows’ column:

    Dylan’s Not Involved In This Anyway. Several people (including Reuters editor and amateur Dylan scholar Robert MacMillan) pointed out that the original claims of censorship came not from Dylan directly but from his Taiwanese tour promoters, Brokers Brothers Herald. So who knows where the complaint really came from? Fair point. You would think that if BBH were just making this up to save face, and that Dylan didn’t like their cover story, he would have indicated something as the controversy blew up worldwide. But with these moody poet-troubadors, anything is possible. Conceivably he doesn’t know about this or figures it would only make it worse to get involved.

    Dylan Doesn’t Back Out Just Because of Weak Sales or other business problems. From reader Marc Syken, who thinks it really was about censorship:

    As someone who has seen Bob on multiple occasions, a couple of quick points – Dylan does not back out of a concert if ticket sales are light. I’ve seen Dylan in half filled venues, and he has never canceled. In fact, I know of no show Dylan has ever canceled b/c of ticket sales. His tour schedule (with set lists) is here, http://www.boblinks.com/ – he plays at least 50-75 shows a year, which is pretty good for a guy 68 years old. Dylan has played the far east before, is backed by Sony records, and obviously knows the lay of the land when it comes to the music business.

    Those facts all militate against Dylan using the history of Chinese censorship as a “cover” to back out of concerts due to his being hoodwinked by an unscrupulous promoter. Given Dylan’s track record as a concert performer (as opposed to a bunch ne’er do wells like Oasis), I would tend to believe the original version of events.

    And Andrew Sprung, to the same effect:

    it seems odd that a Dylan tour organizer would make outlandish financial requests – Dylan seats are usually pretty reasonable. I saw him in a college gym in Buffalo in about 1995, a venue that was hardly part of a get rich (again) quick scheme. I’ve since seen him 2x at moderate cost. Maybe things have changed, or the Taiwanese promoter has its own agenda, but maybe too the ‘good authority’ [who said it was all about weak sales] ain’t so good.

    Maybe All the Explanations Are True. A reader with a Chinese name at a U.S. university says this fits a familiar pattern:

    For an observer from afar, all the explanations you and others given are plausible. Here, I just want to mention one of the tactics that Chinese Government always employs. It is often the case for Chinese Government to use some technicality to hide their real reason for rejection or any other form of action. Like accusing an activist of some sexual misconduct or dissolving certain organizations with the reason of tax filing irregularities.

    All of these make sense to me, which is an illustration of why it is often so absorbing and so frustrating to try to figure out what has “really” happened in Chinese affairs, especially those involving the government.

  64. Josef Says:

    in Taipei Times they wrote 2 days ago:

    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2010/04/05/2003469809

    “China’s Ministry of Culture did not give us permission to stage concerts in Beijing and Shanghai, so we had no alternative but to scrap plans for a Southeast Asian tour,” Jeffrey Wu, the promoter’s chief of operations, was quoted as saying. “The chance to play in China was the main attraction for him. When that fell through everything else was called off.”

    If that is not true, it would be easy for China to prove.
    According to Taipei Times calls to the ministry remained unanswered.
    So how can you check more facts?

    As Charles Liu wrote:
    How did our supposed free and impartial media twisted this into censorship and the usual China narrative is beyond me. Whatever happened to fact check? Will anyone bother to follow up and correct their story? I doubt it.

    I think it would be up to China to follow up and correct,- or what would you expect from whom to do?

  65. Jason Says:

    Taipei Times are bunch of morons. If they really think of China are music haters, then why are they planning a massive scale concert in October with many famous Western acts in the Bird’s Nest?

    http://showofpeace.com/artists.html

  66. Charles Liu Says:

    Josef, HK, Taiwan, Korea are not subject to Chinese Cultural Ministry’s jurisdiction, so his canceling of those venues certainly had nothing to do with censorship. However our media seems to have ignored other factors and tagged this quarly on the usual rhetoric about evil China censoring/banning.

    It is just as likely that the Taiwanese promoter’s huge markup made the concert financially not viable, or not big enough “red pocket” were paid to the gatekeeper at paperwork station. Who knows, but there are other more reasonable explinations beside this “evil China” BS our media usually snap right to.

    If the Chinese Cultural Ministry had in fact banned Dylan the Chinese blogsphere would’ve has noise in that direction. But majoirty of the Chinese netter discussion is around the promoter taking huge cuts reselling concert rights, ultimately making the concert not financially viable (per Greed Destroyed Dylan Concert article cited). No one in China is blaming Dylan for this, BTW.

    BTW, the only media outlet that actually covered other explination is WSJ, and they reported that Chinese Foreign Ministry said they had no involvement, and Cultural Ministry said they never received application for the concert.

  67. Steve Says:

    Err… Jason, none of those artists have even been invited yet, nevermind approved to play in China. You might want to read what you post before you post it. And no one said Chinese are music haters, except you.

    As I wrote earlier, no one has any idea why the concerts really were canceled. This guy says one thing and that guy says another. Unless you’re in the music business with direct ties to this promotion, you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about, but that’s par for the course.

  68. pug_ster Says:

    #61 Steve,

    What you said reminds me of the word ‘Infotainment.’ I know that in China and HK, there are not alot of dedicated news programs like Olberman, Beck, Sunday morning talk shows, and etc… Perhaps maybe that is why an average Chinese is probably less interested in politics than an Average American.

    Talking about Bias… I saw this in ESWN blog about how they reported a ‘protest march’ in HK. Interesting of how information is reported.

    http://zonaeuropa.com/201004a.brief.htm#007

  69. Jason Says:

    @ Steve

    Actually 2 acts (Lady Gaga and Black Eye Peas) didn’t materialize and all the artists listed has approved.

    Rick Garson, the concert’s promoter has said all official approvals have been received, and that the concert will go ahead on October 10.

    http://www.globaltimes.cn/www/english/metro-beijing/update/society/2010-03/513589.html

    Maybe you should read what you post before you post it.

  70. Charles Liu Says:

    FYI Jason, the article I cited, “Greed Destroyed Bob Dylan’s Concert”, is from a China music industry insider. I will translate the article for those won’t can’t read Chinese.

  71. Steve Says:

    YOUR article says, “The rescheduled date for the “Show of Peace” concert to be headlined by Jimmy Page is tentative, and the concert itself is uncertain, an official told the Global Times Tuesday.”

    “… is tentative, and the concert itself is uncertain…”
    “… is tentative, and the concert itself is uncertain…”
    “… is tentative, and the concert itself is uncertain…”

    Egads, are you serious?

  72. Steve Says:

    Hi pug_ster: I’ve also noticed over the years that crowd size is always overestimated by the organizers themselves and never agrees with police estimates. I’m not sure how accurate police estimates are, but I trust them a lot more than any other number. Do you remember the one in Washington where the organizers used photos from a completely different rally to make the numbers look larger? I forget the event but it was certainly deceptive!

    I don’t consider Olbermann, Beck, Hannity, Maddow, etc. to be dedicated news programs, I consider them to be entertainment, very weird entertainment but entertainment nevertheless. However, it’s entertainment disguised as political news discussion and so it is deceptive. As far as I know and as you said, I don’t believe there is anything even slightly comparable in China.

  73. Jason Says:

    @Steve

    If you follow the context of the article, “tentative,” means how it will affect other performers coming back again in October 10th since they were committed to the April 20th date. So it does not mean that the Chinese government is stalling the concert for reasons you seem to assume.

  74. Steve Says:

    Congratulations, Jason. If you really believe what you’ve written, you’ve now convinced me you’re illiterate.

  75. Jason Says:

    I don’t know that your reading comprehension and your reading skills of connecting each piece is so hard for you.

    official approvals-check

    Acquire the authorization for a large-scale outdoor gathering-check

    Lady Gaga and Black Eye Peas coming?-uncheck

    hence the delay and the conclusion that I made.

  76. Charles Liu Says:

    FYI Fallows have updated his Dylan concert cancelation story (while no other media oulet initially carried the China ban story had followed up):

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/04/an-entirely-different-view-of-the-dylan-china-saga/38493/

  77. DeWang Says:

    @Charles Liu #76

    These are some of the questions you should ask yourself:

    1. On this Dylan story, what has Fallows done journalistically?
    Nothing.

    2. He then tries to be “honorable” by publishing a correction. But he then says:

    It also illustrates a problem the Chinese government has created for itself, even if it is entirely blameless in this situation: Once you get a bad reputation, you get blamed even for things you didn’t do.

    What kind of sleaze is that? This is so typical with lame Western journalists.

    Hello? Once you get a bad reputation? Created by whom?

    3. As with the really bad typical Western journalists, they project their value judgement against China about censorship.

    Hey, how about first accepting that norm is actually acceptable to the Chinese? How about accepting that on equal footing?

    Charles – your fault. Fallows write junk, and the only reason I visited his blog was because your link.

  78. Wukailong Says:

    @DeWang: Are you saying Charles was wrong to publish the link? I’ve seen Allen react strongly to posting of links before, so I was wondering if it’s something with you guys. ;)

    I read the “junk” link in question, and I think his explanation was OK. As for whether it’s acceptable as a “norm” to Chinese in general, I wouldn’t dare do such a generalization. Most people don’t care much about it because they don’t browse foreign websites, but people do get annoyed when their favorite stuff suddenly isn’t visible, at least colleagues and friends of mine.

    Over at HH you wrote that “I understand some Google’s services are blocked and some anti-Chinese government web sites are blocked.” Well, among these few anti-government websites we find this blog itself, Blogspot, Youtube, WordPress, Wikipedia (again, this time it seems to be the wikimedia part that isn’t working) and a lot of other sites.

  79. Charles Liu Says:

    Perhaps it’s a different dewang (check the capitalization in other blog/comment)? Not that I’m a huge fan, but IMHO at least Fallows decided to develop his story and follow up. Do you see any other China reporting that at least acknowledge the story beyond the initial misreporting?

    Only when it reenforces the official narrative as it seems. Take the Lanxiang Vocational “military hacker central” story, not one outlet that trumpeted it had the courage to admit they F ed up.

  80. DeWang Says:

    @Wukailong, Charles,

    It’s the same me. I am just getting annoyed at reacting to what people like Fallows has to say, including this supposedly “fairer” post by him. Sorry, Charles, I don’t mean to be critical of you.

    Wukailong: “Well, among these few anti-government websites we find this blog itself, Blogspot, Youtube, WordPress, Wikipedia (again, this time it seems to be the wikimedia part that isn’t working) and a lot of other sites.”

    But you also failed to quote me a bit further down where I said Facebook was blocked likely due to its non-compliance with Chinese law.

    Your and your friends inconvenience a fault of the Chinese government or Facebook?

  81. Wukailong Says:

    @DeWang: “But you also failed to quote me a bit further down where I said Facebook was blocked likely due to its non-compliance with Chinese law.”

    Fair enough, but I didn’t mention Facebook above.

  82. Charles Liu Says:

    Speaking of all these social networking sites being blocked. Does anyone find it strange the latest “China espionage network” stories claim these blocked social networking sites are used to control hijacked computer?

    Basically our media itself hijacked the story and ignored the researcher’s claim there’s no evidence the Chinese government is involved, instead focus on conjecture of Chinese government’s involvement.

    This, IMHO, is not journalism.

  83. Zandra Walde Says:

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