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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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):
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.
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 »
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.
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.
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.
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.
… 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.]
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.