Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Imagination As Reality

Friends who say I have been too harsh in my grumble for the local media have recently found new ways of rebuttal.

"Look at those stupid foreign editors who can't even tell Nepalese police uniforms from the Chinese," they say, "And the absurdly cropped pictures that removed some violent rioters in Tibet from readers' eyesight. It doesn't matter whether or not they did it deliberately. Foreign media are just as crappy as the ones we have here, or even worse. They are not as professional and sophisticated as they think are."

Of course, my dear. My criticism of the local media by no means implies any compliment to their foreign counterparts. I have no intention to benchmark the local media's professionalism against anyone else but common sense and textbook theories, although it may seem a bit too utopian. More importantly, my training as a journalist bequeaths me a deep understanding of how information can be distorted to tell the crafted agenda of the journalist, or whoever he/she writes for. It's just no brainer.

What intrigues me most in the Tibetan riots in China last month and the so-called "public relations crisis" that ensues is that thousands of people in and outside China seem to be too obsessed with their version of truth, which is built on nothing but their imagination, or, to be absolutely blunt, prejudice. I wonder if anyone can think with a cool-head what is actually going on and what they are really talking about.

With freedom of speech, it is too easy to jump on the bandwagon to blurb something from our impulse without even knowing what the issue is - or do we bother to know in the first place? It makes us feel so good articulating our perceptions that few can challenge, rather than going through an analytical thinking process before the blurb slips off our lips.

As we can see in those appallingly unprofessional news reports running wild on the internet and those protesters who tried to disrupt the Beijing Olympics torch relay in London and Paris, there are far too many foreigners who truly believe that China is still a totalitarian state that would spare no effort to suppress any voice of opposition. Images of armed police officers running after protesters, arresting people serve nothing more than the latest reinforcement of their imagination of China as a ruthless regime that treats its people like slaves. While they condemn the Chinese authorities of the so-called violent suppression, they choose to ignore scenes of a mob beating people up, smashing windows and looting shops on the other side of the street. Some of those who criticise China of denying its people human rights even tried to snap the Olympics torch forcefully from a disabled Chinese athlete on a wheelchair. To me, they seem to think if they are acting against an evil authority, they become the good guys and whatever means they employ will be justified and deserve to be supported.

What a nonsense. It just reminds me of the bloody ecstasy of the crusades centuries back, and the ongoing "war on terror".

Again, criticising those supporting Tibet independence or anti-Chinese protesters doesn't mean that the Chinese authorities are getting my compliment. While it will be unfair to neglect their efforts to enhance transparency of communications, the dull and tasteless rhetoric of communist propaganda failed to capitalise on an opportunity that would have been able to help Beijing get an upper hand in the worldwide battle for attention and sympathy. Some local media even said Beijing has already lost its say in the matter. Not surprisingly, the so-called evidence of Dalai Lama's involvement in the riots is still far from convincing. The official imagination that a Big Brother is sitting behind those who are sceptical and disapproving of some of China's deeds doesn't help either. In fact, I really wonder whether or not there ever exists a bunch of individuals who can qualify to be the much-touted "anti-China forces". Be they the senators of the United States who promote trade protectionism, or those "international" pressure groups that choose to monitor human rights in a communist regime in the Far East rather than their homeland across the Pacific, those are the ones who feed on whatever opportunities they can find to create confrontation and hostility by manipulating differences. This is how they survive and their existence is justified. We simply have to put up with it. Pointing an accusing finger at someone else's nose or plunging into a debate of what actually happened will lead to nowhere.

A truly effective way to keep imagination and prejudice at bay is to be open, patient and confident. Be open, so that people can see what you do and how you think. Be patient, so that you don't get crossed when people keep questioning your intention as if you were born evil. Be confident, so that you are not afraid of doing what you think is right and defending your position when you are being criticised harshly and unreasonably. Certainly it is not a quick fix, and I don't believe there is any, because human prejudice is the most difficult to change on earth.

At the end of the day, the issue is all about how people think. As we have seen, people don't really think with their brains. They think with their eyes and ears. They believe in what they see and what they are told, without really questioning whether or not they have been given the full and truthful details. They use their imagination to build the full picture like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and take it as the reality. Anything that challenges this work of human cognition and self-esteem will no doubt meet stubborn opposition. And this is precisely why openness, patience and confidence is important to break the ice.

17 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading your post, though I did not agree fully with everything. Because I think it was written sincerely in the interest of open dialogue and thoughtful, considered discussion, I will try to respond accordingly.

    I am an American, and I definitely have many concerns about the Chinese government's policies; I have many concerns about the US government's policies as well. There was one section in particular though with which I could not agree, as it doesn't ring true to my experience:

    "Be they the senators of the United States who promote trade protectionism, or those "international" pressure groups that choose to monitor human rights in a communist regime in the Far East rather than their homeland across the Pacific, those are the ones who feed on whatever opportunities they can find to create confrontation and hostility by manipulating differences. This is how they survive and their existence is justified. "

    The important distinction to note here is that most of the Americans protesting China's human rights, closed press, and environmental record are politically liberal. These are the people who opposed the Iraq war from the start, who strongly support Native Americans, who are anti-war in general, and who are definitely anti-imperialist. These people, and I would include myself among them, are upset by what's happening in China because they support those values everywhere. They are the same people protesting the Iraq war. It's not like they're supporting American imperialism one day, and then going and trying to tell China not to mess with another culture the next day. So, it is really truly inaccurate to say these people thrive off of hostility/manipulating differences; in truth, these are generally the Americans most sympathetic to multiculturalism and difference (it's the conservatives/Republicans you have to watch out for). Many of these protestors have Chinese friends, like Chinese people a lot, or even are Chinese.

    Anyway, I have many Chinese friends (some of them very close, all of whom support Tibet), as well as a Tibetan friend, and I visited China last year, so I don't feel as though I'm some sort of totally ignorant American -- nor do I feel I know the whole picture. Who can until the press, many different sources, so they can be compared, is let into all of China?

    My point is, I think it's important for people from both countries to try to get to know one another, and consider that actually they may in some cases be the most likely people from their respective countries to form bonds and develop understanding. In the US, people like Senator Nancy Pelosi, who has recently been decried by some in the Chinese community here, are actually the people who in most cases stand up for other cultures in the US. That's why we also stand up for other cultures outside of the US. We're not the ones starting wars. That would be the generally more war-prone Republicans, who are the same party that wants to get rid of many Mexican immigrants and so forth.

    I'm very sorry for being so verbose, but I do think it's important to point out that many of the pro-Tibet demonstrators (they're not anti-China, though even the Western media may inaccurately label them as such) are also the most open minded, warm, and smart people here. We, or at least I, am definitely interested in a discussion, and it has nothing to do with feeding on aggression.

    Best regards,
    Michael

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  2. Oops, mistakenly labeled her US Senator Nancy Pelosi. She is actually not a senator, but the Speaker of the House of Representatives. I apologize for the mistake!

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  3. Anonymous7:40 pm

    So far as I know, a lot of leftists and anti-war people don't conmingle with Free Tibet guys. A lot of China human rights and Tibet groups have financial backup from the U.S. government or neo-con fundations , which is a main reason why a lot of people shun them.

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  4. Neo-cons are a funny group. Back in 2000, the Cheney family certainly wanted to make China the "new enemy" to replace the "old enemy" of Communist Russia. But our country has developed such strong trade relations with the East that its hard to disentangle capitalist business needs from national opinion.

    It is very hard to protest China's low wages when you're wearing their tennis shoes and watching their 40" flat screen TVs. It is difficult to bemoan a rising Chinese Military Force, when you outspend them $20 to $1.

    That said, Americans really are more interested in protesting the abuses of their own government than the abuses of a foreign power half a world away. Abu Gharab and Gitmo are far more real to us than slaughtered Tibetian Monks. We know all about falsification of WMDs and warantless wiretapping and corrupt tax expenditures by our Congress. What the Chinese Congress and Tibetian government are up to? That's a mystery to me.

    Chinese ex-pats and Tibetian exiles are the groups most interested in the exchange and they make up a bare fraction of the human rights groups in the US, even if they get a disproportionate amount of air time.

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  5. "So far as I know, a lot of leftists and anti-war people don't conmingle with Free Tibet guys. A lot of China human rights and Tibet groups have financial backup from the U.S. government or neo-con fundations , which is a main reason why a lot of people shun them."

    This statement does not seem true to me, as many "Free Tibet guys" (many of them women) are leftists and anti-war people, and when they go out to protest, they generally have a lot of support from the left.

    As zifnab has pointed out, the American right -- the neocons, the current US presidency -- are very beholden to business with China, so they are unlikely to take a strong stand against China. In other words, the biggest capitalists have the most to lose by angering China. Somewhat ironically, it is the leftists, some of whom even support democratic socialism, who are very critical of its policies, even though China once stood for more equal distribution of wealth. The problem is that the Chinese government is now moving a lot closer to the neocons, who themselves dislike much of the press, and certainly love the free market.

    Eight years ago, they may have been able to try to present China as the new USSR. But after 9/11, "terrorism" took the place of Soviet communism for conservatives, and China became a great business partner.

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  6. Anonymous10:37 am

    How does one go about finding the truth about anything in China?

    Tourists and the media were thrown out of Tibet after the riots.

    But I think foreigners look at China as a country that does not want to find out the truth.

    What actually happend in Beijing in 1989?

    It's a taboo subject.

    Is there a rational discussion about Tibet, and what those who don't follow the party line think?

    No. Dissenting voices are not allowed.

    I think the majority of the population in China are ignorant.

    They are not given the true picture by their own government about what is happening in many areas.

    They don't hear other viewpoints.

    The goverment tells other countries not to interfere in their internal affairs, but are happy to have heads of state affirm publicly that Taiwan is part of China.

    The Olympics should not be politicized? China has been doing that all along.

    The games are awarded to a city. So why was the president presiding over the embarrasing ceremony when the flame arrived in Beijing.

    That whole event was an embarrasment.

    No smiles. Police marching with the flame. No spectators allowed.

    It's things like that give people their impressions of China.

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  7. @Michael: "These are the people who opposed the Iraq war from the start, who strongly support Native Americans"

    Indeed. But there's a difference between talk and action. I am afraid Americans are being seen as merely paying lip service to the native's cause. After decimating them, the native Indians are widely reported to have suffered extraordinarily high unemployment, rampant alcohol abuse, and other social ills.
    Just because you have enacted laws to grant them a few parcels of land and toss in a casino or two doesn't mean you support there cause.


    Further, protests/boycuts only further increase support of the CCP amongst the ordinary Chinese. At some point, a lot of these "liberals" will have to ask themselves whether they have the Tibetans' interests at heart, or merely succumbing to the latest political fad.

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  8. Tian,

    Native Americans definitely do face a lot of the things you mentioned. And certainly, I'm sure Americans are often perceived to only pay lip service to their betterment. Still, it is generally the people who actually go out and protest who are generally more "radical", and who often feel that a lot more should be done in reparation for what European settlers did to the indigenous people of the Americas. The same goes for what happened to African slaves -- hence liberals tend to be more interested in spending way more money on public health, education, etc, and services that truly benefit the poor. The problem is, maybe 1/3 of America really opposes this, 1/3 really support it, and 1/3 are not really sure what they think, or feel somewhere in between.

    It's true that protests are being perceived as "anti-Chinese" within China and by some Chinese people outside of China, but I don't think not protesting is the answer. As for Tibet being the cause du jour for some protestors, it's absolutely true, some people do not have the long term commitment to causes, and are interested in supporting them as fads. This is certainly to the detriment of the people who really are affected by them, and also those who care enduringly even if it does not affect them directly. I know this is a source of frustration for my Tibetan (American citizen) friend, who has seen popular efforts to free Tibet come and go, and come again, while those laboring tirelessly for it over the decades are left alone for long stretches. Support from the US government is the same way--you can have it one year, and then be abandoned the next (hence the origins of much of the hatred towards the US in the world, especially the Middle East).

    Unfortunately, liberals in America are just not powerful enough nationwide to do some of the things they'd like to. It takes a temporary national swing to the left for a Democratic president to even get elected, and often even then it requires someone who's a centrist and really not that progressive to get a Democrat elected (Bill Clinton for instance). Anyway, what I'm asking is for people to distinguish between different American viewpoints, because I think they vary wildly, by region, by city, sometimes even by one house to another (or one room to another in a single house). Most people who have concerns about China's human rights record, and who are taking action, also are truly disgusted by things like Guantanamo, the war in Iraq, Reagan's involvement in Latin America, all of that stuff.

    You're totally right that words are not action, but those of us who support a more just America have a lot of work to do to convince other people. Inside the US, non-violent protests have historically been an important part of that (for instance the civil rights movement/Martin Luther King, Jr.)

    However, in this case, it seems that protesting is only a start, because we also need to bridge a cultural gap. In many ways, I don't think even the most fairly educated people from the US and most fairly educated people from China understand each other -- and certainly the average hardcore nationalist from the US and the average hardcore nationalist from China don't understand each other. I only hope to convey that those most interested in China here are also probably the most open minded and interested in dialogue and cultural understanding (not, by any means cultural domination).

    (P.S. casinos are definitely not the answer; my feeling is that strong educational support is probably a much better approach, though one which should be extended to all Americans, in a way it certainly isn't yet).

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  9. Anonymous1:37 pm

    An AP story on a US Congressional resolution over Tibet and China.

    Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu labeled the resolution anti-Chinese, saying it "twisted Tibet's history and modern reality ... seriously hurting the feelings of the Chinese people."

    Often Chinese leaders say that "all Chinese people" are hurt, or want Taiwan to rejoin the motherland, when it is blatently untrue.

    I'm sure many Chinese people don't care, and their feelings are not hurt.

    Language like this is laughed at.

    As to whether the US Congress should be passing such silly resolutions at all, well, people in the US are allowed to tell their lawmakers what they think of them, without being jailed.

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  10. @Michael: "The important distinction to note here is that most of the Americans protesting China's human rights, closed press, and environmental record are politically liberal. These are the people who opposed the Iraq war from the start, who strongly support Native Americans, who are anti-war in general, and who are definitely anti-imperialist. These people, and I would include myself among them, are upset by what's happening in China because they support those values everywhere."

    Unfortunately Michael, I have to sadly inform you that most... no, let's not say most, many people who were protesting couldn't even point out where Tibet is on the map of China. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1t755K3zpQ) It is not to say that there isn't anyone who's genuinely care about this and do research and try to understand this issue. Some I have crossed online, are very stubborn and oblivious to truth. To them, I'm CCP brainwashed and incapable of thinking, and anything I say is propaganda, and thus any argument I put forth is unworthy of their time to exam.

    And certainly not all protesters in London, Paris and even in San Fransisco are warm, open and smart. Not to mention the violent attack on the disabled girl. I've been many photos of very aggressive protesters provoking Chinese supporters. I'm sorry to say this, but my experience with the supporter of Tibet issue (mostly virtual) had been some sore ones. =(

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  11. "I'm sure many Chinese people don't care, and their feelings are not hurt."

    Mine feeling is very, very hurt by the distortion of western mainstream media on this whole incident. And so are many friends of ours. If you look about the online Chinese communities, you'd see how many enrage posts are circulating the internet. They have completely ignored our voice up to this date. Blocking us out of picture! I think it's very arrogant and ignorant to make this statement as well.

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  12. (reposting this with some grammatical errors fixed)

    iat455,

    No, not all protestors have those good qualities you mentioned. Just like not all stories printed in the Western media are accurate. The question is whether they make honest mistakes and will grow as they become more acquainted with the region, or if they are willfully hostile and wish to remain that way. Pointing to two protestors who don't know where Tibet is does not really give much indication of whether they are sympathetic human beings. It's similar to what anti-CNN does, which is take some of the worst examples of journalistic mistakes and even ethical breaches, and present them as if the majority of stories are that way. In fact, I think most protestors and most news outlets are trying very hard to get it right, but for some of them this is new territory, and there will be mistakes. There will be, in some cases, really big mistakes. To me it's reassuring though that this can be talked about openly.

    As to the Chinese people finally being heard by the Western media: yes, this is the first time we've had comments from many Chinese people, because this is the first time sites like BBC have been unblocked by the CCP. The Western media is readjusting. Of course, sophisticated sources like the New York Times will probably adjust much better than entertainment news type sources like CNN (which doesn't have anywhere near the level of journalistic integrity or credibility of the NYTimes).

    Finally, as to aggressive protestors provoking Chinese supporters: I can't speak to London or Paris, but I live in SF and if there was provocation, it was mutual, and it definitely was not originating any more with the Tibet supporters than with the pro-China supporters. People were draped in red flags to drown out their message, and were shouted down, etc. However, even though the torch got rerouted, I think SF was generally a pretty good example of people expressing different views without violence on either side. The main problem is that most people on both sides were shouting, not speaking. On the Internet, much of the discussion is equivalent to shouting too. On both sides of the issues.

    I still feel the same way about most of the protestors, especially the younger ones, in San Francisco, and the opportunity for people to understand one another. Both sides, in my opinion, have some learning to do about each other, and currently are too closed off to take one another seriously (and increasingly they give one another reasons not to), but I still think that people who care the most about human rights -- the ones who haven't just started talking about it now, but who have for a long time -- are the people who you can count on to eventually listen. Everyone's in kind of an angry mood right now, but that will calm down, and I hope people on both sides will start really considering what the other is saying. I don't believe it's happening now, but I believe it can eventually. It's encouraging to me, at least, that the Internet is allowing people to have these discussions, even if there is a long, long way to go before understanding occurs.

    I'm curious what the author of the original post has to say, as they have not weighed in yet!

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  13. I would also just add that I think it's kind of unfortunate that the American and Chinese people are finally getting to know one another over such a contentious issue. Normally, when you meet new people, you don't discuss topics that lead to argument until you first build trust and friendship and understanding. It's important that we do discuss this topic, but it seems unfortunate that there's not also more friendly discussion happening on other topics (maybe there is and I just don't know about it). While many Americans have concerns about the Chinese government, I think a lot of these same people also are really interested in China, its people, its culture, its history, and so forth. I imagine that's probably similar in China. Of course, there are also Americans who are just racist, bigoted and small minded, and probably don't care for Chinese people, black people, Mexican people -- anyone "not white". But I guess that's impossible to avoid, for the time being. I'd advise steering clear of such stupid people, and talking to people who seem open and friendly (sometimes it's hard to tell at first on the Internet though).

    There are topics like arts, technology, etc, where I think people would find they have a lot in common, or at least appreciate differing perspectives because they're not such contentious issues. Realistically, I think everyone should be aware that we will be living with one another in a global world from now on, and it'd be better if we developed stronger relations.

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  14. Michael and other friends, thank you very much for your feedback and my sincere apologies for replying so late. I have been swamped at work these days.

    As a Chinese born and bred in Hong Kong, I can't agree more with Michael that people from China and the US, and all other countries in the world, should try to get to know each other. But it is something much easier to say than to do. One of the key obstacles that I have observed in the ongoing drama, which is also what I try to convey in my blog entry, is that many of us have been heavily influenced by the deep-rooted perceptions, prejudice and stereotypes that we firmly and unconsciously believe as truth. When we come across disagreement with the others, many of us don't even pause and give a second thought like, "Wait, why do they think of me that way? Why do I think of them this way? Is there anything wrong on my side or theirs, or both?"

    For example, why would people believe the Chinese police were suppressing peaceful and unarmed protesters in Tibet when they see pictures of the police arresting people? Why couldn't there be a few violent protesters who might have smashed the windows of a shop or beaten up someone on the street that might prompt the Chinese police to take such actions? At the same time, why do many fellow Chinese think those supporting Tibet (for what? Independence of Tibet or just the call for more respect for indigenous Tibetan culture and religion? The message is unclear or even distorted as seen in media reports) are anti-China? Why can't they try to learn more about what the Tibet supporters are asking for and under what context they do so? Is there any misunderstanding or misperception that should be addressed in a calm and sensible manner?

    My point is very simple: To me, both sides are jumping to conclusions from time to time without realising the "blind spot" in their thinking. Unfortunately, their current mindset and the consequent confrontation will drag on to nowhere. The recent misreporting in some of the Western media, for example, is just an example of the deep-rooted misperception of China that has started a vicious cycle of misunderstanding leading to misrepresentation, which then reinforces the misunderstanding. Pretty much the same just happens in China, or anywhere else.

    However, on a personal level, there are still a large group of fairly educated people in China and the US who do understand each other quite well and respect each other's differences on friendly terms. It is a pity that the views of these sensible ladies and gentlemen have yet to be sufficiently represented in the public discourse through media and other public communication channels. It is even more frustrating to see how their opinions are often played down or even ignored and how the most sensational and perhaps senseless rhetoric is being exaggerated and manipulated.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong for people to voice their opposition on any issue, although some may disagree on how far one's comment should go. But it is also understandable how the Chinese feel hurt or offended as they are gearing up for their first hosting of the Olympic Games - what many of us see as an unprecedented honour and recognition of our existence and it should be celebrated by all means. For many fellow Chinese men and women who are still learning to respect protests as a form of expression, I can see why they feel losing face as their happiness and aspirations are drowned in cries and hoots of disapproval and harsh criticisms. Many of them think they are being misunderstood, not due to ignorance but hostility, especially on issues such as the unrest in Tibet last March. Many people in China truly believe there was a need for the police to take action and to restore law and order, which is something any responsible government around the world would have done should it face the same circumstances. For this reason, allegations that China was "suppressing peaceful demonstrations" were dismissed as untruthful, and more importantly, a sheer intervention in the internal affairs of China. They don't think it has anything to do with human rights but this is exactly how many people outside China think.

    Now what worries me most is the so-called nationalist zeal among many Chinese people that has been flaring up. The mixed messages and gestures from international circles, such as the recent reconciling visit to Shanghai by the French president's delegation and Dalai Lama's honorary citizenship bestowed by the Paris city council, will only push the angry people onto the wrong track. I do hope people can stop for a moment and think things through before making any further moves that will only push things to the negative.

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  15. Anonymous10:55 am

    >But it is also understandable how the Chinese feel hurt or offended as they are gearing up for their first hosting of the Olympic Games

    What's that? I thought the games were awarded to a city, not a country.

    As for politicizing the games, why are there so many Chinese flags being waved at the torch relay, and the national anthem being sung.

    And the president accepting the flame etc.

    Someone here said people should get to know each other.

    Well, can anyone in China read about everything happening overseas and make up their own minds?

    Can they read about their own country?

    Does the media in China talk about both sides of the Tibet issue?

    There are both sides remember. The government says it is right, but what about all those who feel the government is wrong.

    They are not allowed to be heard.

    And this talk of "the Chinese felling hurt", are they children?

    Do you hear other countries talking like this?

    "The people of Belgium say they are hurt because of criticism by the Netherlands."

    "The Belgium Prime Minister said all Belgians want to see the issue solved"

    No, I don't think so.

    People in China are ignorant.
    Ignorant because they don't have the opportunity to read and hear other opinions, good and bad, and then make up their own mind.

    Watch CNN, listen to the BBC, then decide who is biased or not, wrong or right.

    I do that every day.

    My government lets me hear opposite views.

    I am allowed to voice my opinion.

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  16. I have no intention to engage in an argument, but obviously there is some sort of deep-rooted ignorance and prejudice here. Why can't people in China say they feel hurt when they do, even nobody else on earth do so? Are the Chinese bound to do only whatever others do, but no expressing what they feel? It may sound ridiculous to some, but the "hurt" statement is just the Chinese way of saying "I don't think I'm respected".

    Even the hosting of Olympic Games is granted to a city rather than a country, why can't people of the same country enjoy as much as the hosting citizens do? Just because the Chinese have gone through so much hardship and humiliation for more than a century that they all treasure Beijing's hosting as a recognition and respect from the international community. This is why I can't see waving the national flag as a form of celebration is an indication of the so-called politicisation, which does exist everywhere anyway. It is certainly not very smart for Beijing to oppose the so-called politicisation, but from a communications perspective, what else can they say? Allowing political issues to be muddled with Olympics is not an option either, and I don't believe any sensible government would allow this to happen.

    As I have mentioned, and many in and outside China would agree with me, many Chinese people are still trying to learn how to respect the voice of opposition. They are taking baby steps to catch up. Obviously people outside the country would feel impatient and wish they would do even better, but we can't make them change overnight. For various reasons, it may take longer than it should be, but this is something we have to put up with.

    Please also note that the traditional media (i.e., the press and state-owned television) are no longer the only means of receiving information in Mainland China. There is now the internet, and frequent personal exchanges through mobile technology. I should not say the Chinese people are all ignorant, but of course not as well informed as many of us enjoying the free flow of information.

    Does it mean the international media are not biased? I don't think so. Look at the appalling misreporting some of them had. Unconditional trust in the international media or a blank-out distrust of the Chinese state-owned media is in itself a regretful form of prejudice.

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  17. To Anonymous:

    Your idea of Chinese being ignorant itself is proof the U.S. media, too, is biased. Why is there no mention in the news of pro-Tibetan violence like this: peaceintibet.com/memory.html ? Both pro-Chinese and pro-Tibetans have caused violence in Tibet, yet why do they only talk about violence caused by pro-Chinese? And why are we led to believe that Chinese people are "brainwashed" into supporting their government and ignoring their government's flaws?

    I'm not Han-Chinese; my father is from the Okinawan ethnic group in Japan and my mother from the Li / Lai ethnic group in southern China. Yet even though I'm not a Han Chinese, I don't completely close my mind on one opinion and disallow myself to learn and be taught.

    Our (us being the Western world) media is also biased, not just theirs. Let me tell you, the media are just a group of people and are as prone to getting it wrong as anyone. They are as prone to selfishness and bias as anyone else. In fact, more so, as their job depends on coming up with a story that will get you to sit down and listen so they can deliver an audience to the advertisers. So basically, they are going to say whatever they think you want to hear. So before you base your opinions on anything the media says, do some deep research. There are many things censored in our media here too. For example, the way Americans are supporting Japanese Government's suppression of Okinawans and of those supporting Okinawan independence, "ethnic cleansing", and forced extinction of Okinawan culture (ie. the Okinawan language is only spoken by the elderly as it is forbidden by to speak the language). Moreover there are U.S. military bases in Okinawa and possibly nuclear testing bases, and according to a contract between the Japan and U.S. Governments, there are nearly no laws for the people involved with the military base in Okinawa, leading to atrocities committed by the military men such as rape of young Okinawan schoolgirls without being properly penalised.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-U.S. Government, but I just want to let your know, our Western societies also have biased a media.

    Just because Our media don't announce that they are censor things out, doesn't mean they don't censor things out. Almost all Chinese are aware that TV and Internet are censored; my mother, for example, is one of the pro-Chinese, pro-Communist Party supporters and even She is aware of the censoring. Internet censoring is extremely easy to get around, simply using a proxy can successfully get you around those bans (I have a friend in China who tried this) and text messaging and phone calls are completely uncensored.

    You, I'm afraid, have been ignorant one, making judgements from only the non pro-Chinese side. Oh, as for the thing about China claiming Taiwan ... your implication of the fact that Taiwan is an independent country is neither correct nor incorrect. Instead of seeing Taiwan and China as 2 countries that "hate" each other, you should see Taiwan and China as 1 country still in a civil war that hasn't ended yet.

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