Monday, February 13, 2012

Western Media Biased Against China?

Not too long ago, I shared a post that claimed that the Western media tend to be biased against China. I was referring to bias in an economic sense i.e. predicting a hard landing for the Chinese economy:
For about a year now, many people are hyping up the supposed property bubble in China. Many people have been waiting on the sidelines for China's property market to fall, and then condemn the Chinese economy for "over-investing".

Personally, I think the people above have been over-exposed to the Western media. They read from Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and what not. How many of those reporters actually know what they are talking about China? To really understand what is going on in China, we should consult the experts on China. Also, to avoid the Asian bias, we should not immediately take the word of a Chinese economist.
Here is another portrayal of how the Western media is biased against China. Do read through the full article:

Accusing “Flowers” of being anti-Japanese propaganda or “one-dimensional” is but the latest manifestation of mainstream western media’s propensity to criticize China when covering the history of China’s fraught relations with Japan. Often, reports on Chinese protests over perceived Japanese attempts to whitewash its militaristic past are turned into warnings about rising Chinese nationalism deliberately fostered and manipulated by the Chinese government. Stories about new Japanese history textbooks that gloss over Japan’s wartime aggression become discussions of problems with China’s own history textbooks. 
For example, in April 2005, after protests broke out in China following the approval of new Japanese textbooks that whitewashed Japan’s wartime atrocities, AFP’s coverage contained the following: 
While learning materials in [Chinese] mainland high schools take special pains to outline Japanese aggression beginning with the 1874 invasion of Taiwan, China’s involvement in the 1950-53 Korean war is dismissed in one sentence. 
The Los Angeles Times said: 
China has criticized Japan in recent weeks for whitewashing its militarist history, focusing in particular on a junior high school textbook recently approved by Tokyo. 
“Yes, what Japan did in World War II is horrible,” said Sam Crane, Asian studies professor at Williams College in Massachusetts. “But the embarrassing fact for the Communist Party, and one that is not taught in Chinese schools, is that the party itself is responsible for many more deaths of Chinese people than those caused by Japanese militarism.” 
And the Financial Times offered its readers the following: 
For those seeking graphic if not necessarily balanced accounts of Japanese infamy, there is no better place to look than China… 
But China’s schoolbooks, carefully edited to ensure they do not contradict the official historical verdicts of the ruling Communist party, have their own conspicuous absences. Texts for middle and upper school students give great detail about the party’s resistance against Japanese oppression, but gloss over or ignore most of its less glorious moments. The brutal 1989 suppression of pro-democracy protests centred on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square is ignored. 
It is not that Chinese history textbooks do not have their own problems, or that western media do not have the right to discuss those problems. But there is an appropriate time and place for such discussions. To attack Chinese schoolbooks in the middle of reports about Japanese attempts to whitewash its history of invasion and occupation of other countries is morally dubious to say the least. 
Suppose, when discussing Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews, western media reports were to say: “Yes, the Jewish people suffered a great deal during World War II, but Israel has also occupied Palestinian territories and killed innocent Palestinian civilians.” They would cause public outrage and may even be accused of trying to make excuses for the Holocaust. Yet, it has been perfectly acceptable for western media to effectively say “Yes, Japan did horrible things to the Chinese, but the Chinese government did horrible things to its own people too.” 
Do we take this to mean Japan’s wartime atrocities in China are insignificant? Do the Chinese have no right to criticize Japanese textbooks? 
It is one thing for western media to be critical of the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party. It’s quite another to let their views of the CCP color their reports on the history row between China and Japan. Using criticisms of the CCP to divert attention away from the suffering of the Chinese people at the hands of Japanese militarists during World War II — and the refusal of some Japanese to fully acknowledge the past — and to do so consistently, this is what I would call biased media coverage.
Source: China Real Time Report

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