It is important to put matters in the right perspective after the countless scintillating attacks by the mainly Western media (US, French, German and British dailies in particular) on China from the day China was awarded the Games. To their utmost disappointment, the provoking strategies did not succeed. In fact, it has clearly backfired as I could notice there were lots of supports and commendation of the people (other than the bias West) throughout the world on the successful hosting of the Olympics.
China must learn not to gauge its economic performance and social achievements based narrowly on Western myopic perceptions from its media and through its leaders, but to look at how it progressively raised the standard of living of the average Chinese. On that argument, I think the Chinese government has succeeded. Recognition from its people, particularly the 92% Han Chinese is more important.
I also strongly believe that the Chinese government has over the past decade laid down poverty eradicating programs to assist its minorities but somehow, the Tibetans and Uighurs have not responded wholeheartedly, as they were motivated to seek independence by the West. I personally think it will not succeed in the future but the West will always provide that glimmer of “false hope” in its one sided articles.
Ben Mah has written a very thoughtful and concise article on the Net and, with Ben’s permission, I would like to share this with you.
Western Media and Beijing Olympics
By Ben Mah
In an Op-ed column on January 24, 2008 in the New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof, former Times China correspondent and a Pulitzer winner termed the Beijing Games as “China’s genocide Olympics”. China, Mr. Kristof said, is tarnishing her “own Olympiad by abetting genocide in Darfur and in effect undermining the U.N. military deployment there.” He went further to continue his usual rhetoric without giving any concrete evidence: “There’s a growing recognition that perhaps the best way of averting hundreds of thousands more deaths in Sudan is to use the leverage of the Olympics to shame China into more responsible behavior.”
Had Mr. Kristof worked a little harder and studied the facts he would find the root cause of what he called Darfur genocide lay not on China, but his own government in Washington. Perhaps Mr. Kristof did not want to criticize his own country’s odious behavior.
After spending $1.2 billion in developing the oil field in Darfur, Chevron sold it to a consortium partly owned by a Chinese oil firm. The consortium assumed the development of the oil field with great success. However, Chevron remained in neighboring Chad and developed a close relationship with Idriss Deby, the corrupted president who is friendly to the United States.
Mr. Deby, with close military cooperation and assistance from the United States, equipped the Darfur rebels with modern U.S. weapons to fight the central government of Sudan and ignited the bloodbath in 2004.
The main fighting rebel group was the Sudan People’s Liberation Army headed by U.S trained John Garang. Thus, by supplying arms to the rebel groups, Washington put herself in the middle of the civil conflict that led to tens of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees in Sudan. This is obviously a resource war, as the Western oil company would love to get back the Darfur oil fields it sold.
Although as the main culprit of the Darfur conflict and, by rallying on propagandists like Mr. Kristof, Hollywood movie stars like Mia Farrow and director like Steven Spielberg, Washington conducted a vigorous campaign under the slogan of “Darfur genocide” and in the name of humanism to save the people of Darfur. Actually, the main objective was to prepare another battle ground for oil by sending UN/NATO forces into the Darfur oil fields. Washington’s strategy is to destabilize Sudan, as Sudan is now facing U.S. trained and equipped rebels from three neighboring states, all with governments friendly to America.
Mr. Kristof, without looking at the hard facts, claimed that “China is the largest arms suppliers to Sudan, officially selling $83 million in weapons, aircraft and spare parts to Sudan in 2005.”1. But according to the Chinese government, “China only accounted for 8 percent of the country’s arms imports in 2006, Russian and UK were the biggest arms exports to the developing nations, including Sudan.” Moreover, China’s exports were legally under the United Nations and only accounts for 3 percent of global sales, while the United Sates tops with 36 percent of the total, according to the U.S. Congressional reports in 2007. It turns out that the U.S. government is the merchant of death after all, and yet Mr. Kristof has the audacity to accuse China for underwriting the “ultimate crime of genocide.” Without any objectivity as a journalist, Mr. Kristof is totally blind to the complicity and the misdeeds of his own government and lays the blame on others. However, for those readers familiar with Mr. Kristof and other New York Times reporters’ dispatches from China, this was not a real surprise, for this newspaper always exaggerated every news event with bias and prejudice. This is another form of China bashing or demonizing China in the tradition of the nation’s premier newspaper.
Little less than a month after Mr. Kristof’s media campaign against China for Darfur genocide, another drive to discredit China in connection with the Olympics was under way in the United States, and this time on Beijing’s air quality or pollution in China. With six months to go before Olympics, U.S. correspondents from Beijing already asserted that with “Beijing’s air pollution on most days is off the charts, and in August, high humidity only exacerbates the problem.” Physicians from the U.S. Olympic team went to Beijing and measured pollution levels, and the readings were “awful”, according to this news report.
This campaign of attack on China in connection with the Olympics by the Western media was carried out right to the eve of the Opening Ceremony of the Games, as headline such as “Air Pollution Shrouds Beijing on the eve of Games”, were prevalent. It is not surprising that under this kind of unfair media attack, several American athletes arrived in China’s airport wearing face masks. Only they had to apologize to the Chinese hosts.
However, this media campaign was dismissed by the Chairman of the IOC medical commission, who said the air quality standards set by the World Health Organization were met in many respects by Beijing, although they were “fairly tough to meet.” He also said that WHO officials were concerned over the “exaggeration of the problem that has been seen in the media.” He said that “athletes in Beijing will face the same conditions of high heat and humidity that were prevalent in Atlanta in 1996 and Athens in 2004.”
Sadly for those harsh environmental critics of Beijing, the weather during the Olympics in Beijing was the best in 10 years and within Olympic standards. Expectedly, none of this was reported in the Western press.
Hypocrisy, willful oversight on the facts and the use of double standards in their news reports with regard to China are the hallmark of Western journalism, especially those from prominent U.S. newspapers and the major networks. This uniformed, arrogant and untruthful institution with unethical bias against China exposed itself more fully to the Chinese public in the March Tibetan Riot of 2008.
Using reports from Amnesty International, London-based human rights group, rather than relying on its own reporting, Western media portrayed criminal acts of violence, of crime against humanity, of looting and arson and beating in Lhasa as “China’s crackdown on protesters in Tibet.”
American politicians the likes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who rushed to meet the Dalai Lama in the wake of the Tibetan Riot, called for the president to boycott the opening ceremony. Thus, the Western media once again raised the possibility that the world leaders would boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games by mixing politics with the Games which is contrary to the spirit of Olympics.
However, much to the disappointment of the Western politicians the likes of Pelosi, Angela Merkel of Germany and the Western media, all their efforts against China were in vain, as “more than 100 heads of state, heads of government and sovereigns attended the opening ceremony. The number of heads of state who attended the opening ceremony was by far the largest in Olympic history.”
The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was described by some as “the greatest show the world ever seen and it brought joy that became delirious in a people of 1.3 billion”. However, this did not impress the current New York Times Correspondent, Mr. Jim Yardley in Beijing, as he only used two sentences to describe the ceremony, and devote the rest of his long dispatch to describe the smoggy skies, the security clamp down, the “possible terror threats”, a deserted city of about 15 million people, the four “Free Tibet” demonstrators, the several “well-known dissidents under house arrest”, and the 100,000 police and soldiers posted around the city. On this occasion, he also reminded his readers that China’s Olympic bid was rejected 15 years ago, but he conveniently forgot to disclose the fact that in the 2000 Olympic bid the “deciding votes turned out to have essentially been bought.” If it wasn’t for the corrupted process, China would have held the Games eight years ago.
Only four days after the spectacular opening ceremony, the Western press stirred up another controversy, and this time was the authenticity of a tiny part of the production. It turned out that on the request of the broadcaster to ensure broadcast quality, both the music and part of the fireworks were pre-recorded. Using lip-synching technology, the girl who did the performance was actual using another girl’s voice. Although the lip-synch technology and video-clip were invented in the West, and it is commonly put to use as in the case of the popular movie “The Sound of Music” and others, China was severely criticized for doing the same thing. To the Chinese organizers of the ceremony, this was “to achieve the best performance.” But to the Western press, as best represented by The Times of London, this was “The counterfeit Games: designed to look good from every angle.” Another added: “The switch was hardly the first case of lip-synching, but was ‘possibly the cruelest’” They wanted to create another scandal and stir up sympathy for the child. Much to their disappointment, the parents of the children refused to let their daughters to be interviewed, as “each felt privileged just to have taken part.”
Nonetheless, the relentless vitriolic attack continued. As a matter fact, the campaign against China began right from the day China was awarded the Games. Human right, Tibet, pollution and most astonishingly, genocide were some of the issues used to demonize China, despite the fact that China has never committed genocide. Unlike the Americans, who should be accused of such a crime, as she initiated aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan, resulting in over millions of innocent civilian deaths and several millions of refugees. Yet there were no outcry of genocide from the Western media and journalists such as Kristof and his New York Times colleagues. What hypocrites!
To many Chinese it is rather puzzling that China after a century of suffering humiliation from the Western imperial powers still receives scorn and unwarranted criticism from the Western media. Partly one can attribute it to racism, as Western society is generally a racist society. But more importantly, Western countries are now experiencing job losses due to outsourcing and increased competitions from China. Consequently, most of this anger and frustration of the working people are now directed at China. China bashing becomes a popular sport and the media is taking advantage of this kind of environment.
Therefore to avoid being the target of unreasonable bashing and maintaining its own independence and dignity, China must abandon using trade as the main driver of her national development. China must concentrate her energy to develop her internal economy, create