Archive for April 16th, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Human Rights: Throw them a Bone

I’m aware that many foreigners who work within China’s propaganda system in one or another way don’t wish China’s dissidents evil. But a recent blogpost on the Peking Duck (TPD) and many  reactions to it seems to depict the relationship between the Chinese and the foreign sides within Chinese propaganda in quite a remarkable way – fundamental misunderstandings included. The foreign side (by no means only TPD) appears to be quite mortified by recent developments.

TPD quotes from a Global Times commentary (English version, dated April 6), telling its readers that the experience of Ai Weiwei and other mavericks cannot be placed on the same scale as China’s human rights development and progress.

A disturbing and nauseating article, finds TPD. Besides, the Global Times’ staff appears to have been assigned to a big, collective fifty-cent-partisan job.

Richard Burger, that’s the TPD blogger, is described by James Fallows of  The Atlantic as

an American with long experience inside China — and working with Chinese authorities to more effectively “tell their story” to the outside world.

Back to the TPD blogpost itself, quoting from a discussion between Burger and an urbane, sophisticated, educated, talented and a truly wonderful person who happens to work for the Global Times:

“Why not throw the West a bone and let him go, declare an amnesty and then explain why he was detained in the first place.”

Foreign propaganda experts – James Fallows, too – appear to be stunned while watching how all the good “development aid” to China is evaporating  – and some of their reactions come across as if that loss hurts them more than the actual human rights violations the Global Times is trying to justify.

And their reactions seem to suggest that there would be more efficient ways than the Global Times’ current approach to do just that. Should I be curious? Should the Global Times be curious?



This post marks a break from my break from blogging, for the sake of  spontaneity.


China is no Puppet, it’s Complicated, April 8, 2011


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