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Feb 06

Have you seen these journalist/analyst types?

Written by: DJ | Filed under:media | Tags:,
44 Comments » newest 2009-02-15 23:19:54

Since a recurring theme of discussion here is the truthfulness or truthiness of various reports and claims regarding China, I compiled a list of figures illustrating the very different styles practiced by some journalists and analysts. Can you attach some names to them?

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Nov 22

Chen Daojun (陈道军), a relatively obscure activist (or provocateur depending on one’s point of view) in China, was sentenced to three years in prison for “inciting subversion of state authority” (煽动颠覆国家政权罪) yesterday. Thus the Chinese government, quite rightfully described as clumsy and self-defeating in presenting itself, just launched someone into a career of fame and awards. Who wants to bet on the recipient of next year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought?

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Nov 22

minipost-Good news about bad news

Written by: DJ | Filed under:-mini-posts | Tags:,
7 Comments » newest 2008-11-27 00:02:15

According to Reuters, China is relaxing restrictions on the media to report “negative” news promptly and without clearance from the top. Could it be that some in the authority read what Roland had to say at ESWN regarding the pointlessness of competing with Chinese Internet users and bloggers?

Oct 24

In a Q & A with Michael Spence, Nobel Laureate in Economics 2001, on the U.S. economic crisis on Squawk Box at CNBC, Spence makes some notable comments on China’s management of its economy and its responsible actions on the global economic stage. Continue reading »

Sep 15

Chinese netters have reacted to the suspension of Voice of Germany’s veteran editor Zhang Danhong for comments that were “too pro-China”. Here’s the backgrounder. Continue reading »

Aug 18

I have followed the responses to David Brooks’ essay “Harmony and the Dream” published in the New York Times with interest ever since first reading James Fallows mercilessly picking Brooks’ theme apart. There have been others joining the “onslaught” as well since then. Elliott Ng has now compiled a nice summary of Brooks’ thesis and various responses online. It is well worth a read.

Aug 16

Do not pressure athletes into saying sorry

Written by: DJ | Filed under:media | Tags:, , , ,
31 Comments » newest 2008-08-20 05:09:18

Note: The following is a translation of a post by “zl19860707” in 铁血论坛 Tiexue Forum, one of the popular online bulletin boards in China. This post was responding to the words spoken by the Chinese shooting athlete 谭宗亮 Tan Zongliang after he won the bronze in the men’s 50m pistol event on August 12. Beijing 2008 is the fourth Olympics Tan has competed in, and this bronze is the first of any kind he has received. (Tan, by the way, now officially owns a silver medal because the North Korean shooter ahead of him failed subsequent doping tests.)

Do not pressure athletes into saying sorry

Tan Zongliang said: “I feel that I have let the country down by winning only a single bronze through four Olympics.”
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Aug 13

[UPDATE]

At the risk of being seen as running an excessive self and cross promotional campaign, I highly recommend all interested readers to check out ESWN’s take on some of the irresponsible media reports in this case, particularly the collection of quotes from various medias, and the latest comment on the “uneven teeth” meme such reports created. Roland is very gracious in claiming only to frame this very post, but I think his “re-framing” does a very effective job in making the point.

I should also point out some subtle but extremely damaging distortions introduced and propagated by the media reports that earned my ire. As reflected by a Chinese blogger on his second posting on this matter after listening to the entire interview of Chen (H/T to ESWN again):

陈音乐总监的说法被媒体断章取义了,或者说歪曲了。第一,陈没有说杨小朋友的形象不好,只是说林小朋友的形象最好;第二,陈说到国家利益,是指作出用最好的形象和最好的声音这样一种“双簧”的安排更符合国家利益,并不是指不让杨小朋友出镜是“国家利益”。

The words of Chen Qigang are used by the media out of context and are distorted. First, Chen did not say that Yang Peiyi was considered not good in appearance. He merely pointed out that Lin Miaoke was considered to have the best image. Second, when Chen talked about national interest, he was claiming that the national interest was served by combining the best stage presence with the best singing voice [to present the best perceived performance]. He did not mean that it was a matter of “national interest” to hide Yang Peiyi from the camera.

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Aug 07

I couldn’t help but think of Gresham’s law while reading the twin news of the banner carrying pole climbing protesters in Beijing and the last minute cancellation of Joey Cheek’s visa to go to China.

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Aug 02

minipost-What do some Western journalists want from Beijing?

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:-mini-posts, media | Tags:,
66 Comments » newest 2008-09-22 18:44:36

Behind a thin vaneer of professionalism, it’s not inaccurate to say many Western journalists are hoping for the worst from these Olympics.  Some have been honest enough to admit it.  Here’s a collection of choice quotes:

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Jul 31

There is “A Reporter’s Guide to Covering the Olympics“, supposedly found in the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong, at Time’s China Blog. It is well worth a read. Continue reading »

Jul 30

Nominee: “Our Foreign Staff” at Telegraph

News title/claim: China dumps gold medallists from Olympics ‘for political reasons’

Comment: Some writers at this British newspaper need to learn English. “Politics” as in office team politics =/= “political reasons”. Continue reading »

Jul 23

Go here for full article.  Some notable quotes: “A German television report on the availability of gene doping in China has stunned anti-doping experts shortly before the Beijing Olympics.  … In a documentary by ARD television, a Chinese doctor offers stem-cell therapy to a reporter posing as an American swimming coach.” Continue reading »

Jul 23

Use Democracy to avoid a “Bottleneck Lake” in China

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:General | Tags:, , ,
54 Comments » newest 2008-07-25 12:19:18

In the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake, a “bottleneck lake” (堰塞湖) formed as a river was blocked by a landslide. Collapse of the dam posed a tremendous danger to those down-stream community, and the Chinese government spent huge resources and risked many lives to erase the lake.

Guangdong provincial party secretary Wang Yang started a mini-landslide of his own, when 3 days ago he spoke to a group of Communist Party cadres at a training course (连接):

We must make democracy a value to be pursued. In governing, we must make sure we use democracy, defend democracy, secure democracy, and develop democracy. We must be sufficiently respectful of, and also open up expressions of popular opinion. We absolutely can not block popular opinion, and form a “bottleneck-on-speech lake” (言塞湖). We must use democratic methods to continuously improve and expand democracy within the Party, and push forward social democracy. We must self-consciously nurture democratic habits, learn to listen and tolerate, and use democratic methods to unite people.

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Jul 21

It has been three days since the sensational title “Authorities order bars not to serve black people” written by Tom Miller showed up in the supposedly reputable South China Morning Post. I used the phrase “supposedly reputable” because I don’t read SCMP and really can’t directly comment on it. However I vaguely remember someone, in one of the many blogs/forums discussing this allegation, commented to the effect of: “It comes from the SCMP, which has a solid reputation. So I am inclined to believe this is true.” Sorry, I seriously intended to quote that comment here, but I somehow just can’t find it. It must be buried in lots of other comments either questioning SCMP’s journalism standard in this case or blaming China for all the wrongs of the universe. Nevertheless, I logically infer that SCMP must have had a solid reputation with at least some readers up until three days ago.

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Jul 21

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

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:News | Tags:, ,
63 Comments » newest 2008-07-22 17:10:18

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

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

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

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

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

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Jul 18

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

Jul 10

Ted Koppel on the People’s Republic of Capitalism

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:media | Tags:
10 Comments » newest 2008-07-14 02:43:12

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

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

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

Jul 07

Wall Street Journal gets it wrong on Weng’an

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Analysis, media | Tags:,
43 Comments » newest 2008-07-12 09:15:31

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

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

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

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


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

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Jul 05

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

Written by: DJ | Filed under:News | Tags:, , ,
10 Comments » newest 2008-07-10 14:52:37

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

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

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

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

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Jul 02

Weng’an Riots: How the state media hurts China

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:media | Tags:, , , , ,
130 Comments » newest 2016-08-11 03:11:25

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

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

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

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