Thursday, May 1, 2008

The not so subtle news

When we have a billion people, you said we were destroying the planet./ When we tried limiting our numbers, you said it is human rights abuse/When we were poor, you thought we were dogs./ When we loan you cash, you blame us for your debts./ When we build our industries, you called us polluters./ When we sell you goods, you blame us for global warming. - a silent, silent Chinese(Nic)

I've barely had time to comment on recent news reports with eyes on China. Although I do come across people whose impressions are influenced by those "news" slash analysis everyday.

European business officials warned anti-French boycott could be met by similar action against Chinese products in Europe. Well, way to convince the average Chinese that European leaders really care about human rights in China. Guess what? Protest and boycott are human rights of individuals. And guess what? Unlike EU officials, Chinese official didn't come out to incite the situation. Rather, they tried to calm it down, fairly or unfairly. Paris city councils hung the "Paris defends human rights everywhere in the world" banner during the torch run. I guess they should really hung "Paris pretends to defend human rights, except when you moved my cheese."

My main complain of the media isn't even presentation of the facts or angle of the stories. It's the subtle use of words that betray reporters personal inclination, such as the insistence on calling Tibet(Xizang) Tibet while referring other parts of China as China instead of "the rest of China". It subcontextually convey the message Tibet isn't part of China. Ladies and gentlemen, the film (see previos post) by the U.S. War department 50 some years ago says the opposite. It clearly shows Tibet as a part of China.

(For that matter, why didn't I see any report of Tibet People's Uprising Movement while there are plenty references of the Dalai Clique quote. )

Even when the media tried to show some sympathy, the disparate tone carried over. In a recent NYT story about Chinese students fighting for their country's image, it said of their handouts "contained a jumble of abbreviated history, slogans and maps with little context. A chart showing that infant mortality in Tibet had plummeted since 1951, when the Communist Chinese government asserted control, did not provide any means for comparison with mortality rates in China or other countries." judging by that remark, you would think of the students were asked to hand in their term paper. Did I see any handouts from the "Free Tibet" crowd ever subject to this standard? Of course, never. (You won't know from the article that Chinese Student Association of USC discouraged members from going to the event, "just ignore it". I Learn it from 77, who's about to graduate from USC.)

In this media age, it's simply difficult to differentiate news reporting from commenting. And the newest fashion in the China reporting is to play psychologist. Not to worry most of them are ill equipped to understand Chinese psychology.

Simon Elegant of Time wonders loud why China is burning mad. The answer is of course conveniently found in China's victim mentality, or nationalism. All else fails, blame it on the Government education. as if blaming on the CCP would make everything explanatory and well.

Allow me to complete go off topic here, but is Elegant really Simon's given name? Given that the royal house of England merely changed their last name to Windsor from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, it's a bit...I'll call yourself Elegant, isn't it?

One of the example that Time's China Blog uses to chastise Chinese insecurity is that how the French seemingly not care much during the freedom fry episode. Hello?! The French fry isn't really French or even French invented. Why should the French feel insulted? Is Time's reporter this ignorant? BTW, personally I wouldn't care "Chinese fortune cookie" being called "Zimbabwe fortune cookie" or whatever either. There isn't anything Chinese about them. The ironic part is that the whole freedom fry farce is the U.S. congress's reaction over France's stance on Iraq. The U.S. freaking congress. Tell me who is sensitive now? In fact, if Americans are so cool, Rev. Wright's remarks wouldn't be causing Obama this much trouble.

Oh, I forget, in the U.S.'s case, Time should duly refer nationalism as patriotism. Nationalism is reserved for country like China.

Now I'll be the first to admit things like lack of sincere apology from the Japanese do hinder Chinese people to turn over the history page, and gain a more modern concept of nationality. However, foreign reporters like Mr Elegant never stepped into Chinese shoes. They never have to experience what Chinese have been through, even the more recent ones. The first time they stepped onto Chinese soil, they were foreigners living in a comfortable high life. That by itself makes them the privileged class in China. They may think living in China makes them qualified to play psychologist. They are not.

I'll save the Chinese history class for another day.

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