Posts tagged ‘China’

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sunday/Monday Links: Taiwan’s foreign Trade, Scotland’s Referendum, Ilham Tohti on trial, and Taiwan’s President losing it

-

Off into another week (a week actually starts on a Sunday)

Off into another week (a week actually starts on a Sunday)

1. Taiwan

William T. Wilson, a researcher with the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, and a regular advocate of “free trade”, warns that bilateral or multilateral international trade agreements tend to lock Taiwan out, and increase Taiwan’s economic dependence on China. Wilson recommends that America should launch formal discussions of a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) with Taiwan as soon as possible.

Obviously, Wilson has his eyes firmly set on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a project often described as an impeccable motor of future global economic growth, but also frequently criticised for levering out democratic principles, not least as TPP prescribes a right for foreign companies in member countries to sue national governments under international law (which would make domestic legislation count very little).

-

2. The usual Suspects

Chinese internet administration has shut nearly 1.8 million user accounts in what is called a pornography crackdown, reports Reuters.

-

3. Scottish Referendum

Foarp breathes a sigh of relief as the United Kingdom stays united, after days of unease.

The Financial Times had celebrated the referendum as a very civilized struggle (in English on September 12) or as a civilized struggle between unity and independence (in Chinese on September 16). The author was Mure Dickie. That was too much for Beijing – the referendum was, of course, deemed an internal UK matter by official China, but Dickie got a (semi-official – my take of it) reply from Zhi Zhenfeng (支振锋) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

Yes, it was surprising that the UK was willing to let eight percent of the population and about a third of the territory go peacefully, and the consultative, democratic and peaceful procedure deserved praise. In 19th-century America, a referendum had been replied to by war, and the Crimea referendum in March had been carried out under very different circumstances. All that made the British tolerance displayed in the referendum a precious thing.

However, that didn’t make the referendum a great example for the rest of the world. It did reflect particular Western values, which had brought Europe huge technological and economic progress (besides religious wars and separatist chaos), but even in Europe, the referendum was a contested approach, and even within the West, not every referendum and its results had been accepted peacefully. All too often, people in the West had been unable to foresee the long-term effects of their purportedly rational choices.

-

4. Ilham Tohti on Trial

Ilham Tohti, an Uighur economics professor, is reportedly on trial now, according to China Change, who published excerpts of an account written by Tsering Woeser, a Tibetan writer and a friend of Ilham Tohti. Tohti had been arrested in Beijing in January this year, and his whereabouts had been unknown afterwards.

-

5. Ma Ying-jeou’s 19th-Plenary-Session speech on September 14

And as this collection of links starts with Taiwan, let’s take a look at what Taiwan Explorer, usually not a terribly “political” blog, has to say about Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan’s president who has moved into the third year of his second term in office this year.

Ma is president on the KMT ticket, and his party, if his comments during the KMT’s 19th Plenary Session are anything to go by, is quite afraid of the oppositional DPP. But electoral behavior in Taiwan looks somewhat mysterious, at least to me as an outsider. Only four months after having voted Ma into office for a second term, the president’s support and satisfaction rates dropped to numbers between 15 to 22 per cent, and it seems they never really recovered since. Indeed, Ma appears to be completely unable to understand his country’s public.

Nanfang Shuo (aka Wang Hsing-ching / 王杏慶), predicted in summer 2011 that word-games were no solution for the problems that lying ahead if Ma would win a second term as president. Ma’s speech a week ago seems to suggest that he won’t abandon the word games during his remaining time in office – but by now, they appear to have become offensive.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Deutsche Welle director: Su Yutong “a single case”

German television broadcast a six-minute report on recent events at German foreign broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) on Wednesday last week.

Su Yutong, a blogger and freelancer who was removed from DW’s Chinese department on August 19, was in the German news on Wednesday – in a broadcast on one of Germany’s main two television channels, a media background magazine that starts about fourty minutes before midnight German local time. Asked by Channel 1 (ARD / Das Erste) reporters why Su had been fired, Deutsche Welle director Peter Limbourg said that

This was a single case when we had to had to disassociate with a freelancer who, unfortunately, became active against Deutsche Welle several times and who, to put it carefully, depicted staff and colleagues and managers at Deutsche Welle publicly in a, let’s put it cautiously, dishonarable*) way. That, I think, we can’t afford, just as no company worldwide can afford, and therefore, we drew the consequence in a single case.

Das war ein Einzelfall, wo wir uns von einer freien Mitarbeiterin trennen mussten, die leider mehrfach gegen die Deutsche Welle aktiv wurde und Mitarbeiter und Kollegen und Führungskräfte der Deutschen Welle öffentlich, sagen wir es mal vorsichtig, ehrverletzend dargestellt hat. Das können wir uns, glaube ich, wie kein anderes Unternehmen auf der Welt, eben auch nicht leisten, und insofern haben wir da im Einzelfall die Konsequenz gezogen.

Interestingly, Limbourg did not say that Su had revealed internal information – or ARD didn’t quote him with that during the six-minutes report.

Peter von Hein, former head of the Chinese department (after a return to this position in 2012, he has now once again been removed) had been critical of Deutsche Welle’s new China policy, too. Different from Su Yutong, however, he had voiced his reservations within the organisation, says the report.

Limbourg was asked critical questions about DW’s planned cooperation with China’s state television broadcaster CCTV, and it was also reported that Meinhard-Jörg Rudolph, referred to as a former “program observer” at DW, had to leave one month after Limbourg had taken office. Also asked his opinion, he warned that DW was becoming dependent on China.

There was no mention of the four editors sacked in 2010 and 2011, and no mention of the legal technicalities used to sack either them or Su Yutong.

That, apparently, would cut too closely to the arteries of industrial relations within German media.

____________

Note

*) There seem to be many translations on offer for the German word ehrverletzend, and neither may fit exactly judicially, in a foreign language. Literally, dishonerable seems to come closest.

____________

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Military Training in the Garden of Growing Imams

Main link: Xinjiang Islamic Institute conducts its First Military Training

China News Service (中国新闻社), China’s second-largest newsagency, published nine photos on Monday, of a military drill at Xinjiang Islamic Institute in Urumqi (Ürümqi), East Turkestan (aka Xinjiang).

Each of the nine photos comes with the same note which reads:

According to PLA Daily‘s microblog on September 15, Xinjiang Islamic Institute invited the political department of Xinjiang Military Region to carry out military training of 80 students who enrolled at the Institute this year. The military region [department] specifically chose eight military-political officers and soldiers of excellent quality [toughness] who speak both Uighur and Chinese. During the ten days of military training, the students learn basic military subjects, take part in defense lectures, and watch ethnic-unity propaganda movies.

据军报记者微博9月15日报道,新疆伊斯兰教经学院邀请新疆军区政治部为 该院今年招收的80名新学员进行军训。军区专门从某红军师抽选了8名维语、汉语兼通、军政素质过硬的官兵担任教官。为期10天的军训中,学员们学习基本军 事课目,参加国防知识讲座、观看民族团结宣传片。

Click the following links for the photos.

Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3

Picture 4

Picture 5

Picture 6

Picture 7

Picture 8

Picture 9

Beijing review, an English-language propaganda paper, referred to the Islamic Institute as a garden of young imams in a 2009 online article.

And in 2008, China Radio International‘s (CRI) German service quoted the Institute’s deputy director as follows:

“My home was very far from the Uighur school. Up to high school, I visited a school of the Han nationality. When I didn’t pass the entrance exam for university, I was very sad. My parents comforted me and said that university wasn’t the only way of further education. We are Muslims, they said. Therefore, you should be in the know about Islam. You should look into your religion and study Islam.”

“Mein Zuhause lag sehr weit von der uigurischen Schule entfernt. Ich besuchte bis zur Oberschule die Schule der Han-Nationalität. Als ich dann später die Aufnahmeprüfung für die Universität nicht bestanden hatte, war ich sehr traurig. Meine Eltern trösteten mich und erklärten mir, dass die Universität nicht die einzige mögliche weitere Ausbildung war. Wir sind Muslime, sagten sie. Daher sollst Du gut über den Islam Bescheid wissen. Du solltest dich also intensiver mit Deiner Religion auseinandersetzen und den Islam studieren.”

The PLA photo story is carried by a number of Chinese websites, including Xinhua newsagency online, CCTV, and, – no surprise – Huanqiu Shibao.

And nothing satisfies a true Chinese patriot, at least not according to the latest comment (from Shenzhen):

Our country puts too much emphasis on the culture of different nationalities and neglects unified cultural education, particularly the education in Chinese culture for national minorities. It seems that there are many races among Americans, but it is the same English language and the same writing form for everyone. Put Chinese ideological and cultural education first, and [put regional ethnic culture [second] as a supplement.

我国太重视各民族文化而忽视了统一文化的教育,尤其是对少数民族的中华文化教育。似乎美国人种族很多,但都是英语,一样的字体。大中华思想文化教育为先,地方民族文化为辅。

But the previous commenter, from Zhejiang Province, dislikes the military component of “education”:

These Muslim students should rather study Chinese language [hanyu] and Confucian thought. To teach military subjects among institute students who aren’t yet mature isn’t quite appropriate. Not even ten percent of Uighur students in Xinjiang speak Chinese, and among the Islamic students from southern Xinjiang, even fewer speak Chinese. The state must vigorously expand Chinese-language and Chinese cultural education among national minorities, to make them recognize that their identity and ideology is Chinese.

这些伊斯兰教的学生更应该学习汉语和中国儒家思想,军训这样带有军事化的东西在一些思想不成熟的宗教学生中开展不是十分妥当。新疆的维族学生中会说汉语的学生不倒百分之十,尤其这些伊斯兰教的学生主要来自南疆地区,会说汉语的为更是稀少。国家应当大力开展对少数民族学生的汉语和中华文化教育,让他们认同他们是中国人的身份和思想。

____________

Related

» Religion and Peace, People’s Daily, Sep 17, 2014
» Come sigh with us, Aug 17, 2014
» Kunming Attack, March 3, 2014
» Golden vase of unity, Dec 26, 2010

____________

Saturday, September 13, 2014

German Journalists Association Press Release: DW Kowtow to China?

The following is a press release by the German Journalist’s Association (Deutscher Journalisten Verband, DJV), published on Thursday, concerning Deutsche Welle. Links within blockquotes added during translation. First read at Tabooless Babbles. Main link: Kotau vor China?

The German Journalists’ Association has called on Deutsche Welle director Peter Limbourg to support voices critical of China within the German foreign broadcaster, and not to constrain them. Under the new editorial management, too, internal editorial freedom needed to be preserved, DJV federal chairman Michael Konken demanded. “Political issues, with criticism of human-rights violations obviously among them, need to maintain an adequate share in Deutsche Welle’s programs.” “Fabric-conditioned” [or diluted] China coverage with the aim to get access to a censored market was no reasonable option for the German foreign broadcaster. The DJV expects Limbourg to preserve Deutsche Welle’s brand essence as a broadcaster under public law, independent from the state, that reports critically and at arms length about authoritarian regimes of all kinds. Deutsche Welle’s cooperations with Chinese state broadcasters and putting an end to the employment of an author critical of China would do more harm than good to the German foreign broadcaster. “A kowtow to the powerful in Peking doesn’t suit the broadcaster as a voice of liberty”, the DJV chairman said. External Communications Committee: Hendrik Zörner Check with phone 030/72 62 79 20, Fax 030/726 27 92 13

-

Der Deutsche Journalisten-Verband hat den Intendanten der Deutschen Welle Peter Limbourg aufgefordert, China-kritische Stimmen im deutschen Auslandssender zu unterstützen und nicht zu behindern.

Auch unter der neuen Redaktionsleitung müsse die innere Redaktionsfreiheit gewahrt werden, forderte DJV-Bundesvorsitzender Michael Konken: „Politische Themen, zu denen selbstverständlich auch die Kritik an Menschenrechtsverletzungen gehört, müssen weiterhin einen angemessenen Anteil am Programmauftritt der Deutschen Welle haben.“ Eine „weichgespülte“ China-Berichterstattung mit dem Ziel, Zugang in einen zensierten Markt zu erhalten, könne für den deutschen Auslandsrundfunk keine vernünftige Option darstellen. Von Intendant Limbourg erwartet der DJV, dass er auch künftig den Markenkern der Deutschen Welle als einem  staatsunabhängigen, öffentlich-rechtlichen Sender bewahrt, der kritisch-distanziert über autoritäre Regime jeglicher Art berichtet. Die von Limbourg angekündigten Kooperationen mit chinesischen Staatssendern und die Beendigung der Tätigkeit einer China-kritischen Autorin durch die Deutsche Welle würden dem deutschen Auslandssender mehr schaden als nützen. „Ein Kotau vor den Mächtigen in Peking vertrüge sich nicht mit dem Ansehen des Senders als Stimme der Freiheit“, sagte der DJV-Vorsitzende. Referat Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit: Hendrik Zörner Bei Rückfragen: Tel. 030/72 62 79 20, Fax 030/726 27 92 13

____________

Updates/Related

» Peaceful, constructive journalism, Inquirer (Philippines), Sep 9, 2014
» Protest der Mitarbeiter, ver.di, Sep 5, 2014
____________

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Deutsche Welle Task Plan: “Germany must not fall behind”

According to a press release on Wednesday, Deutsche Welle (DW) director Peter Limbourg handed the broadcasting station’s task plan to Norbert Lammert, president of German federal parliament or Bundestag, on Tuesday. The plan (Aufgabenplanung 2014 – 2017) is both a to-do-list and project description, and a request to parliament to fund the projects it contains. On the DW photo, Limbourg manages to look like Lammert’s rich and benevolent uncle with lots to offer.  The photo was shot by Jan Röhl, a freelance photographer in Berlin, who has made photos for DW every now and then and whose website says that every theme should be photographed in a way that makes the beholder wish to experience the displayed situation or to buy the product (das jeweilige Motiv sollte so fotografiert werden, dass der Betrachter den Wunsch verspürt, die dargestellte Situation zu erleben, das Produkt zu erwerben).

“We want to face up to international competition better. To do that, DW has initiated an ambitious course of reorientation”, the director said during the presentation of DW’s strategy for the coming four years. “The interest among global decision makers and opinion formers in our country continues growing. Especially during international crisis and conflicts, the German positions are sought for. Germany’s medial voice in the world communicates it – multi-medial and in thirty languages.”

„Wir wollen uns dem internationalen Wettbewerb besser stellen. Dazu hat die DW einen ambitionierten Kurs der Neuausrichtung eingeleitet“, sagte der Intendant bei der Überreichung der DW-Strategie für die kommenden vier Jahre. „Das Interesse der globalen Entscheider und Meinungsbildner an unserem Land wächst weiter. Gerade in internationalen Krisen und Konflikten sind die deutschen Positionen gefragt. Deutschlands mediale Stimme in der Welt vermittelt sie – multimedial und in 30 Sprachen.“

To the Bundestag president, Limbourg pointed out the enormous efforts made by other states as they strengthened  their global soft power. Russia, for example was advancing the launch of its foreign television program Russia Today’s German program. China, too, was strengthening its medial foreign representation. With this task plan, “we want to convince German politics that Germany must not fall behind in this field”, the director said.

Gegenüber dem Bundestagspräsidenten wies Limbourg auf die enormen Anstrengungen hin, die andere Staaten zur Stärkung ihrer Soft-power in der Welt unternehmen. So treibe Russland den Start eines deutschsprachigen Programms seines Auslandsfernsehens Russia Today voran. Auch China baue seine mediale Außenrepräsentanz aus. Mit der jetzt vorgelegten Aufgabenplanung „wollen wir die deutsche Politik überzeugen, dass Deutschland hier nicht ins Hintertreffen geraten darf“, so der Intendant.

Bundestag President Lammert said: “During these times of current crises, Deutsche Welle fulfills the growingly important task to inform impartially and to explain things. The German program of Deutsche Welle should continue to play an important role.

Bundestagspräsident Norbert Lammert sagte: „Gerade in diesen Zeiten aktueller Krisen erfüllt die Deutsche Welle die immer wichtiger werdende Aufgabe, objektiv zu informieren und aufzuklären. Dabei sollte das deutsche Programm der Deutschen Welle weiterhin eine wichtige Rolle spielen.“

The German program should continue to play an important role. Hear, hear.

Either way, the press release points out that English is meant to become the “flagship” (of DW content, apparently). The focus on English isn’t new, nor is the stated requirement that all content would be planned consistently multi-medially, and interlocked with each other. Interaction with global decisionmakers (“globale Entscheider”) and participants in the formation of political opinion (“Teilnehmer an der politischen Meinungsbildung”), not least by means of “social media” is also emphasized.

Parliament President Lammert should be careful what he wishes for. If German programs should indeed continue to play an important role at DW, chances are that the German language will be savaged by dead sheep. The Germish used in the press release sounds like a washing powder commercial – only less succinct.

Persil washes whiter.

____________

Related

If Congress will pay, July 5, 2012
Trying to Pigeonhole, Feb 19, 2012
Opinion Leaders, May 20, 2011

____________

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Deutsche Welle enters “Dialog” with Chinese Media, Yu Jie boycotts Broadcaster

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) reports the dismissal of Deutsche Welle Chinese department editor Su Yutong in a Press Freedom in China Campaign Bulletin for the month of September (see item no. 7 there). Su denies that DW managers had issued a warning or claimed that she had violated any internal rules.

Also according to IFJ, DW’s Director General Peter Limbourg visited Wang Gengnian, Director of China Central Television International Channel, on August 28 [or August 27, local time]. Wang Gengnian is, in fact, director of China Radio International (CRI), rather than of CCTV.

A broad majority within Deutsche Welle broadcasting commission (Rundfunkrat) supports director Limbourg’s reform process, DW spokesman Johannes Hoffmann wrote in a press release in German, on Monday. Limbourg had reported to the commission on Friday, concerning initial measures to implement DW’s Aufgabenplanung (task plan). Aufgabenplanung is described by this commenter (January 2012) as the paper that requests DW’s budget from German federal parliament. The commission had, in particular, welcomed Limbourg’s talks with Chinese broadcasters about possible cooperation, acording to the press release. The primary objective of the meetings had been to get to know each other better. There was only little common ground (kleine Schnittmengen) with Chinese media, but what was there ought to be used to enter a dialog, the press release quotes Limbourg.

Even earlier, on Friday, Hoffmann had published a press release in English, with details about Limbourg’s Chinese interlocutors:

From August 27 to 29, 2014, Limbourg met in the Chinese capital with, among others, the vice president of the state-run China Central Television (CCTV) as well as the presidents of the state educational broadcaster, China Education Television (CETV) and CCTV’s nationwide digital platform (CDP). Talks with the director general of China Radio International were also on the agenda.

Limbourg said the goal was “to present the journalistic offerings of Germany’s international broadcaster and to examine possibilities for an extended cooperation.” He said the discussions took place in “a good atmosphere and were very constructive.”

According to the Friday release,

A contract was signed with the cultural broadcaster SHTV, for the sale of more than 100 hours of DW Transtel programs. The cooperation will be expanded through a Chinese edition of DW’s weekly cultural magazine Arts.21. CDP will continue to broadcast the Chinese adaptation of DW’s lifestyle magazine Euromaxx for another three years. The program is available in 140 million Chinese households, via the Chinese World Geographic Channel, and is also accessible as video-on-demand at http://www.tv.cn.

On Thursday, Limbourg had spoken at the 5th Sino-German Media Forum of the Robert Bosch Foundation. The Robert Bosch Stiftung is frequently among the sponsors of harmonious east-western meetings.

Limbourg’s salesman-like approach isn’t welcomed everywhere in the German press (as far as the press pays attention at all). Michael Hanfeld of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) wrote in an article published online on Saturday that Limbourg’s cooperations raise lots of questions. And as far as Frank Sieren‘s DW column of June 4 is concerned – the trigger for the Su Yutong incident [si je puis m'exprimer ainsi - JR] -, Hanfeld’s criticism comes across as somewhat resigned:

When reading Sieren’s articles more closely, an attitude becomes apparent that may suit a so-called business paper, but one that Germany’s foreign broadcaster cannot afford: the principle of let bygones be bygones, and keep focused on business.

Liest man Frank Sierens Beiträge genauer, offenbart sich eine Haltung, die vielleicht zu einer sogenannten Wirtschaftszeitung passt, die sich der deutsche Auslandsrundfunk aber nicht leisten darf: das Prinzip Schwamm drüber und immer schön an die Wirtschaftsbeziehungen denken.

While DW didn’t employ a permanent monitor to evaluate the Chinese department’s work anymore – Limbourg reportedly ended the practice several months ago -, occasional evaluations by an external expert were still an option, Hanfeld quotes DW. Hanfeld’s suggestion: try Chang Ping, who countered Sieren’s June-4 column with columns of his own, also published by DW. Or Su Yutong, who had asked Limbourg in an open letter to meet with Gao Yu too, while in China.

It probably won’t happen. In an apparently somewhat miffed DW statement requested by Hanfeld or FAZ, concerning Su’s open letter, no proposals from Su Yutong are needed to make sure that the DW director would advocate freedom of the press, freedom of information or freedom of opinion.

Yu Jie (余杰) on the other hand, who published China’s Best Actor in 2010,  a book about former Chinese chief state councillor Wen Jiabao which had been broadcast by DW Chinese as an audio series, doesn’t think he needs DW anymore. In the September issue of Open Magazine (开放杂志, Hong Kong), Yu wrote that

As a dissident against CCP tyranny, I’m proud of my identity. I hereby declare that from now on, I will boycott Deutsche Welle. I won’t have interviews with them anymore, won’t listen to their programs anymore, won’t browse their website anymore – unless Deutsche Welle returns to the correct path [and no longer takes the ways of the Fifty-Cent-Party?], and restores Su Yutong to her job.

作为一名反抗中共暴政的异议人士,我为自己的这一身份而感到光荣。我也在此宣佈,从现在开始抵制德国之声,不再接受德国之声的访问,不再收听德国之声的广播节目,不再流览德国之声的网站——除非德国之声回归正道,不再是洋五毛当政,并恢复苏雨桐的职位。

In February – and therefore long before the Su Yutong incident -, Alina Fichter, an editor with German weekly Die Zeit , suggested in an article about Deutsche Welle TV that Limbourg’s ambitions to make DW “competitive”, and a provider of programs for “urban decisionmakers”, was not in line with the task of a publicly-owned broadcaster.

What makes these institutions [DW, but also the BBC] special is that they don’t need to earn money in the advertising markets, but rather need to convince us – those who pay for their funding – that they are legitimate [in what they are doing]. Legitimacy doesn’t stem from their viewing rate, but from the quality of their content.Das Besondere an diesen Anstalten ist, dass sie kein Geld auf den Werbemärkten verdienen müssen, aber dafür die Zahlenden – also uns – von ihrer Legitimität überzeugen sollten. Diese erwächst nicht aus der Höhe ihrer Quoten, sondern aus der Qualität ihrer Inhalte.

That a “broad majority” among the broadcasting commission supports the director seems to indicate that not every commission member does. But apparently, public debates about the course of the public broadcaster are deemed undesirable.

____________

Related

» Pendulum swings back, Aug 27, 2014
» Ask your Ancestors, SCMP, June 16, 2014
» Trivial matter, Jan 23, 2012
» Yu Jie’s sudden flight, Jan 13, 2012
» Negotiations with Politics, Dec 26, 2011
» Be more Xinhua, Oct 10, 2009
____________

Updates

» Media boast distinctive advantage, CNS, Sept 5, 2014

____________

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Deutsche Welle: Invincible in the Labor Courts, vulnerable in Propaganda Wars

In an interview with dissident website Boxun (rendered here by Beijing Spring), Su Yutong (苏雨桐) spoke about her dismissal by German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW):

Personally, I think this isn’t necessarily a good thing to happen, because but this incident may provide a glimpse on many things, it may lead to further debate, such as to which degree have Western media been infiltrated? Is the personal freedom of speech of people at the media protected or not? When you look at it from this perspective, [my dismissal] is an absolutely positive thing to happen. This is the opposite case of the one we had after the Zhang Danhong incident. We can also, from one side, verify the reach of the hands of the Chinese Communist Party to every corner of the world. How Western democratic societies can resist the Chinese autocratic pattern, which comes with money, needs to be reflected upon.

对于“被离职”,苏雨桐向博讯记者表示:“我觉得于我个人来说,未必是一件令人高兴的事情,但这个事件可以窥见很多东西,也可能会引起接下来的讨 论,西方媒体被渗透的程度?媒体人的私人言论自由受不受保护?从这个意见上来说,完全是一件积极的事情。这是自张丹红事件后,与之相反的一个案例,也可以 从一个侧面印证中共的手伸到世界各个角落。更大的思考在于,西方民主社会如何抵抗带着金钱袭来的中国独裁模式。”

Boxun asked about “similarities and differences” between how Su and Zhang Danhong (张丹红), in 2008, had been treated by DW.

Su Yutong said that this was absolutely not comparable. “I was dismissed, and Zhang Danhong was not. She was moved to another department. That’s one difference. The other is that Zhang Danhong spoke in favor of an autocracy. This touched upon a bottomline of values. But DW still wouldn’t dismiss her, and only found that her position and her values weren’t suitable for her work as deputy chief editor at DW Chinese department. So she was transferred to another department. But I was dismissed, based on a technicality (the so-called leaking of DW internal information), for opposing a columnist who defended an autocracy.

苏雨桐表示,这根本没有可比性。“我是被离职,而张丹红从未被离职,是调职,这是第一。第二,张丹红为专制辩护,触到提价值底线,但德国之声并没 有辞退她,而是认为她的立场和价值观不适合做中文部副主任,调职。而我是因为反对为专制辩护的专栏作者,被以技术性原因(所谓的泄露德国之声内部消息)为 由被离职。”

There aren’t only differences at Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department. According to a DW editor who spoke with German daily Junge Welt in May this year, on condition of anonymity, said that they were compelled to refer to the Crimea referendum in March as the “illegal” or “so-called” referendum.  And more in general, editorials about Russian president Vladimir Putin were only written by editors deemed “suitable” for the topic. What if the anonymous editor would not write in conformity with the prescribed terminology? Answer:

I hope I will never know what happens in such a case. Many try to circumvent the requirements by using less problematic synonyms. It is, after all, fertile soil for censorship when you need to support a family with two children, working on a fixed-term contract. Eventually, you’ll find yourself censoring yourself – because you want to keep your job, you write in a way that won’t cause offense. There are many good journalists at DW, but I haven’t seen great rebels there yet.

Ich hoffe, daß ich nie erfahren werde, was in einem solchen Fall passiert. Viele versuchen die Vorgaben zu umgehen, indem sie z.B. weniger problematische Synonyme benutzen. Es ist halt ein fruchtbarer Boden für die Zensur, wenn man als Journalist eine Familie mit zwei Kindern ernähren muß und auf Basis von Zeitverträgen arbeitet. Irgendwann ertappt man sich bei der Selbstzensur – weil man seinen Job behalten will, schreibt man so, daß es keinen Anstoß erregt. Gute Journalisten gibt es bei der DW massenweise – große Rebellen sind mir bisher aber nicht aufgefallen.

The problem here is that getting rid of quasi-employees is easy for Deutsche Welle. Strictly speaking, based on labor-law terms, Su Yutong wasn’t even dismissed. Su’s contract “expires” next year, and won’t get “renewed”. The same was the case with Wang Fengbo (王凤波) and some of his colleagues at DW whose contracts expired in 2010 or 2011. But for whatever reason, Boxun apparently didn’t ask Su Yutong questions about similarities with these former colleagues’ cases.

Deutsche Welle appears to have become nearly invincible in the labor courts. But on the other hand, the management’s apparent influence on content has also made the organization an ideal battleground for propaganda wars – when there is a lack of professional principle, everything becomes possible. Beijing and the dissidents have apparently seized these opportunities first. But other players will keep succeeding – until Deutsche Welle becomes a believable source for news again, or until German parliament lays the station to rest forever.

____________

Related posts under the Deutsche Welle tag.

____________

Friday, September 5, 2014

Heaven or Hell: the Story of Su Yutong’s Dismissal as told by VoA

The following is a translation from a Voice of America (VoA) article published on August 21 and apparently updated early today. Some English terms used in this translation may not match the labor-law meaning accurately.

Corrections are welcome.

Links and footnotes within blockquotes added during translation.

Washington – The sudden dismissal of Deutsche Welle Chinese department reporter Su Yutong (pen name Wu Yu) on August 19 is attracting much attention. According to reports, the prolific journalist was dismissed is related to criticism of a column that whitewashed the 6-4 massacre [i. e. the Tian-An-Men massacre]. There are also reports believing that changes in Deutsche Welle’s guidelines on covering China le d to the dismissal of Su Yutong who was originally a dissident. Deutsche Welle denied such questions posed by reports and on social media.

华盛顿—德国之声电台中文部女记者苏雨桐(笔名吴雨)8月19日突然遭解雇的事件引起多方关注。有报道称,该多产记者遭辞退与德国之声一篇被批评粉饰六四屠杀的专栏文章有关。也有报道认为,德国之声的中国报道政策的变化是导致原为异议人士的苏雨桐离职的原因。德国之声否认有关报道和社交媒体上出现的质疑
Su Yutong’s sudden dismissal had first been disclosed on Twitter by internet commentator Bei Feng (actual name Wen Yunchao) on 19th of August.
苏雨桐被突然解雇的消息是现在美国的网络评论人士北风(本名温云超)8月19日首先在社交网站推特上披露的。。

One day before, Wu’er Kaixi, a former leader oft he Beijing student movement [of 1989] came to Deutsche Welle headquarters in Bonn to protest against the article published on June 4 which was seen as beautifying the CCP’s opening fire to suppress the citizens and students of Beijing. This article, titled “From Tian An Men to Leipzig”, diluted the 6-4 incident to “a momentary mistake in the history of New China”1).

此前一天,来自台湾的前北京学运领袖吾尔开希到位于波恩的德国之声总部,抗议该媒体今年六四期间发表的一篇被认为美化中共开枪镇压北京市民和学生的文章。这篇题为“从天安门到莱比锡”的文章把六四事件淡化为“新中国历史上一时的失足。”

This article, written by Deutsche Welle commenator Frank Sieren in Beijing, led to strong rebounds from the organization “Tian An Men Mothers“ and from 89 participants in [the 1989] movement.

这篇文章由德国之声新雇用的驻北京特约评论员泽林(Frank Sieren) 撰写,引起了六四难属团体“天安门母亲”和众多89民运参与者的强烈反弹。

Frank Sieren, who says that he has lived in Beijing for twenty years, allegedly owns a media company. Some critics who started joint protests demand that Deutsche Welle drop Sieren’s controversial article. Su Yutong and another contributing Deutsche Welle commentator, former “Southern Weekend” news department director Chang Ping, took part in the joint protests. Chang Ping also published articles on Deutsche Welle’s website, in a debate with Sieren.

自称在北京居住了20年的泽林被指在中国拥有一家媒体公司。一些批评者曾发起联署抗议行动,要求德国之声撤下泽林这篇有争议文章。苏雨桐和德国之声另一位特约评论员、原《南方周末》新闻部主任长平参与了联署抗议。长平曾在德国之声网站刊文,与泽林展开争论。

Deutsche Welle spokesman Johannes Hoffmann issued a statement2) confirming that the freelance working contract with Su Yutong had been terminated, because of inappropriate behavior.

德国之声发言人霍夫曼(Johannes Hoffmann)21日发表声明确认,已经终止它与中国自由撰稿人苏雨桐的工作关系,原因是员工的不当行为。

[Hoffmann‘s] statement said Deutsche Welle objects to talk on social media about political motivations for the termination of Su Yutong’s contract, or about the termination being related to limits to freedom of expression at Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department . The statement emphasized that diversity of opinion was respected, and that the immediate measure [of dismissing Su Yutong] had been made because of breach of trust between Deutsche Welle and Su Yutong.

声明表示,德国之声反对社交媒体上关于苏雨桐被终止工作关系有政治动机或者是由于德国之声中文部的表达自由受到限制等说法。德国之声的这份声明强调尊重意见多元化,并称决定采取解雇立即生效的步骤是由于德国之声与苏雨桐之间的信任遭到破坏。

The statement accuses Su of not heeding repeated admonishments and kept tweeting internal and confidential information about Deutsche Welle and the organization’s editorial staff, thus opposing staff hired by the organization and the organization’s management in her actions.

声明指责苏雨桐不听德国之声当局的一再劝告,在推特上散布有关德国之声及其编辑人员的内部信息和机密,从而在行动上对抗雇用单位及其管理层和工作人员。

The statement said that terminating Su Yutong’s employment is the result of inappropriate behavior, not a restriction on freedom of expression. The statement said that no employer would accept her behavior.

声明表示,决定结束与苏雨桐的雇佣关系是个人不当行为的结果,而非限制表达自由。声明称,没有雇主会接受她的这种行为。

Su Yutong told VoA in an interview Deutsche Welle executives had emphasized that the station could not become “Voice of the Dissidents”, but that she had only published, on her own behalf, published information concerning the debate about Sieren’s article and its publication.

苏雨桐在接受美国之音采访时指出,德国之声高层在曾强调该电台不能成为“异议之声”,而她只是以个人名义在推特上参与有关泽林文章的争论和发布有关消息。

Su Yutong says that she can calmly accept [the allegation] that she acted against internal Deutsche Welle regulations, but continued to believe that the debate about Sieren’s article had been a public matter and that it was necessary for the truth of the matter to be handled publicly, rather than to be processed in a dark room.

苏雨桐表示,说她违反了德国之声的内部规定,她可以平静地接受,但她仍然认为,有关泽林文章的争论是个公共事件,公开相关事实真相是有必要的,不应该在内部暗箱操作。

“When it comes to this kind of internal meeting at Deutsche Welle, I can accept that from that perspective. But from where to judge this incident with Sieren’s article, that being processed as an internal Deutsche Welle issue, is something that needs to be taken to the public. I stand by this opinion. I believe that this is a public matter. “

她说:“这样德国之声的一个内部会议。那我从这个角度来说,我是接受的。但是从如何判断泽林这个事件是德国之声内部暗箱操作呢,还是拿到公共平台上,我还是坚持我的看法,我认为,它是个公共事件。”

Su Yutong told VoA that when Deutsche Welle executives and the Deutsche Welle Asia department director informed her about her dismissal without knowledge of the circumstances, they also mentioned another reason, saying that it was related to new Deutsche Welle director Peter Limbourg’s demand that the Chinese department “should not criticize Beijing all the time “. Limbourg is going to take part in a Sino-German media forum organized by official Chinese media in early September.

苏雨桐对美国之音表示,德国之声高层在她和亚洲部主任毫不知情的情况下突然对她宣布辞退决定的时候还提到另一个理由,这和德国之声新台长林伯格(Peter Limbourg)提出的中文部“不要总是批评北京”的要求有关。林伯格将于9月初到北京参加中国官媒主办的中德媒体论坛。

Su Yutong says: “She (the program director) said that Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department needed a new direction. I believe that you don’t fit into this new direction. This is the reason she gave me for my dismissal. So I asked her, very curiously. I said that I have worked for Deutsche Welle for four years, and all my reports, no matter what, were always rated best by our evaluation system. I said that I had always acted in accordance with Deutsche Welle’s rules of journalistic professionalism when reporting. Now you are saying that I don’t meet these standards, but I that what I have embodied in the reports is just this professional quality. As for values, I think that in my reporting, some can be seen. My position has also been constant. If you say that my your direction and mine are not the same, doesn’t that amount to a direction oppsite to mine? She also refused to answer this question.”

苏雨桐说:“她(节目总监)说德国之声中文部要有一个新的方向,这个新的方向我认为你不符合。这是她给我的被辞的理由。那我就也是很好奇的问了她。我说,我在德国之声工作了四年,我所有的报道无论从我们的评估体系来说,我一直是第一。我说,我一直在秉承德国之声记者的这样一个职业操守、规则,在作这样的报道。那现在你说我不符合这个规范,我想我在报道当中体现的就是这个记者的专业素质。至于价值观,我想,通过我的报道,也可以看出一些。我的立场也是恒定的。如果你们说方向和我的不同,那是不是意味着和我相反的方向?她也是拒绝回答这个问题。”

In an email reply to VoA on August 21, Deutsche Welle’s international relations department attached the statement by the spokesman quoted above, but there was no reply to the questions as to how Su Yutong’s coninuous performance at Deutsche Welle was assessed.

德国之声国际关系部21日给美国之音记者电邮的回复中附上了该媒体发言人的上述声明,但是没有回答如何评价苏雨桐在德国之声的一贯工作表现等问题。

In recent days, the grudges and disputes between Deutsche Welle and Su Yutong have been reported by Germany’s “Spiegel Online” and other German media, as well as detailed coverage by some overseas media in Chinese. Huanqiu Shibao, a paper under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party, also published a commentary about the storm around Su Yutong’s dismissal. This incident brought the 2008 incident back into focus when then deputy Chinese department director Zhang Danhong had been criticized for beautifying Beijing’s policies, which had resulted in her removal.

几天来,德国之声和苏雨桐之间的恩怨纠纷得到了德国明镜在线等多家德国媒体和一些海外中文媒体的详细报道。中共党报人民日报旗下的环球时报也刊登评论员文章,谈苏雨桐被辞退风波。这一事件致使德国之声在2008年该电台中文部副主任张丹红因其报道被指过于美化北京政策遭撤职之后又一次成为新闻焦点。

Su Yutong revealed that in July, the former Chinese department director, who had always supported her work, was transferred to another department, and that a new director had been parachuted into the Chinese department from Berlin.

苏雨桐披露,7月间,充分支持她工作的原中文部主任被调到该电台其他部门,柏林方面给德国之声中文部空降了一位新主任。

The dismissed reporter said that she had been paid on a daily basis [unsure about my translation of the payment description here - JR], that the contract ends with the end of the year, and that she will then face the issue that she cannot continue to live in Germany legally. She also said that she was asked to close the office computer on the spot, to hand over the swipe card and to leave immediately. She didn’t get the respect former employees should get, and there hadn’t even been time to say Goodbye to some colleagues. She pledged to take up with Deutsche Welle by legal means.

这位被解雇的女记者还表示,她本是德国之声按日计酬的合同制雇员,本期合同年底到期,届时将面临无法继续在德国合法居留的问题。她还表示,自己被要求当场关闭办公电脑,交出门卡,“立即走人”,没有获得离职员工应有的尊重,连跟一些同事道别的时间都没有。她誓言将以法律途径跟德国之声交涉。

Su Yutong left China in the late 1980s. She had been in charge of an NGO in Beijing, active in human-rights activities, and therefore harrassed and pursued by state security. In 2010, after arriving in Bonn, she was hired by those in charge at Deutsche Welle at the time.

80后的苏雨桐离开中国前是北京一个非政府组织的负责人,积极从事维权活动,因而遭到国保骚扰和追捕。2010年,她到达波恩后获得当时的德国之声电台负责人聘用。

A comment in the article’s comenting section warns VoA’s Chinese department:

The CCP-leaning, pro-Zhang-Danhong forces are launching a counteroffensive! VoA’s Chinese department should take some lessons from this, and must not allow pro-CCP forces to spread successfully there! I remind the Chinese department at VoA that it should have a plan ready to check up the moles and to take preventive measures!

《德国之声》内部亲共的张丹红势力开始反扑了!美国之音应当从中借鉴一些教训吧,绝不能让亲中共势力在美国之音中文部得逞蔓延!提醒《美国之音中文部》应有计划地清理“内鬼”,防患于未然!

There are more comments of the same tenor, but also comments angry at “anti-China” forces:

Come and work for VoA. In any case, these are the anti-China headquarters, the paradise for anti-China people.

可以来VOA上班的嘛,反正这里是反华的大本营,这里是反华人士的天堂

That said, paradise today might be hell tomorrow.

____________

Footnotes

1) the German version of Sieren’s article refers to “a one-off in new Chinese history – “ein Ausrutscher in der neuen chinesischen Geschichte “. “New China” isn’t mentioned.
2) The Deutsche Welle statement in full, of August 21.

____________

Related

» Those Southern newspaper commentators, Jan 28, 2013

____________

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40 other followers