This Blog has been moving to iLook China. As the posts are moved and revised, they will be deleted here until only two remain.
There are two Chinas, and I’m not talking about Taiwan. I’m talking about the Communist Party, the only legitimate political party in China, and its membership of seventy million compared to the rest of China, the other 1.3 billion Chinese that have little or no say in the daily decisions made by the government.
“Beijing Today”, with a reported circulation of fifty thousand, is the capital of China’s only English weekly newspaper and is published under the auspices of the Information Office of the Beijing Municipal Government and run by Beijing Youth Daily. The Beijing Youth Daily newspaper, with a reported circulation of six hundred thousand, is controlled by the Communist Youth League.
It is no secret that the Communist government of China is notorious for altering historical facts to suit their purposes, and to censor others that disagree with the party-line.
In the multi-party democratic west, we call that censorship. In China it is an entirely different thing. It is saving face and maintaining dignity or increasing face by altering the facts a bit or a lot. It’s a case of a government making sure that the history books are all politically correct and paint only a positive, glowing image. Since losing face is embarrassing in China, don’t expect things to change soon. The Chinese have been like this for thousands of years.
The Chinese government is not in the business of telling the ‘real story’ to embarrass themselves. The Chinese doctor that reported the SARS epidemic now lives under house arrest, and it was debated if he should be executed or not.
My wife has said that in China when the government prints or says one thing, the rest of the people believe the opposite.
When Sterling Seagrave wrote ‘Dragon Lady’, refuting many of the facts in Chinese history textbooks still studied in Chinese public schools, he was denied entry into China using his American passport. Lucky him, he also had an Australian passport. He went anyway.
In “Around the Block” a memoir by Stephanie Elizondo Griest (she worked for one of the English language Communist Party publications in China at one time while living in Beijing), the Chinese people she worked with were proud of their self-censorship (doing what it takes to save face–my words, not Stephanie’s).
Filed under: China, Chinese Culture, media Tagged: | beijing today, communist party, communist youth league, Lloyd Lofthouse, media in china, sars, sars doctor, stephanie elizondo griest, sterling seagrave