“How not to report the news in China”

Unfortunately, thanks to China’s hallowed tradition of valuing harmony ueber alles, I cannot read this article, but based on this source (have to watch an ad to read it) I’m betting it’s well worth a glance. Maybe someone can cut-paste it into the comments? Or maybe someone can tell me how to set up tor without bringing my browser to its knees.

By the way, dinner last night was awesome. Thanks to all 12 who came on zero notice – this should become a once-a-quarter ritual, though maybe we should find a restaurant that’s easier to find.

The Discussion: 12 Comments

Always glad to help:

“Trade-offs” Of China Entry
Posted by Jonathan Ansfield :: 2007-02-08, 04:07 AM :: Biganzi (±Ê¸Ë×Ó)

The floodgates are open. The ground rules have softened. But not all the correspondents coming to China ahead of the Olympics can take full advantage. In October last year, the Foreign Desk editor of one media outlet emailed the following memo to his Greater China staff. Biganzi happened upon it and on checking with an employee, has certified the contents as genuine. The name of the organization has been X’d out, but it’s not hard to guess its place of origin.

Subject: China Stories
Importance: High
Sensitivity: Confidential

Hi All,

I’m sure it is no surprise to all of you that XXX’s landing in China comes with several trade-offs. It was sometime ago (January) that we last talked about these issues. I know each of you has your own beliefs and perspective about what we report – but there is a channel position.

So let me take this opportunity to remind all of you (editors, producers and correspondents) of three areas that are “off-limits”.

1) Falungong – everything from stories about protests to showing their mike collar at press conferences
2) Tiananmen – it has been 16 years, there is no need to link news stories to this, and no need to use phrase “massacre/crackdown”
3) Long Hair – we do not run footage of, or sound bites from, [HK political activist] Leung Kwok Hung, especially wearing his Che Guevera T-shirt

These are specific no-nos and to me this makes them easier to avoid.

On a broader and more subjective canvas, we also need to avoid upsound of anti-Beijing chants and showing anti-Beijing banners that might be seen during demonstrations like the one at Taipei airport. This is more difficult. Correspondents and producers need to be alert. We should also avoid going out of our way to do anti-China stories eg worsening pollution, export of prostitution, the adoption business involving Chinese babies, negative stories about China’s Olympic preparation etc.

But herein lies our dilemma, this is a dynamic situation/relationship, and the out-of-bounds markers are constantly moving – both inwards and outwards.

So where there is a doubt, call me and discuss the subject, the visuals etc. There are sometimes currents abroad and domestically that you may not be aware off. So apart from the 3 topics listed above, we will generally decided coverage and treatment on a case-by-case basis.

I hope this helps. If you would like to discuss any of this, please feel free to call me.

Appreciate if this email is not forwarded to anyone.

February 10, 2007 @ 12:44 pm | Comment

I can usually get CDT open with Anonymouse. I’ve seen some say it’s blocked in some places, but works here in Guangzhou.

February 10, 2007 @ 3:50 pm | Comment

Thanks Kevin. Is anyone surprised?

And thanks for reminding me about anonymouse. It opened, albeit sllooowly.

February 10, 2007 @ 6:06 pm | Comment

Hehe, there’s always something to guarantee you a good laugh in the Chinese press!

February 10, 2007 @ 7:32 pm | Comment

Did anyone of you try the FF extension Gladder ?

Any good ? (I don’t have to try it, since i’m not in China)

February 10, 2007 @ 8:23 pm | Comment

Any thoughts on the identity of the XXX’d-out “unnamed entity?”

Ps…Hey Kevin! I see you finally made it out of Dodge! 😉

February 10, 2007 @ 10:34 pm | Comment

I expect nothing more from a Chinese newspaper or tv channel than that they abide by these rules and censor themselves, saving the government the trouble. But this coming from a western country (if I’m not misunderstanding)… shocking. I did not expect this, ever.

February 11, 2007 @ 12:53 am | Comment

This is truly outrageous. The trade-off ought to be that the world’s media gets the chance to denounce these wankers in return for covering the games.

I’m astonished (perhaps I shouldn’t be) that CCP bullying is being rewarded with such alacrity. Tiananmen “off-limits”? Since when is the truth “off-limits” to journalists (or anyone else)?

February 11, 2007 @ 1:11 am | Comment

Richard, I find proxzee to generally be faster than Anonymouse, though unlike Anonymouse proxzee zaps URLs into oblivion, which can be frustrating.

February 11, 2007 @ 1:22 am | Comment

I’m astonished (perhaps I shouldn’t be) that CCP bullying is being rewarded with such alacrity. Tiananmen “off-limits”? Since when is the truth “off-limits” to journalists (or anyone else)?

Posted by: Stuart

I’m not surprised that Tiananmen is off limits, but Long Hair? Leung Kwok-hung is off-limits? tee hee. A Western station won’t run images and words of a democratically elected Legislator? Given the limitations of the usual suspects on US Sunday morning bobblehead shows, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

February 11, 2007 @ 11:22 am | Comment

Hello. Wish there had been a terrorist attack on the dinner. Blogging then better in my country.

And finally learning Chinese? Ha.

February 17, 2007 @ 11:29 am | Comment

Wow, Han Fan, what a great comment. Thanks for sharing.

About Chinese – I’ve been studying it from the day I arrived in Asia, but can only study after work.

Again, great comment. You are a real classy guy.

February 17, 2007 @ 11:35 am | Comment

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