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5/7/08

China Journalist Fired For Criticizing Media Clampdown

China fired a prominant journalist because he "called on the government to allow more media freedom in covering the Tibet riots and to review its policy on Tibet". I can't find any other articles by Chang Ping because China usually doesn't provide the name of the author. But here's the article specifically cited for getting Ping fired: How To Find The Truth About Lhasa?

(ZonaEuropa)-"When the Lhasa incident occurred, rumors were spreading all over the streets even as the Chinese media kept its usual silence. For several days, the Chinese media only carried the brief bulletins and speeches from the leaders... But the people can tell from the strong condemnations of the Dalai Lama clique that this incident was no small thing, and therefore they set out to find out more. Based upon past experience, many people obtained the additional information from the overseas media. At around this time, several forum posts and videos that exposed fake reporting by overseas media appeared and gained popularity. This quickly became an Internet incident in which the Chinese citizens angrily condemned the western media...

From the viewpoint of journalistic professionalism, these errors were very wrong, even deliberately misleading. Although some media outlets have issued apologies and corrections, the damage from the inaccurate news was already done and the Chinese people find it hard to forgive... If in the reporting of the incident (as well as other major incidents), the Chinese media are not allowed to report freely and the overseas media are suspect, then where is the truth going to come from?

According to certain netizens who were exposing the fake reporting by overseas media, they want to use their action to show the truth about Lhasa to the world. This assertion is logically incorrect, because their actions can only let people see that the western media are not reporting the truth accurately...

When the news comes from a single exclusive source, I cannot say that it is fake but I cannot accept that it is true either. The overseas media have mostly described this as "the truth that the Chinese government has carefully scripted."... The anger is still spreading... Many netizens have gone to the opposite extreme end. They even began in the opposite direction from the first place: They do not care if the news is objective and fair; they do not care if the media hold certain positions; biases are not totally unacceptable; rather, the key is just which side you are on. If the netizens genuinely care about news values, they should not only be exposing the fake reports by the western media and they should also be challenging the control by the Chinese government over news sources and the Chinese media. There is no doubt that the harm from the latter is even worse than the former. When individual media outlets make fake reports about real events, it is easy to correct because just a few meticulous Chinese netizens can do the job. When media control is exercised by the state authorities, the whole world is helpless.

But I also see that many Chinese people have taken this opportunity to engage in broader discussions and deeper thinking. They found out that the bigotry of the western people against China is based upon a sense of cultural superiority. The warning message is that when the Han people are facing the ethnic minorities, do they also have the same cultural superiority that leads to bigotry?... If we use nationalism as the weapon to resist the westerners, then how can we persuade the ethnic minorities to abandon their nationalism and join the mainstream nation-building? The Dalai Lama asked the Chinese government to reassess him, so what kind of person is he really? Apart from the official government position, will the media be permitted to discuss the matter freely and uncover more truths?"

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