In the recently high-profiled case of First Financial Daily vs Foxconn, over the former's controversial news report on the latter's alleged Apple Ipod's sweatshop. The dramatical end to the case, in which the two issued a joint statement focussing on mutual understanding and “building harmonious society,” was generally considered as an example of how the press in China, theoretically independent and outspoken, was intimidated and compromised in the face of powerful corporation.
Is our press, including websites, newspapers and TV networks, only a timid coward, waiting for instruction and orders from the government on what and how to report? When national sensation s, celebrities gossip and overheated patriotism mix together, stirring up the “journalist's instinct”, that's another story. The press will never hesitate a minute to follow up such a story without any authorization from the authorities. The reasons? The press simply wants to make money and the readers want that story.
The latest victim of such press war is Meng Guangmei, a TV host and former model. The strange point is that the press, stained with the habits of its American colleagues, have named this incident “Toiletgate“. Meng appeared on a Taiwan TV network talk show and commented on her experience in Mainland China, mentioning some toilets near Tiananmen Square where she saw a hundred pale “asses”. ( video here) Sun Bin has a nice and insightful post about this.
The Chinese Internet is always replete with uproar, perplexing sentiments and hullabaloo, especially on the forums and blogs, given the overwhelming popularity of internet man-hunter effort. Many people feel that the spreading of online self-publishing technologies and its anonymous nature makes such phenomenon possible. But as the esteemed Chinese IT blogger Keso said, the press play an infamous role in inciting overheated nationalism and the social group dubbed as “Angry Youth“, with his latest blog post titled “Angry Youth, Made In China “.