An angry crowd of Uyghur locals confront Chinese security forces

on an Urumqi street. From July 5-7 last year, at least 197 people

were in killed in rioting that pit Xinjiang's ethnic Uyghurs against

Han Chinese.



Xinjingbao, People's Republic of China

Why Western Media Coverage Distorts China


Is China's media less biased than the West's? According to this article from the state-controlled Xinjingbao by foreign affairs analyst Song Luzheng, Western government and conglomerate control and media reliance on 'objective reporting' leads to lopsided outcomes in news coverage - and a misinterpretation of events.


By Song Luzheng [宋鲁郑]*


Translated By Mark Klingman


August 10, 2009


People's Republic of China - Xinjingbao - Original Article (Chinese)

At the White House in 2008, President George Bush meets one of Mainland China's most wanted: Uyghur activist Rebiya Kadeer.


CCTV NEWS, China: Rebiya Kadeer arrives for the Melbourne International Film Festival and the screening of the film of her life entitled, '10 Conditions of Love,' Aug. 8, 2009, 00:04:49RealVideo

The "7-5" incident in Urumqi, Xinjiang Province (July 5, 2009) reverberated throughout the world. The unrest again set off a “news war” between East and West. Technically speaking, China's performance was impeccable. First, the event was publicly reported, and on the following day domestic and foreign journalists were free to do unrestricted on-the-spot reporting. From a counter-terrorism point of view - considering the terrorist character of the event which consisted of bloody violence against civilians, East and West should have been allies. Therefore, China should have been given seen as being on the right side in this “news war.” Unexpectedly, however, the Western media offered nothing but objective reporting - no backing taking a stand and no condemnation of the violence. This disappointed the Chinese people and left a sense of foreboding.


As expected, the Western media began to shift on the second day, citing improvable eyewitness testimony and information from the “World Uighur Congress” exiled in Germany - which was quickly exposed by overseas Chinese as forged. So in the Western World, the image of Uyghur's as innocent victims and peaceful demonstrators began to emerge. On the third day, reports began to emerge that were heavily biased. The leading French newspaper Le Figaro used the headline, Bloody Suppression in Western China. At this point, what was a terrorist attack on a civilian population was distorted in the West into repression of peaceful demonstrators by the Chinese government. In this context, the terrorism-linked "World Uyghur Congress" and its chairman, Rebiya Kadeer, have been in the limelight. This is particularly true in the West, where Kadeer has become a media darling. The Melbourne International Film Festival not only ignored Chinese protests about screening her whitewash of a documentary, but it also invited Japan, the rest of Australia and other countries to watch it. The “opening up” of Chinese news was once rebuffed by harsh international reality.




First, for example, if a Han Chinese is approached for an interview by a Western journalist in Xinjiang, he might dare to say, "Will you dare to go and broadcast everything I say? I know you'll edit my comments to fit the meaning you want them to. I won't accept your interview!" After being deceived so many times, this ringing rejection is a result of the awakening of China's people. The West flaunts its “press freedom,” but this no way equates to being fair and objective. The Western media as it has developed is either in government hands, such as French channels 1 and 2, Agence France-Presse and Deutsche Presse-Agentur (which are subject to government regulation), and Reuters, which is secretly funded by the government [Britain]. Otherwise, Western media is in the hands of a media consortium. For example, the largest shareholder of Le Figaro is the military industrial group Dassault. The American media is controlled by six groups: Murdoch Group (Fox TV, New York Post, Times of London), General Electric (NBC, National Broadcasting Corp.), Time Warner (CNN, Voice of America), Disney (ABC, American Broadcasting Company), Comcast (largest cable TV company), and Clear Channel (with most of the more than 1,200 U.S. radio stations). As for the independence of the Associated Press, its news is by definition "subject to official sources." Taking into account the Western consortia, political parties and government relations, objectivity and fairness would be impossible.


During the 2004 U.S. presidential election, surprising media propaganda led most Americans to actually believe the absurd proposition that [George W.] Bush would create 3 million jobs and that [John] Kerry would raise taxes 300 times! In August 2009, Western human rights organizations released a report that stated Hamas rocket attacks against Israel constituted war crimes. Yet when Israel invaded Lebanon, causing heavy civilian casualties and using internationally-banned white phosphorus shells, where were the human rights reports? In fact, the Chinese people (especially the intellectuals) have reflected on this deeply. Why would they so easily believe the self-promotion of Western press “freedom” and “objectivity”? After all, the success of a cheater depends not only on his deception, but on the poor reasoning skills of the person being cheated.


Secondly, the need for counter-terrorism after 2001 resulted in the establishment of a new Western alliance with China. But a few years later, with terrorist forces in temporary retreat, China on the rise, and the U.S.-originated financial crisis sweeping the globe, the West felt threatened to its very marrow. This is why East-West relations began to take a turn for the worse in the second half of 2007. Therefore, the West naturally couldn't pass up the opportunity to attack or contain China: the Olympic Games, Taiwan independence, Tibetan unrest, and then Xinjiang in its turn. This is how it seems to the West: if things turn out well, at least we can enjoy diminishing China's interests and China trade; if things turn out badly, at least we have a leg to stand on in China's domestic affairs - slowing the momentum of its rise and keeping Western hegemony in world politics. Thus, in this context, rather than Western press freedom, distorted reporting is much more commonplace.

Once again we see in this Western news game that the West maintains an unchallenged right to be heard. I recall that after the September 11, 2001 incident, the United States quickly recognized Osama bin Laden (whom it had previously supported) as the culprit, and loudly proclaimed that the world had two choices: either the United States or terrorism. This included the Arab world, no doubt. However, when the same thing happened in China, and China identified the culprit of the terrorist incidents as Rebiya Kadeer, the actions of the West were quite different. It seems that the more China accused, the more red-faced the West became. In fact, some people think that China's response aided Kadeer, since it raised her group’s standing. But hasn't bin Laden's standing been raised by the U.S.? Why does the U.S. accuse Osama bin Laden? Just to keep him in hiding?  



Finally, the reason China has repeatedly fallen behind in the international media arena is that it has an important job acting as referee of Western injustice. In the balance of power between China and the West, China is naturally at a disadvantage. Actually, anyone who competes with Kadeer is at a disadvantage. This isn't because China lacks knowledge or skill, but that the West is such an unfair judge. Even though Chinese learn and use Western methods, it's to no avail.


But contrary to Western calculations, although they can unjustly help Kadeer have her moment of fame, it comes at the cost of their credibility among the Chinese people and lost influence with liberal groups at home and abroad. The Chinese people have united on the side of China's political elite. As the Chinese saying goes, “one must have either external enemies or internal strife.” Under the pressure of “external enemies” from the West, China has united and is recovering fast. With the reversal of fortunes of East and West, events like "7-5" will no longer be seen. As for the “opening up” of China's news media, it will move ahead based on national conditions. After all, the more open China becomes, the greater the price paid by the West for its injustices, and the more marginalized its role will become.


*Song Luzheng [宋鲁郑] is an analyst of current affairs and international politics



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