Chinese Press Review: India, Philippines, Vietnam

In a tough confrontation (硬碰硬), the Philippines can’t win against China, Huanqiu Shibao, the Global Times‘ Chinese edition, quotes Philippine president Benigno Aquino, via Bloomberg. Or, as quoted by Bloomberg itself, Aquino said that if we engage them in a boxing match there’s 1.3 billion of them and 95 million of us, there’s no way we will win. Aquino will be on a four-day state visit from August 30, writes the Inquirer (Philippines):

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told the Inquirer the trip “demonstrates that the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute is not the sum total of our relations with China.”

Restraint suits common interests (保持克制符合大家的共同利益), People’s Daily (quoted by Huanqiu) notes approvingly. After all, the territorial issues had always been absolutely complex (领土问题历来十分复杂), involved common peoples’ feelings (牵扯老百姓感情), and were sometimes intertwined with some countries’ domestic problems (有时还和一些国内问题纠缠在一起). Lack of restraint could lead to unexpected consequences, warns the People’s Daily article which also includes references to Vietnam (from where no gestures of restraint similar to Aquino’s have been reported yet).

Peace and harmony firmly on their minds, both the Global Times and Huanqiu Shibao recently published rather benevolent impressions from a tour to India, by a Chinese newspeople delegation. Li Hongwei (李宏伟), Global Times / Huanqiu deputy managing editor, was apparently a delegation member and wrote the article, published by the English-language Global Times on August 11, and by the Chinese-language Huanqiu Shibao on August 18.

When it comes to Chinese and Indian views on development, both the English  and the Chinese- language version use trains as symbols:

The Wenzhou accident, which cost 40 lives, shocked China as it exposed apparent flaws in the country’s high-speed railway that may have been developed too rapidly.

The Hindustan Times reported the West Bengal crash also exposed apparent flaws in that country’s railways which turned out to be an unintended silver lining: The trains were only traveling at 30 kilometers per hour, sparing a higher death toll,

GT wrote on August 11. The English version, just as the one on its Huanqiu sister publication, also quotes a “man in the street”, an Indian cook, with a remark very much in tune with a CCP propaganda narrative: Indian public officials simply don’t get things done. The cook is also confronted with information from the Chinese newspeople delegation that disclosure of government wrongdoing is quite broad in the Chinese media.

Both versions emphasize Indian admiration for China’s speedy development, and they both point out that China’s GINI coefficient is higher than India’s – while China’s poor population accounted for only 2.8 per cent in 2007, while India’s was at 25 per cent. The Chinese version, published online a week after the English one, seems to aim at improved relations between its readership and India: India’s Pursuit of China becomes More and More Patient (印度追中国越来越有耐心), reads the Chinese version’s  headline.

India’s democracy is also mentioned – both as an explanation for India’s more favorable GINI coefficient, and possibly for what, the author muses, amounts to a higher Indian tolerance of poverty: what’s different between the two (India and China) is that Indian society seems to be more tolerant of inequality. This could be the case because India never went through an egalitarian revolution (这可能是因为印度从未经历过平均主义革命的缘故).

Anna Hazare‘s current anti-corruption campaign can’t have gone unnoticed by the Chinese delegation during its India tour. But although much of the article’s focus is on corruption as an impediment to more efficient development, Hazare gets no mention. This may suggest that when the Global Times published Li Hongwei’s Indian impressions, a Chinese version of it was already being considered. The English- and Chinese-language publications have become more similar to each other during the past year, but certain topics that would be fine with English news articles (which are mainly written for foreigners) are off-limit for articles written in Chinese.



» Be More Xinhua, October 10, 2009


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