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China: Press, In Contrast

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 “.

[in translation]

我一直认为,民原本不暴,青原本不愤,但架不住媒体总喜欢耸人听闻,被媒体一忽悠,民就成了”暴民”,青就成了”愤青”。这一点在网络上表现得尤其明显,凡涉及民族主义、道德宣判等主题,往往很容易发展成”网络暴民”事件,而在这些事件背后,总能看到这些媒体的不光彩的影子。他们用肮脏的手,操纵着所谓的 “民意”

I always think that the people are not mobs and the youths are not angry. But as the media weigh in, with their usual exaggeration aimed at deliberately creating a sensation, the people become mobs and the youths became angry. This can be obviously reflected on the Internet, especially when the topic involves nationalism and moral judgement, which can easily become an “Internet mob” incident. The dishonored shadow of the press can be always found behind the curtain. They use their filthy hands to manipulate the so-called “public opinion”

最新事件的主角是孟广美,一名来自台湾的普通的电视节目主持人,几乎成为这种”民意”的又一个牺牲品。先是一家地方小报的”首席记者”,在一番断章取义、添油加醋之后,借所谓的”嘲笑内地人”这个民愤极大的话题,制造仇恨,煽动民意,发出第一份民族主义”追杀令”。然后经由门户网站别有用心的引导,地方小报立刻就拥有了全国影响力,追杀行为迅速演变成一场流氓和暴徒的狂欢

The latest episode is about Meng Guangmei, an ordinary Taiwan TV host, who almost would be the victim of such “public opinion”. First, there is one leading report of a local tabloid, with garbled and inflaming stories seeking to take advantage of the controversial topic of ” sneering at the Mandarin people” to incite hatred and resentment. It also issued a national fatwa, which was maliciously directed by some major websites and thus turned into the carnival of mobs and vagabonds, while the tabloid has gained national influence overnight.

媒体们不敢去监督政府,也不敢去监督企业,所以在这些祖宗面前,他们一会儿当儿子,一会儿装孙子,可一旦他们遇到类似赵薇、孟广美这样的弱女子,就立刻觉得自个儿成了老子。他们一而再再而三地在一些弱势的个体身上,施展他们无处施展的淫威,展示他们自以为是的道德和情操。而他们手中最好的武器,就是民族主义。民族主义常常成为这些媒体豢养的家犬,召之即来,挥之即去,屡试不爽。

The press dare not to be the watchdog against the government and companies. They sometimes act as timid sons and well-behaved grandsons of these “ancestors”. When encountering weak women like Meng Guangmei and Zhao Wei, they instantly feel that they are the fathers. They exert their primitive evil influence on these weak groups time and again, and their best weapon i s nationalism. It's a vicious dog fed by the press, waiting for the master's order.

2 comments

  • Funny, Liu Shaoqi’s wife was also named Guangmei and was violently criticized during the Cultural Revolution for being fastidious and Westernized.

  • @sedulia

    Liu’s wife is Guang1mei3 (guang1=light)

    Ms Meng is Guang3mei3 (guang3=broad/wide, same character as in guangzhou)

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