When business is going fine, CCP cadres are partners. When it’s going less well, they are mongrels [who] shoot their own people.
When this snow-covered highland which underwent so many changes is so frequently misrepresented or misunderstood, be it intentionally or unintentionally, more people should be helped to understand the real Tibet,
People’s Daily suggested on Friday.
Having brought together nearly one-hundred guests from thirty countries and territories, the “2014 China Tibet Development Forum” reached a “Lhasa Consensus” that is rich in content and fruitful in its results. Admiring New Tibet’s economic and social development, the improvements in its people’s livelihood, cultural protection, ecological construction and other great achievements, the foreign guests, walking a bit of the snow-covered highland’s irreversible modern cultural development themselves, were all praise.
汇聚世界30多个国家和地区近百位嘉宾的 “2014·中国西藏发展论坛”，达成了内容丰富、成果丰硕的“拉萨共识”。赞赏新西藏在经济社会发展、民生改善、文化保护、生态建设等方面所取得的巨大 成就，赞叹雪域高原走上一条不可逆转的现代文明发展进步之路，是与会中外嘉宾的共同心声。
Myths about the old slave society and alarmist stories harbored and produced by some people meant that besides accelerating Tibet’s scientific development further, opening Tibet up to let more people know “the real Tibet” was necessary, People’s Daily wrote.
But there was a problem. News articles like People’s Daily’s seemed to suggest that every participant had shared the consensus – an impression that at least one participant rejected. Talking to the BBC through his mobile phone, Sir Bob Parker, a former mayor of Christchurch in New Zealand, said that he hadn’t endorsed the statement. While knowing that such a statement had been made, he hadn’t signed up. “I think a number of people who were there were a little surprised to hear about that statement.”
Another attendee, Lord Davidson of Glen Clova, a member of the House of Lords, was reportedly not available for an interview with the BBC.
According to Xinhua, the conference, the first “Tibet Development Forum” held in Tibet itself, was sponsored by the Information Office of China’s State Council and the regional government of Tibet. It was reportedly held on August 12 and 13.
The previous three forums had been held in Vienna in 2007, in Rome in 2009, and in Athens in 2011, according to Tibet Express, a Dharamsala-based website.
Let the world gasp in admiration, Xinhua suggested three years ago, itself all sighs of emotion.
It’s nice when you don’t need to do all the sighing alone – but apparently, some people still stubbornly refuse to join.
Every epic fail has its turning points. In many cases, historians, years after the events in question, identify turning points different from those presented by the media during the days of war itself.
In the view of many observers, a Russian intervention in Eastern Ukraine – yes, you might call that an invasion, but it seems to me that much of our media prefers the term intervention, unless if it is a Russian intervention – would be such a turning point. If it happens, and if it’s too big to be ignored, it would be one.
But maybe, even if such a Russian intervention, with or without a Western reaction, would happen, historians would identify another turning point: the day when Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko ended the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine on June 30 and vowed that Ukrainian government forces would “attack and liberate” the land. What else should a president of a sovereign country do? And, more interestingly, did he do that in accordance with wishes from EU capitals and Washington DC, or did he do so because he is, after all, Ukraine‘s president, and not the EU’s?
The West has helped you hitherto, Ukraine – but not necessarily by its surpassing favor. Obviously, Russia has its – yet to be determined – share in Ukraine’s agony, but so has the West, and not least Western media.
When a German veteran correspondent, Gabriele Krone-Schmalz, told German television on April 16 that she shared the unease of many German news watchers about an anti-Russian bias, it felt to me as if a general gag order on my country’s media had been lifted. Of course, I was wrong. First of all, there hadn’t been a gag order on reporting flaws or dishonest intentions in Western Ukraine policies. There had only been influences – from political parties who populate much of the boards of German broadcasters, for example. And my sense of relief wasn’t justified either because that interview wasn’t run at primetime, but on a Wednesday night, at 23:20 central European time.
Which is quite characteristic – that’s how media channels can claim that they are pluralistic. Broadcast this kind of stuff when most ordinary people have gone to sleep. (I only got aware of the video on the internet.)
The media had described the situation as if the EU had only ideals rather than interests, Krone-Schmalz said. Even proposals from Moscow that would have been worth a debate had been labeled as “propaganda”. Rather than taking their positon as observers as neutrally as possible, many journalists had, for example, almost completely missed out on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement’s security aspects, particularly its article 7.
Indeed, I remember noone in the mainstream press taking issue at all.
It is understandable that Western governments want to have options now if Russia
invades Ukraine – umm, starts an intervention, umm, sends a convoy with Russian humanitarian assistance to enable humanitarian aid in Donetsk or Luhansk. But to massage public opinion so as to ensure its support for whatever kind of option is wrong. It leads to further bad choices, just as past manipulations have led to the current standoff.
1. Why Russia Today succeeds while CCTV-9 fails: it depends on how you define and choose your target audience, on familiar faces, on the format of your programs, and on integration with the intelligence services, suggests Foarp.
2. Ar Dee, an ethnic Tibetan, makes no apologies for her Tib-lish. This was posted nearly two weeks ago, but the topic is basically timeless. It’s about a language we probably won’t find on Google Translate any time soon. About a moment when the author yearned to call on some supernatural power to fix her tongue.
3. Sichuanese police held anti-terrorism drills in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, apparently late last month. The drills included the handling of self-immolations. This struck me as weird when reading about it on the exile radio station Voice of Tibet‘s website, but CCTV English actually confirms it. Foarp – see 1. – might have a point. Chinese media for foreign audiences making fun of themselves.-
4. June 1 was the International Children’s Day. It seems to be mostly communist folk & custom, and logically, the indoctrination of the young is a job for the top: party and state chairman Xi Jinping, last Friday, called for fostering socialist values among children while sending greetings ahead of Sunday’s International Children’s Day.
The “socialist core values” that the country now upholds embody the thoughts of ancient masters, the aspirations of the nation’s role models, ideals of revolutionary martyrs and expectation of all Chinese people,
China Radio International (CRI) quotes Xi. Xi Jinping arrived at Haidian National Primary School in Beijing at 9:30 local time, according to this Xinhua report, and a student offered him a red scarf on arrival. How his heart pounded with excitement when joining the young pioneers in 1960, Xi told the kids, asking if they didn’t feel the same way.
“Yes”, a child answered. “Why is it so?” “Because it is sort of an honor.” The general secretary [Xi Jinping] said: “I have seen hope on your faces, the hopes of the motherland and the people. It’s just as said in the oath: one needs to be always prepared, to take one’s turn on duty in the future.”
Referred to as Xi Dada (kind of Uncle Xi) on another occasion, the general secretary was Xi Yeye (Grandfather Xi) at Haidian National Primary School, maybe for the grandfatherly stories he told. The core lesson from Xi’s recollections was that to move from one stripe to two stripes to becoming a standard bearer among the young pioneers required a lot of work, a student is quoted as summarizing the listening experience.
5. Fei Chang Dao has the latest about efforts to block June-4-related information. Online censorship reportedly includes May 35th (May 31 + 4).
6. The BBC has a Chinese press review: China media criticise US and Japan leaders …
7. … but there’s no need to fear Japan anymore. This, anyway, could be the positive message you might extract from the second picture in Chang‘s collection: nearly seven decades after America won the 2nd World War in the Far East, Japan finally submits to Washington, in in the shape of Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s minister of defense. People slightly familiar with China and/or Japan will know that many Chinese and Japanese men hate to be hugged, and might flinch if it happens, but neither Chang nor South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo could apparently resist the temptation. At least, the South Koreans didn’t openly doubt Onodera’s manhood: U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (left) chats with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera ahead of a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Chang, if you find one of these pictures repulsive, you aren’t a man either!
8. And as we started with propaganda (see “1.“), let’s wind up with propaganda, too:
Some say that [from] the West is propaganda … - In the U.S. it is called public diplomacy (public diplomacy). We do not do it in sufficient quantities, to be honest.
» Previous Monday links, May 25, 2014
Adjustments at General Staff Headquarters, Oct 25, 2012
Sino-Russian Shanghai Summit: Natural Gas Deal “supports Russia”, but simultaneous Naval Exercises indicate no Military Alliance
On Tuesday, prospects that Beijing and Moscow would get to an agreement over a natural gas supply treaty after many years of negotiations looked good, according to Victor Larin, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Far East Institute. Societies in both countries were watching the negotiations closely and discussing them “warmly”, said Larin, and situations like these frequently indicated that two sides were close to an agreement. Russia was in a position to provide China with needed energy, and in turn, the treaty would provide Russia with the funding it needed for its own economic development. Larin was quoted by Economic Information Daily (经济参考报, via People’s Daily, and so was a Russian sinologist whose name would read Bie’erge’er in Chinese. He was quoted as saying that energy cooperation could reach well beyond gas supplies from Russia, and include oil processing, Russian involvement in nuclear power plant construction in China, Russian electricity supplies into China, and cooperation in wind and solar energy development. The main obstacle the sinologist still saw was pricing.
Discussing Russia’s “Looking East”, Larin said that Russia was currently actively developing Siberia’s Far East, and Russia would only be able to make this happen with the help of Asian countries, and particularly with help from China. Russia needed Chinese investment, equipment, and Chinese human resources.
Sina quotes the Chinese website of RIA Novosti on Thursday as reporting that Russia was going to invest 55 billion USD in the implementation of the gas supply treaty, while china would invest 22 billion USD. According to the agreement, Russia will supply China with 38 billion cubic meters of gas over thirty years. The treaty’s overall value is 400 billion USD, RIA/Sina quote Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.
It took almost a decade to conclude the negotiations, the Washington Post wrote on Wednesday. While Russia believes that gas supplies to China can start in 2018, the Christian Science Monitor quoted a consultant who warned that after the political declarations are made this week, and even if Putin comes home waving a huge new gas deal with China, Gazprom may prove unable to deliver the goods, and that 2020, rather than 2018, might mark the beginning of gas supplies at the earliest. The olifields that would have to serve the contract were running behind schedule, and any diversion of existing supplies to serve the expanding Chinese market risks disrupting ties with another priority customer, Japan. It could become necessary to pipe gas from more distant fields, and in the worst case, a costly measure like that could mean that Russian taxpayers are committed to subsidizing Chinese consumers well into the future.
Sino-Russian naval exercises in the East China Sea are taking place for the third time this year, but without intentions to form a Sino-Russian military alliance, a RIA Novosti report quotes both sides. The exercises began on Tuesday.
Guancha, a Shanghai-based website and therefore at the scene of the Sino-Russian summit, suggests that the 400-billion deal between Beijing and Moscow is “a blow to the West”, or rather, that this was the view of much of European and American public opinion (….. 欧美舆论大多认为，中俄走近对西方来说是个打击). The gas treaty would strengthen Russia’s ability to resist Western pressure. Guancha also quotes the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) as saying that the gas supply treaty provides Russia with support at a time when its relations with the West are worsening. While the EU was looing for gas suppliers beyond Russia, the treaty with China strengthened Russia’s position. (A word of warning: I haven’t found the quoted WSJ article online and can’t tell if Guancha quotes it correctly.)
The support the treaty offers Russia might come at a price – two WSJ reporters took the data available about the treaty on Wednesday and computed an implied price for the gas of about $350 per thousand cubic meters, which would spell a good deal for China. If true, that is – other guesswork quoted in the article suggests that Russia would nearly get 380 USD, i. e. basically what it gets from Europe, too.
Some analysts see Obama’s visit to Malaysia, a close trading partner of China, as a strategy to dilute China’s influence in Southeast Asia, writes the “Global Times”, a state-owned English-language paper from China which is mainly written for a foreign audience (and possibly for Chinese learners of English, too). However, quoting Qu Xing (曲星), director of the China Institute of International Studies, the article suggests that Kuala Lumpur was in fact taking a balanced attitude and showed that Malaysia is trying to avoid confrontation with China on this issue. The article suggests that the American president didn’t make much headway in promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade project that, if put into practice, would manage trade between its original member states of Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore, as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States, and Vietnam. If the trade pact would benefit or damage the interests of the nations involved is contested, as is a trade project between America and the European Union, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
The (English-language) “Global Times'” headline is implicitly about censorship: US TV shows removed from popular streaming websites / The removal of several popular American TV series from Chinese video streaming sites over the weekend may indicate stricter online monitoring. Huanqiu Shibao, the Chinese-language sister paper for a mostly domestic readership, carries a headline about the Ukraine crisis. Huanqiu also prominently features a short news article from Jilin: Unearthing the whole story of Japanese invasion has made many experts suffer from depression (日本侵华档案发掘始末：很多专家患上抑郁症). According to the news article, the files in question were some 100,000 volumes of Japanese files in an archive in Jilin, northeastern China, concerning the invasion, 90 percent of them written in Japanese.
Underneath the top headlines, another article of today quotes an American official – or American officials – as saying that America was working on several military plans to contain or deter China (美国官员：美国拟定多套军事方案遏阻中国). Huanqiu quotes a quote from the Chinese edition of the Wall Street Journal (also of Monday) which is avaliable online.
The Wall Street Journal:
American officials say that the American military prepares several plans to strongly respond to future provocative actions in the South China Sea (called Southern Sea by china) and the East China Sea (called Eastern Sea by China). These plans include dispatching B-2 bombers to places close to China, and holding aircraft-carrier exercises in the range of China’s coastal waters.
Apart from the explanations in brackets, the first paragraphs are identical at WSJ and Huanqiu. From the second paragraph, Huanqiu cuts a long WSJ story short, with only two more paragraphs:
Security issues play an important role on president Obama’s tour of four Asian countries. On April 28, the American president will sign an agreement in the Philippines which allows American military to return to the Philippines after more than twenty years. The Philippine opposition parties had previously forced America to abandon its military bases on the Philippines. Equally, Obama stood side by side with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe during his visit to Japan, saying that America’s promise to guarantee Japan’s security was “absolute”.*)
美国总统奥巴马近日 访问亚洲四国，安全问题是他此行的一个重要议题。4月28日，美国总统将在菲律宾签署一项协议，允许美军在二十多年后重返菲律宾。此前，菲律宾反对党曾迫 使美国方面放弃了在菲律宾的军事基地。同样，巴马访问日本时与日本首相安倍晋三并排站在了一起，并表示，美国在条约中对日本的安保承诺是“绝对的”。
Besides military aspects, the Huanqiu account of the WSJ argicle also mentions contingency plans and humanitarian aid operations. Surveillance of areas near China would be strengthened, calls of American navy vessels to allied countries’ ports be intensified, so as to demonstrate American military strength (加强对中国附近地区的监视、增加美国海军对盟友港口的停靠等，以展示美国的军事实力).
A major issue mentioned by the WSJ Chinese edition, about Washington trying to alleviate doubts among its Asian allies in its security assurances, especially after the annexation of the Crimean peninsula (尤其是在俄罗斯吞并克里米亚半岛之后), are not quoted by Huanqiu Shibao.
The full WSJ article (which has been put behind a registration wall by now) quotes Pacific Command public affairs officer Chris Sims as a source.
But it’s not all about the U.S. Navy. Under China’s lead, eight countries’ navies carried out the “Maritime Cooperation 2014″ military exercises off the coast of Shandong province last week. China, Pakistan, Indonesia, India, Singapore and three other countries participated, reports a Beijing Youth article republished by Huanqiu Shibao on Monday. Beijing Youth in turn quoted Xinhua newsagency as reporting that the exercise featured reactions to non-traditional security issues (非传统安全的内容) such as piracy, terrorism, natural disasters as well as other threats faced by countries in the region and everywhere in the world.
» The Negarakuku Saga, August 2007
Tony Pua (潘俭伟), a member of Malaysia’s Democratic Action Party (DAP) and member of parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara, published an open letter to Barack Obama on Saturday, the day of the American president’s arrival in Kuala Lumpur:
Mr President, with all due respect, we do not need you to visit our country to tell us that our country is a standout example of moderation, because it is not.
Or for you to praise our government that it is a model plural society living in peace and harmony, because it is a façade.
We need you, Mr President, to speak of the universal virtues of humankind, of the principles your forefathers upheld and sacrificed for.
We want you to speak of the importance of basic human rights, equality, freedom and fundamental democratic principles.
We want to know that the president of United States still believe in the protection and promotion of civil liberties throughout the world – those very liberties which allowed you to be in your position today.
*) this apparently refers to this statement by Obama: And let me reiterate that our treaty commitment to Japan’s security is absolute, and Article 5 covers all territories under Japan’s administration, including the Senkaku Islands.
» Pivotal state, BBC, April 26, 2014
Main link: » Why the West keeps meddling with Tibet and Xinjiang and finding fault with China / 西方为何在涉藏涉疆问题上与中国过不去
The article was officially first published by “China Tibet Online” (中国西藏网), and republished by Xinhua online, by People’s Daily‘s CCP webpages, by Guangming Daily online (China’s offical dangwai publication), and by Phoenix (Fenghuang, Hong Kong).
The author is Zhu Weiqun (朱维群), chairman of the ethnic and religious affairs committee of the CPPC. His article suggests that the “splittist” concepts of Tibetan independence and East Turkestan islamic state hadn’t emerged on Chinese soil, but had entered China from abroad, in the wake of imperialism’s aggressions against China. Chinese-speaking readers are provided with details about British policies on Tibet from 1888 to 1914, i. e. aggressions during which false ideas of suzerainty and a Tibetan right to independence were entered into the heads of a minority upper class. In competition with Tsarist Russia, Britain had also tried to get the territories south of the Tianshan Mountains into its sphere of control, writes Zhu.
After World War 2, it had been America which encouraged Tibetan independence and supplied Tibetan forces with arms, and to this day, America was the main financer of the “Dalai clique”, constantly creating cracks and driving wedges on Chinese territory. In Xinjiang, too, it had been upper-class minorities who had been influenced in a “counter-CCP” way (not “counter-revolutionary”, interestingly), including a war by Ospan Batyr against the “People’s Liberation Army”. After the 9-11 attacks (2001), America had entered Central Asia under the name of counter-terrorism, and American support for “splittist forces” in Xinjiang had moved from behind the curtain to the fore. A John-Hopkins University project started in 2003 – apparently described by project members themselves here – denied that Xinjiang had “since ancient times been an inseparable part of China”, “violently attacked the benefits that China’s government had brought to all nationalities in Xinjiang”, and even though America understood the links between East Turkestan and al-Kaida, Taliban and the threats they constituted for America, America also still saw forces in them that could be used to put pressure on China.
After a description of the World Uyghur Congress and Rebiya Kadeer as Western (and Japanese) tools, Zhu draws a – preliminary – conclusion: China doesn’t harm the West, but the West shamelessly harms China.
The strange thing is, the perpetrators can make eloquent assertions without any feelings of shame. This can only be explained with some peoples’ view that this kind of perpetration is some kind of political tradition in some countries, a divine right earned from their Christian faith, without a need to care about the interests or feelings of the aggrieved party. The only difference between history and reality is that in history, the West applied armed force right away. These days, [the West] rather relies on its discourse hegemony, dressing its selfish interests up as “universal values”.
[The last sentence is emphasized by Zhu or by the editor.]
In a short account of the U.S.-Chinese recent history of relations, Zhu then writes that during the 1970s, America significantly reduced its support for the “Dalai clique”, so as to win China over against the USSR. The “Dalai clique” had basically turned into pariahs. The “Dalai” was well aware that America wasn’t there to help Tibet, but for the tactical necessities of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Zhu says, allegedly claiming the Dalai Lama himself.
Likewise, Zhu argues, the March-5 riots in Lhasa in March 1989, and then the “June-4 incident” were a time when the U.S. felt strongly that the “Dalai” was of great value in containing socialist China.
So, in October 1989, as a measure to punish China, the laurel of the Nobel Peace Prize fell on the Dalai’s head, and in 1991, U.S. president Bush senior met with the Dalai, setting the bad precedent of Western heads of state meeting the Dalai. Strongly encouraged, the “Dalai” suggested at the time that Tibet should become an independent state within three years, and made remarks about a collapsing China, according to Zhu.
The article then moves into the present tense, i. e. into the new century: the Beijing Olympics 2008, the 3-14 Lhasa riots, and violent interceptions of the Olympic torch relays.
At the same time, Western leaders collectively threatened to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, humiliated China, put pressure on the Chinese government to make concessions to the Dalai clique. Only because the situation in Tibet quickly returned to normal, and because Chinese people and overseas Chinese people all over the world raised their voices in support of the Chinese government, strongly opposing the Dalai’s and CNN’s and other Western media incidents to humiliate China, the West no longer dared to move things around.
It’s a long list of Chinese humiliations, Western aggression, Western pragmatism, Western fears (of China changing the global rules) etc., and, of course, of Chinese victories, with the corresponding ups and downs for the “Dalai clique”. Zhu’s article continues with – no specific – accusation that Western countries had seen contradictions within their societies which they suppressed, not least because of economic crisis, and contrasts this with the way the 3-14 Tibet riots (2008) or 7-5 Urumqi incident (2009) were portrayed by Western media (unfavorably for the Chinese government). Tibetan self-immolations, too, get a mention by Zhu.
The Western refusal to address Tibetan pre-CCP history as a history of exploitation and serfdom (27 manors and more than 6000 farmer-slaves owned by the “Dalais”), and a constant “brainwash” of the Western public (Zhu himself puts the brainwash into quotation marks), made it impossible for common Westerners to “correctly understand the justified nature and the necessity of the Chinese government’s struggle against the Dalai clique” (当然也就不能正确了解中国政府对达赖集团斗争的正义性和必要性).
Sooner or later, however, America would understand that double standards like these impaired their own national interests, such as links between their Xinjiang allies and al-Kaida, or extremist elements within the “Arab Spring”.
Zhu also tries to explain European inabilities to “understand China” with European history and the trend to nation-states there during the past one or two centuries. Too much national self-determination, however, would bring instability to Europe, too, he writes, citing Bosnia and the partitions of India (but not that of Czechoslovakia or, possibly, the United Kingdom and Scotland, apparently). In China, this way of ruling was simply not feasible. In short, Zhu describes economic, political, cultural and blood relationships as too intricate to apply self-determination in China. It is here where his article may become clearly more complex than this traanslation – or that’s how I see it -, but he definitely wouldn’t admit that the CCP has kept creating the situation where “self-determination can’t work”.
In many ways, the article is a comprehensive rehash of the propaganda that dominated the Chinese press and “public opinion” in 2008 and after. Nazi Germany, too, is invoked as a co-author of an unrealistic Western picture of Tibet:
Even Nazi Germany tried to find the secret power here [in Tibet] to rule the world, and a Nazi element named Heinrich Harrer was commissioned to go to Tibet and to establish relations with the upper class there. From 1946, this man was the 14th Dalai’s political adviser and English teacher, and he only fled Tibet in 1951. In his book “Seven Years in Tibet” and in related interviews, he describes feudalistic and farmer-slave-system Tibet as “the last piece of pure earth on the globe” – “you can find there, on the roof of the world, what we have lost in the West.” The 1997 Hollywood adaptation of the book not only concealed the author’s Nazi identity, but also, by fabrications, suggested that Tibet wasn’t a historic part of China, distorting peaceful liberation into a “Chinese invasion of Tibet”, thus deliberately misleading the Western public.
甚至纳粹德国也试图从这里找到可以统 治世界的“神秘力量”，一个叫海因里希·哈勒的纳粹分子受命前往西藏与上层建立联系，此人从1946年起给十四世达赖充当政治顾问和英文教师，直到 1951年才逃离西藏。在其《西藏七年》一书和相关采访中，把封建农奴制统治下的西藏描述为“地球上的最后一片净土”、“我们西方人在现实生活中遗失的东 西在这个世界屋脊的城市里都可以找到”。1997年好莱坞把这本书改编为电影，不仅掩盖了作者的纳粹身份，而且捏造情节否认西藏历史上就是中国一部分，把 和平解放歪曲为“中国入侵西藏”，蓄意误导西方公众。
In short: ugly things were made looking beautiful, and things got farcial enough to make a Spanish judge indict Chinese leaders to curry favor with the public (乃至发生西班牙法官借起诉中国领导人讨好“民意”的丑剧), writes Zhu. But with China’s growing global role, those Western countries couldn’t carry on like that, unless they wanted to harm themselves.
While it was important to inform the Western public about Tibet and Xinjiang, the Western elites wouldn’t settle with anything less than a Chinese acknowledgement that the two territories did not belong to China, writes Zhu. Therefore, illusions needed to be abandoned, and Chinese control be safeguarded:
Only when the West sees the inevitability of a strong China, and that separating Tibet and Xinjiang from China is just a “beautiful dream”, that it is in the Western interest to develop and safeguard relations with China rather than the contrary, it may lead the West to change its thinking.
» China angry, U.S. shouldn’t worry, Washington Post blogs, Feb 21, 2014
February 13 (Thursday) was World Radio Day. That was an adequate day for the Hong Kong Journalists Association to bring Li Wai-ling (or Li Wei-ling, 李慧玲) and the press together. But let’s go through the issues one by one.
China’s growing economic weight is allowing it to extend its influence over the media in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, writes Reporters without Borders, in their 2014 report, published earlier this week. The BBC added a palpable story on Friday, about the sacking of Li Wei-ling, a radio talk show host at a commercial station in Hong Kong who has been sacked and who, on a press conference on Thursday, accused the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of having put pressure on her employer.
Organizations like Reporters without Borders have their merits. This may be even more true for the Hong Kong Journalists Association who organized Ms Li Wei-ling’s press conference. Reporters, talk show hosts and all the people who are critical and daring in the face of power deserve solidarity.
But this goes for reporters and journalists in Western countries, too. The problem with stories like the BBC’s, served to an American or European audience, seems to be that they blind people for problems at home. Here, too, broadcasters need to apply for frequencies. Here, too, they need to rely on political decisions when they are public broadcasters. On licence fees, or on public budgets. Advertisers, too, may exert influence.
My window on press freedom is small. The case I really looked at rather closely during the last years was that of the Chinese department at Deutsche Welle. I’m looking at these issues as a listener to and reader of the media.
The freedom of the press isn’t necessarily the freedom of a journalist to speak or write his mind, or to publicly highlight whatever scandal he or she may discover. This depends on a reporter’s or journalist’s employer, and frequently, reporters and editors-in-chief in the free world are very aware of when to better censor themselves, so as to keep their jobs.
This tends to be particularly true when a journalist’s contract is non-permanent. You don’t need state authorities to censor journalists when journalists’ employment is as precarious as is frequently the case in Western countries.
There is no point in pitting Chinese journalists against Western journalists, or the other way round. But there is a point in looking at every situation without ideological blinkers. Suppression of freedom from commercial organizations (and, sometimes, public-private networks) may still allow media that offer valid criticism of suppression in totalitarian countries – after all, that’s “them”, not “us”. Media in totalitarian countries can also, at times, provide valid criticism of media in freer countries. It is useful to read and listen to as many different outlets from as many different political systems as you can.
But there is no need or justification to blindly trust either of them. Without a broad global audience that develops criteria to judge press reports, freedom will get under the wheels of authoritarianism, even in – so far – free societies. The internet has become a place where journalists and their listeners and readers should meet, and be as honest with each other as they can. Its also the place where the struggle for freedom on the airwaves has to begin, time and again, whenever powers of whichever color try to weigh in on them.