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Posts Tagged ‘Global Times’

I’m Swiss. I live here now, but I’m actually a Swiss… nationally.

June 16, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s been kinda difficult to be British in Beijing lately- first there was the spectacular Youku implosion of a video of drunken/stoned/retarded/possibly-all-three Briton attempting to rape a Chinese woman in Xidan.  Now we’re even more in hock with the CCP because David Cameron met up with His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

With panther-like reactions, the Global Times churned out an op-ed that lambasted the UK and Norway for their arrogance (yes, that’s Chinese men calling other countries arrogant, just in case you didn’t get it first time around.  Incredible I know).  Like a lot of Chinese tub thumping, the actual content is questionable, and the article is one of those paper-rattling nationalist things that Chinese people like so much.

The speculation is probably correct. In both cases China’s core interests have been offended. Proper countermeasures are necessary for a big country. If China takes no action, it would be tantamount to tolerating a vicious provocation. This indifference would be despised at home and in the world.

Er.  No.  Just at home, as it happens.  No one else cares.  Ok, so the anonymous author doesn’t really point out why China has the right not to be offended.  Lots of countries and lots of governments are attacked by media outlets everyday.  China’s just going to have to grow up and learn to take it’s knocks like everyone else.

Since its reform, China has accepted some political concepts of the West, but that is not the same as unconditionally following orders from the West. Studying the West has to take place under the condition of resisting its pressure, otherwise, it is to accept being conquered by the West.

As I commented on the story itself, China didn’t really “reform and open up”, the government just stopped interfering with people’s lives so much after Mao died.  A classic CCP maneovre of waiting and seeing and then taking credit for what happens next.  As far as anyone knows, the political system that China did take from the west was one of the worst political ideologies created that China’s inept leaders of the time thought they needed in a deperate bid to modernise the country.  Almost every country that embraced communism (and most have subsequently discarded it) ain’t exactly the type of place that you’d want to retire in.  With the exception of Cuba, but they’ve actually got a decent health system.

The UK and Norway are developed countries with relatively small populations. China is aware of their political advantages. However, governing a country of 1.3 billion people is beyond their imagination. It is naïve and arrogant to try and teach China what to do. 

It was only a matter of time before one of the Holy Trinity of Chinese excuses was trotted out.  Chinese people are immensely proud of their immense population, and their apparent inability to manage it properly.  Corruption running rampant?  Well, China has a large population.  Poison in your milk?  Well, China is a developing country, you know. 1.3billion people isn’t beyond our imagination, it’s just that the systems that the corrupt morons that run China can’t scale up beyond the neighbourhoods of the politicians that dream them up over a baijiu soaked dinner.

 They must pay the due price for their arrogance. This is also how China can build its authority in the international arena. China doesn’t need to make a big fuss because of the Dalai or a dissident, but it has many options to make the UK and Norway regret their decision. 

The way to build authority in an international arena is to stop personalising every little slight and stop making overblown puff pieces about how sensitive you all are and how we should treat you all with respect.  If Chinese politicians actually just stopped brown-nosing the CCP machine for just five minutes, and started doing things for the good of the people, rather than saying that they’re doing stuff for the good of the people, we might be able to make some progress.

Spending thousands of RMB on banners saying that Chinese people are 文明 doesn’t actually do anything to change people’s minds.  Becoming civilised and not acting like a dick in public is not something that people can osmotically achieve simply by being bombarded with thinly veiled propaganda day and night.

Oh, and by the way, outside of Bond villians, no one “must pay the price” for shit these days.

China-UK cooperation will have to be slowed down. Free trade agreement talks between China and Norway have also been upset. The ensuing loss is a small one for China. 

Free trade won’t be upset, the sky will not fall, and the worst that would happen is that China goes a sulks in the corner for a while.  No one likes a cry baby and you have to stop playing the victim.

It’s not easy to have Chinese society’s sympathy on China’s sovereignty issues. The West has presented various honors to Chinese dissidents, and Chinese people won’t be fooled into believing it is a simple coincidence.

Shockingly, what happens in “the West” is that people that try and change things actually get recognised for trying to change things.  We don’t give out random gongs to people just because we want their job when they retire (with the obviously exception of the British Civil Service, naturally).  To get a pat on the back, you need to do something other than get fat and smoke cigarettes and retire to go die of cancer, it’s just doesn’t work like that.  The Chinese government has to stop looking at everything as though governance is one long gaokao.  There are certain things that you can’t be taught, and as long as current status quo exists, it never will be.

The Mystery of the Black Ferrari

March 20, 2012 Leave a comment

For some reason best know unto themselves (or until CDT publishes a new version of it’s Ministry of Truth Directives) all references to a car crash that killed it’s driver and injured two female passengers are being scrubbed from Chinese language Internet sites.

Netease, Sohu, and Tencent have removed references to “black Ferrari” from their databases and the usual “in accordance with local laws” message is being displayed instead of search results.  According to the Global Times, the police “received the call around 4:24 Sunday morning. One injured woman, 31 years old, sustained a head injury and a fractured right leg, and she was sent to the [nearby] 306th Hospital of PLA for treatment.”  And that’s about all we know.  The PSB is refusing to comment on the case or on any progress that might be being made in the investigation, and thus online speculation is even more rampant, with many jumping to the right conclusion that the identity of the car’s owner is the reason for the information clean-up.

The latest rumor is that  Jia Qing Lin‘s illigitimate son may have been in control of the car at the time of the crash.

How Chinese Journalism Works

February 1, 2012 Leave a comment

A news story on Global Times covered the kidnapping of 25 Chinese workers from a cement factory in Egypt had a curious map that, among other things, had renamed Isreal as “The Holyland”.  The map was hastily taken down, but China watchers on Facebook quickly discovered that the map had been unceremoniously swiped from Atlas Tours and Tourism – a travel agent’s based in Jordan. Sinocism was quick to take a helpful screenshot of the image to help readers come to their own conclusions, the original map can be viewed at http://www.atlastours.net/egypt/

Why is PR So Bad in China?

July 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Amongst the myriad thousand questions that the Wenzhou train accident last weekend has raised, one that lingers around the most is “why is PR so bad in China?”.  I had previously written about the epic gaffes that CCTV had played on the public, ranging from using footage from Top Gun in a report about a new fighter jet, to Hu Jin Tao visiting the home of a Chinese woman who claims to pay only 77rmb per month in rent.

From start to finish, the efforts of the spokespersons of the various government agencies that are involved in the train crash have been particularly underwhelming:

Wang Yong Ping’s (the spokesman for the Ministry of Railways whos was spotted recently taking the plane instead of the train)statement explaining (or not, as the case may be) why train carriages were buried at the scene of the accident almost instantly became an internet meme when he said

“…During the emergency rescue operations, the area was very complex, and there was a marsh below, so it was very difficult to do our best job. We also had to deal with all the other train cars, so (the earth-moving equipment operator) buried the front car below, covering it with earth, and it was mainly just a case of dealing with the emergency. This was the explanation he offered. Whether you believe it or not, I certainly do.”

Which wasn’t particularly reassuring, especially since, they’ve dug them back up again.

When Premier Wen eventually turned up to do the consolation thing that he’s so good at, he told reporters “I am ill, having spent 11 days in bed, but I managed to come today only after my doctor reluctantly allowed me to check out of hospital. This is why I didn’t come here sooner,”.  Not so ill, it would seem, to have met several different leaders of state in the last 11 days, however.  Not only did he lie, accordingly to The Shanghaiist, he lied to the same state controlled media that had in fact been openly reporting on the fact that he wasn’t ill and had attended several meetings:

On July 18, Wen received Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
On July 19, Wen presided over a State Council meeting on climate change and sustainable development.
On July 20, Wen presided over a State Council working session.
On July 21, Wen met up with Cameroonian President Paul Biya.
On July 24, Wen received a delegation from the Japanese Association for the Promotion of International Trade.
On July 27, Wen presided over another State Council working session.

The government appeared to want to use the crash as another attempt to stir up all the emotions that a growing dictatorship needs from it’s populous – instructing the media to specifically focus on stories that were “more touching” whilst telling them not to even think about investigating the causes of the crash themselves, along with terse, clear instructions not to reflect or comment.  The rules were happily ignorned when the journalists found out that no-one was really answering any questions at the press conferences.

The Chinese press has drawn parallels with another train crash that happened last year in Guangdong:

“Train K859 derailed on May 23 last year (the death toll given was 19), and a rescue worker tells our reporters: ‘The accident happened at 2am, and trains were running by 6pm [the same day], so last time the rescue work was even shorter. They used diggers to make a pit, then dragged the train cars into the pit. After that they used tractor shovels to crush them down. Some body parts that hadn’t been taken out were mixed in and buried together [with the wreckage]. A couple of weeks later, after the incident had settled down, everything was dug out again, everything cleaned away and carted off.”

When the company that supplied the railway signals held a “press conference” that was either grossly misreported on or so fantastically awful and mismanaged that it beggars belief and went through all the colours of the rainbow, starting as a calamity, through to a major crisis, and finally deciding on taking flight as a fully-fledged catastrophe (again from The Shanghaiist):

Q: What railway signals equipment has your company been supplying for the D trains?
A: You can check it out from our website yourself.

Q: What is your company’s relationship with the Ministry of Railways?
A: It’s not convenient to talk about that.

Q: What is the government board that is directly in charge of your company?
A: If you’ve made it to this press conference, you should know the answer.

Q: So why are you conducting today’s press conference?
A: Uh. I don’t know. The weather’s been really hot, and you guys have been having a hard time running around outside. (The phone rings.) Uh. Can I take this call?

Media: Can you please show us some respect around here? This is a press conference!
A: Uh. Please let me take this call really quickly.

Finally, when the names of the people who would be providing the “swift, open and transparent” investigation of the Ministry of Railways ordered by Wen Jia Bao, it appeared that almost all of them officials on the investigating committee are currently employed by the, er, Ministry of Railways.  According to the China Media Project’s Newswire, noted scholar He Weifang wrote that “Officials from the railway ministry stand out [on the list]. They should decline [participation]. No one can be a judge of events that directly concern their own interests — this is the most basic demand of procedural justice.”  I don’t think that anyone is holding their breath over that one.

For the most part, the Chinese government seem to have understood that they have lost this propaganda battle for now.  They may have taken the view that it’s probably best for the outrage to burn itself out in the press and in the Chinese cyberscape.  When the CCP decides that enough is enough, they’ll start clamping down on coverage sending the message that it’s no longer acceptable to discuss the failings of the Party.

We Hope For a Miracle

July 28, 2011 Leave a comment

A cartoon currently doing the rounds on Weibo (thanks to Emma Lau for the link and the translation) – the last frame says “we can only hope for a miracle!” showing Ministry of Railways spokesman Wang Yong Ping tied to the train tracks as an out of control train hurtles towards him.

 

Wenzhou Crash Media Aftermath

July 27, 2011 Leave a comment

The western and English language media in China is going into overdrive providing coverage and commentary on the aftermath of the Wenzhou Train Crash.

Xinhua is reporting that Wen Jia Bao has called for a “swift, open transparent investigation”, although Grandpa Wen has pretty much been calling for whatever he wants since he’s going to to be stepping down as Premier next year – he promised political reform when he was in England earlier in the summer.

Time Magazine has a piece on the “murmurs of dissent” in China following the crash – although almost every foreign reporter in China is probably playing up the idea that Chinese people are disagreeing with the government

The ever-excellent Ministry of Tofu (which I keep mistyping as the Ministry of Tudu for some reason) has a rundown and translation of the microblog surveys that have been run through the Chinese cyberscape.  Needless to say, people ain’t happy.

China Realtime Report has a slideshow of pictures from the crash site  and another Chinese language gallery shows how the newspapers on the mainland are reporting on the tragedy.

Both the Global Times and the China Daily have ripped the government a new one over the Ministry of Railways handling of the crash.  The Global Times has attacked the department’s officials, saying that their “arrogance results in bad PR(another brief tells of the total cost that the new rail system might total up to).  The Global Times editorial ominously ends with the lines that “the relationship between the government and the public is like that of a ship and water. Water can keep the ship afloat or sink it.”