Reporters in China, watch out

This just out from the Foreign Correspondents Club:

Dear Members,

Recently some foreign correspondents have been detained, harassed and physically roughed up — two incidents Tuesday alone. The FCCC board thought you’d want to hear about what happened. One of the journalists who experienced problems had not been aware of previous problems in the area; information such as this therefore might help you plan your travels.

Here are summaries of yesterday’s developments….

1) Barbara Luthi, correspondent for Swiss TV and her cameraman and local assistant were roughed up and detained for seven hours in Shengyou Village, Dingzhou County, Baoding City, Hebei Province on
20th November. One of their tapes was erased by the authorities. They had been interviewing villagers at the site of a land dispute in 2005 that resulted in a pitched battle that claimed six lives. “I have been interrogated by police before, but this was on a whole different scale,” said Luethi. “It is the first time I have been physically beaten.”

She said six cars drove up containing 10-12 men,who claimed to be local villagers. She believes they were plain
clothes police. Two of their cars did not have number plates. They were “quite brutal”, twisting her arm painfully, grabbing a camera and bags. In the struggle that followed Luethi fell to the ground.

The issue was eventually resolved when the men who detained them called local foreign affairs bureau, who were “ok”.

2) Mathias Braschler & Monika Fischer, Swiss photographers were detained for three hours in Wuchang, southern area of Wuhan on 20 November. They were being told about a property dispute.

Residents told them they had been beaten up and threatened. Braschler and Fischer were only talking to locals. They didn’t even have a chance to even take camera out of the car when uniformed police arrived.They were held in a police station off Heping road. There was no violence, no property confiscated. But they were held back when they tried to return to their car. It was the third time the couple have been detained during their travels around China. They said it was the most unpleasant experience.” They were much rougher in the way they treated us,” said Braschler.

“After two hours, we said we are just going to leave. Then the chief of police came. He was very unfriendly and threatened to detain us for12 hours if we didn’t go back to police station. He seriously threatened us. They said we couldn’t go until they checked us.Eventually someone from foreign affairs department of police came,said all fine, wanted to invite us to lunch to clarify. We said no.Then they got tough again. They said they want to check all our film, cameras and notebook. I said two options – either we are free so we can go. Or we are arrested so we call the swiss embassy. Eventually they let us go.”

It’s a nice place to live over on on this side of the tracks. But it’s still China, it’s still a thugocracy, and there are still huge holes in the legal system that let goons, plunderers and murderers off the hook. It really is getting better (I’ve been tracking these stories for years, and since 2003 there’s been a steady drop in the number), which means it’s maybe gone from zero to three on a scale of zero to ten. Or maybe it just means the media’s gotten complacent.

The Olympics are a stone’s throw away, and stories like this could turn what the government plans to be the most spectacular dog and pony show of all time into a global media roast of heavy-handed old-fashioned communist thuggery. Nine more months. Tick-tock, tick-tock….

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 95 Comments

So you really wanna get back to “the topic”? Okay.
It seems this story about the Chinese Communist propaganda organs bullying foreign journalist has been picked up by a number of other media, but they all seem to cite Richard as the original source.

So what was this story, really, Richard? A “press release” you received from the Central Propaganda Department, as their way of planting the story? Their way of indirectly (and thus, more effectively) instilling some fear into foreign journalists?

Very smooth tactic, that would be.

November 24, 2007 @ 4:42 pm | Comment

@Ivan,

I can’t believe you’ve finally said that. You are practically telling the Emperor that he has no clothes on. You are dead, man.

November 24, 2007 @ 5:52 pm | Comment

Nanhe said, “Blog updated, indulge yourself!”

Thanks a billion, mate.

Please check my comment.

November 24, 2007 @ 5:55 pm | Comment

truth is like a beggar
who comes up to you and says
“hey man, would you like to contribute to a fund for alcoholics”

November 24, 2007 @ 6:34 pm | Comment

Don’t be so silly. Today’s world is a global world. It is globalization and commercialization. If you can make money and attract investment, you will be number one. Look at how fast the foreign firnancial companies are moving to China, like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Citigroup, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, UBS, Credit Suisse, Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Deustche Bank, ABN. Technology companies like Microsoft, Intel, Motorola, Google, Yahoo, Sun, AMD, Cisco, Oracle, Linksys, Netgear, etc. Car companies like GM, Ford, Toyota, Daimler-Chrysler, BMW, Benz, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubushi.

November 25, 2007 @ 5:06 am | Comment

Ivan, that comment about this being a CCP “press release” designed to frighten reporters reaches new heights of ignorance. The FCCC is made up of foreign journalists, and they sent this email, which could only infuriate the CCP, which wants these stories contained, not publicized. It will do nothing to frighten or stop reporters from doing their jobs. Most good reporters like to go after stories with an element of risk, as it often leads to better scoops (think of all the embedded reporters in Iraq despite the many deaths). So your labeling this as a tactic designed by the party to make reporters more timid is simply false. I know many members of the FCCC and there’s not much love lost between them and the party – this email only makes the Party look bad, while giving reporters lots of ideas for stories.

Maybe I should end comments on this site altogether. When the participants are so deranged with a point of view that they invent fantasies and surrender self control we know the conversation isn’t going to go anywhere.

November 25, 2007 @ 11:37 am | Comment

Richard, I remember you used to agree with Ivan, Fat Cat, Nanhe, snow, etc. You used to be in their group, that is the reason to start this blog. But after you spent time in China and with the gentle and kind Chinese people and experienced the Chinese society deeply. You developed love for China, just like Lisa, and love for its people, culture, history, food, society, etc. And now you are a friend of China just like Lisa. Ivan and Fat Cat and Snow and Nanhe are not friends of China. Richard, now you understand that “anti-China” is not a lie by brainswashed Chinese, there are really anti-China people that exist in the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinophobia

Ivan, Fat Cat, Nanhe, Snow: I asked you guys seek medication before for the above condition, why delay it? I have a number for a famous doctor that treats this sickness.

November 25, 2007 @ 7:04 pm | Comment

Hongxing, I have plenty of problems with China and I will always hate any one-party system. Unfortunately, they (the CCP) aren’t going away, and if they were there is nothing to replace them, so we had better make do with what we have, while calling them out on their sins as they are committed. Meanwhile, I can never, ever forgive you, HX, for your slander of Sun Zhigong and your eagerness to propagandize for evil causes, like smearing a victim when the party commits atrocities.

November 25, 2007 @ 7:12 pm | Comment

@ Richard, “Hongxing, I have plenty of problems with China and I will always hate any one-party system. Unfortunately, they (the CCP) aren’t going away, and if they were there is nothing to replace them, so we had better make do with what we have”

…yeah, but Richard, as you live in Beijing and work under the power of the CCP, you don’t just “have” them. They “have” YOU!

November 25, 2007 @ 9:34 pm | Comment

PS, Richard wrote:

“Maybe I should end comments on this site altogether”

Yep. Sounds like the CCP have really made you afraid. Go ahead, Richard, go ahead and end all comments on your site, and then you will never need to be afraid of the CCP Propaganda Department who – at this time – control your career and everything you write, as long as you are their guest (and their servant) in Beijing.

November 25, 2007 @ 9:39 pm | Comment

Ivan, what’s up? I didn’t end comments, everyone still has his soapbox here. I just hate to hear so much hostility, especially from people who have literally no idea what they are talking about. Look at the post attached to this thread. Yes, it’s quite clear that I am shaking in fear of the CCP, and they totally control me. If that were the case, I would have closed this site a year ago. You have literally no idea what you are talking about. I also want to politely request that you desist from making hostile personal comments about me.

November 25, 2007 @ 9:47 pm | Comment

Yes, I am a true puppet of the CCP:

t’s a nice place to live over on on this side of the tracks. But it’s still China, it’s still a thugocracy, and there are still huge holes in the legal system that let goons, plunderers and murderers off the hook. It really is getting better (I’ve been tracking these stories for years, and since 2003 there’s been a steady drop in the number), which means it’s maybe gone from zero to three on a scale of zero to ten. Or maybe it just means the media’s gotten complacent.

No wonder they’ve appointed me Minister of English-language Blog Propaganda.

November 25, 2007 @ 9:49 pm | Comment

Richard wrote, sarcastically:

“Yes, it’s quite clear that I am shaking in fear of the CCP, and they totally control me. If that were the case, I would have closed this site a year ago.”

No. That’s not how the Communist Party works, and you know it. The sign of their successful campaign of putting fear into you, is not to silence you, but instead to compromise you into self-censorship, going through superficial motions of “criticising” the CCP (and even in Stalin’s Russia, a small zone of acceptable “criticism” was PROMOTED!) – while you carry on propagandising for them and their so-called “China Miracle” in EXACTLY the way they want you to do.

You see, Richard, I DO understand the Communist Party all too well, even more than you do. (Remember, I have lived in Communist and post-Communist countries for a lot longer than you, Richard.) I DO understand their subtleties, all too well. And that is how and why I can see that you have become one of their willing tools, all the more so as you have convinced yourself that your understanding of the Communist Party is more “subtle” and “sophisticated” than others.

But Richard, I have spent far more time in Communist and post-Communist nations than you, so you can’t cop out and say I have no idea of what I’m talking about, when I talk about the ways of Leninist-Communist propaganda.

November 25, 2007 @ 10:09 pm | Comment

Snow said,

“Thats why I always say that its no good to lump the CCP and Chinese people (China) together, the country can be fine and the people are fine, they are just under a really brutal regime that controls waaay too much…”

I agree but it is difficult when brainwashed Chinese lump themselves and the CCP together.

November 25, 2007 @ 10:41 pm | Comment

Ivan, you may have lived in a Communist country, but so have millions of others, many for much longer than you have. Does that make them all scholars on Communism? Meanwhile, I still hate Communism. I still dislike most aspects of the CCP. But China is doing better today despite the CCP, and no matter how many temper tantrums and fits you throw, China’s success is here to stay, in all likelihood for many, many decades to come. Again, not because of the party but because of the irrepressible Chinese people. In all seriousness, would you like to put money down on it? And why can’t you see that saying this is not an endorsement of communism? It is simply the reality of China today, and I know that many close and personal friends of mine – some of them virulently opposed to their government – are doing way better than they were even 5 years ago when I first met them, lifted up in the rising tide of China’s progress. It’s like you’re seeing a horse cross a finish line and insisting that horse didn’t really win. I think it’s safe to say that no one – literally no one – who has lived here for many years and who really knows a braod swath of Chinese people, both in the big cities and the smaller towns, would say China has not improved amazingly in recent years. I know about the imprisoned web essayists and the brutality against the disenfranchised. None of that changes the simple factual statement that the vast majority of people’s lives have greatly improved. But now I’m just repeating the same points I made earlier in this thread, which for some reason you can’t acknowledge although they are a matter of fact and not perception. I hate communism. China has done better in recent years. Why can’t I say that without being called a shill for the CCP?

November 25, 2007 @ 11:11 pm | Comment

Or how about this: Japan’s invasion of China was an “economic activity” too. So it was better than no activity, right?

Posted by: Ivan at November 24, 2007 12:39 PM

—————————————
then 911 must be another “economic activity”.

November 26, 2007 @ 12:46 am | Comment

@Richard:

The CCP may have being doing better for a while, but now there is a lot of backsliding into totalitarian behavior, amplified nationalism and the utter catastrophe that is the environmental situation.

@ HongXing:

There is nothing gentle about Chinese people, they are a mob looking for blood on the street for entertainment. Gangs of Chinese men attack one foreigner to prove “superiority” and due to jealousy because Chinese girls prefer foreign men.

November 26, 2007 @ 12:48 am | Comment

Bert,

I agree with you, and that’s why it has gotten to be the way it is. Most people are “brainwashed” And I don’t mean that each person has been tied to a tiger bench and tortured and had their eye balls stuck open with bamboo stickes forced to watch CCP shows, BUT, the essence is what I’m talking about… This type of things HAS happened to ALOT of people. Also, when the party owns all the media, well, you can imagine peoples thinking will be controlled if the owner wants to control the people (and all smart people realize they do)

Maybe you know what I’m getting at… I’m trying to say that the communist propaganda machine is spread far and wide. First, the party contrives that it is somehow legitimate and totally covers up for its crimes by either justifying them or pretending that they never occured (usually both), Then the party pushes out the false propaganda to communities all over the world and media all over the world and political etc leaders all ovwr the world.

That is why for example the PARTY LINE: TO LOVE THE PARTY IS TO LOVE CHINABert,

I agree with you, and that’s why it has gotten to be the way it is. Most people are “brainwashed” And I don’t mean that each person has been tied to a tiger bench and tortured and had their eye balls stuck open with bamboo stickes forced to watch CCP shows, BUT, the essence is what I’m talking about… This type of things HAS happened to ALOT of people. Also, when the party owns all the media, well, you can imagine peoples thinking will be controlled if the owner wants to control the people (and all smart people realize they do)

Maybe you know what I’m getting at… I’m trying to say that the communist propaganda machine is spread far and wide. First, the party contrives that it is somehow legitimate and totally covers up for its crimes by either justifying them or pretending that they never occured (usually both), Then the party pushes out the false propaganda to communities all over the world and media all over the world and political etc leaders all ovwr the world.

That is why for example the PARTY LINE: TO LOVE THE PARTY IS TO LOVE CHINA< TO LOVE CHINA IS TO LOVE THE PARTY, has so widely been drilled into peoples minds everywhere. People do not understand the process of getting people to think that, they just accept it. Yo uknow in brainwash labour camps the people have to watch all osrts of programs, I saw on a documentary, the women prisoners were being "reformed" by singing songs like 'without the party there would be no new China' and people made to believe that if the party is sustained and propped up for a hundred or so more years, then China will be well off, and they are made to believe that if the party falls, there will be chaos, as if it werent bad enough! Anyway, gotta go... Down with the CCP, why the heck not???? Richard would you say the same about North Koreas Kim Jong "Unfortunately, they (the CCP) aren't going away, and if they were there is nothing to replace them, so we had better make do with what we have, while calling them out on their sins as they are committed." Calling people on their sins is great. but theres more to it then just that right? Peace

November 26, 2007 @ 2:25 am | Comment

“Most people are “brainwashed” And I don’t mean that each person …This type of things HAS happened to ALOT of people. Also, when the [government] owns all the media,”

Totally agree with you…”Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!” And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave. O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave… paid for with our truth embargo, economic sanctions, and carpet bombings….Everybody can see it, except for the brainwashed self righteous people who dare ignorantly preach of bravery, freedom, justice and with gungho indignation, finger point at the sins of others.

There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly becomes any one of us to talk about the rest of us.

November 26, 2007 @ 7:25 am | Comment

1) Richard? A “press release” you received from the Central Propaganda Department, as their way of planting the story? (You know this idiot? Why does he keeps calling you his friend?)

2) Gangs of Chinese men attack one foreigner to prove “superiority” (Poetic justice? Nah, we are Still light years from what White America do to the colored folks worldwide)

3) Chinese girls prefer foreign men (Percentage wise, you don’t have a chance.)

4) Africans are caged monkeys(That was exactly how the America slave traders treated Africans)

5) Chinese look more like monkeys (you either are indoctrinated against Yellow Fever or you’re impotent or already married.)

6) Chinese people are brainwashed (no more/worse than westerners I dare say.)

7)Beijing really is a big Potemkin village(Using a hackneyed busted myth – stop exhibiting your ignorance, it’s embarrassing!)

8) No, I do NOT agree with Nanhe,that China should be quarantined and punished. (about the sanest thing written so far, but then) … I do not want to see China become any weaker than it is now.[talk about 猫哭老鼠-pure hipocrasy]

Diagnosis and remedy: Richard, now you understand that “anti-China” is not a lie by brainswashed Chinese, there are really anti-China people that exist in the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinophobia

Ivan, Fat Cat, Nanhe, xiaonanhe, Snow: I asked you guys seek medication before for the above condition, why delay it? I have a number for a famous doctor that treats this sickness.
HongXing at November 25, 2007 07:04 PM

November 26, 2007 @ 9:44 am | Comment

China is doing so well that Wen Jiabao has to keep asking Beijing citizens whether they can afford eating meat lately.

This indisputable reality of China’s “success” has triggered a deluge of complaints at an online forum dedicated to the Prime Minister’s comment.

Let’s have a look at what these ungrateful netizens want to say:

“It’s a show!!! I get 800RMB a month, so after paying for the rent, I can hardly afford the regular meals!!! How can I think of meat!??? I am a university graduate!!~”

“Why is that the consumer prices are almost the same in different regions, but the salary gap is so large? The minimum pension is more than 1000RMB in big cities but in the small and medium cities it would be only 600 or 700RMB. It’s so unfair.”

“We workers of enterprises in Xinjiang province are on a salary of 700-900RMB a month. Even though the consumer prices are soaring, our wages do not increase any more. How can we live a life now? The only choice is only eating vegetables. Meat? We can think of it in the night dreams.”

(English translation c/o Global Voices Online)

Solution to this problem: take the Internet away from those trouble-making city dwellers. They can’t be that poor if they can afford to use computers. I didn’t hear any farmer making any complaint at any online forums. So the farmers must be doing OK. In any case, if a Beijing citizen can’t afford to eat meat, he can always pick up a double cheeese burger from McDonald’s and wash it down with a cappuccino from Starbuck. Problems solved.

November 26, 2007 @ 10:23 am | Comment

There is just so much to read here I don’t even know where to end it.

NOBODY LIKES REPORTER PERIOD. If a reporter started to howl at ma for some retarted reason I would say “sooh sooh Newspaper monkey. Look a man having sex with a woman and one of them is below voting age”

Japan never got of it’s feet as somebody here mentioned. Right now China is expriencing what Japan went threw…..becoming a society that is not theres…. and there was many suicides over the way things was turning out in Japan over this.

Japan as everybody knows dislikes outsiders and
thinks too big of it’s self for years. They were forced into trade and went threw a post apocolyptic state which is now there present state.

The turth is Japan aviods change and prevent outsides ” the enemy ” from enlisting change.

CHINA NEEDS TO PRESERVE ITSELF WHILE ADOPTING FOREIGN IDEALS.

I believe we need more people inside who will actually tell what is going on.

I am just speaking out of context but…..

WE NEED TOURIST. We need the parents going on tours with there children, the guy who is looking for some underage nook nook, The college students going on a world tour, Ryu and Ken, the photo jounalists, the sickos, the fat cat women who is buying the apartments where “villages” is being torned down. We need them all.

STOP BUYING FROM THE WESTERN SCUM. We make the stuff they buy. They know it and the worst thing anybody can do is buy the stuff you make.

WE NEED TO HAVE A CLEAN IMAGE AND BE OURSELVES.

Right now when i think of china I am not going to think about the yellow river, the great wall, the monks, and so forth but the images of a aged woman lying on a matress in the streets with a Hello Kitty shirt on and the daugther crying next to her.

The burning of the black hotel form cell phones images along with the 3d art from newpapers.

Then miles and miles of ” villagers ” going to work in bright orange uniforms putting together celluar phones and game controllers.

Then a gang of children attacking people is not new. I would just fight it out being that hey it is normal and hey they come out like cockroaches when one is threathened.

Westerners are so brainwashed they spend there whole lives in sadness living for nothing while only a few live for there families sake.

Africans are not monkies but the British long arm there is. If you could ask anybody from Hong Kong who grewed up with barely anything I am sure they will tell you about how all the jobs was giving to europeans and even if they did hard jobs they get paided lower.

About African human monkies the only black skinned ones are in the USA. What is even worst is that they have nothing into there adult years so terribley that they will still be lower bottom feeding trash in there old years.

EASTERN ASIAN PEOPLE excluding Russia and Japan treat there own like crap. If you treat somebody like crap they are going to be crap. In China it is literrally a dog eat dog world.

I have no idea what China and the rest of the Jackie Chan Gang is going to about the current situtation all I can say is that you need to become the source to do anything.

I see a big brother/sister picking on little brother/sister situtation. That is all I can really see and Mother China is this woman on the death bed. Little brother/sister is going to punch big brother/sister one day and mother China can’t say or do anything about it while watching her life go down the drain.

China is not dead. China is great place and all it needs is to look at it’s strenghts and use them like anywhere else.

All I hope is that China will not turn into this exprimental metropolis where money talks and bullshite walks or whatever the saying is.

About American bieng concerned. Hey the Twin Towers thing along with you know what from 2001-2005 of massive confusion and then to see not only China but India and places in Africa be in a Westernized state rather then there true commercial like state is a shock………………………………Then most Americans still think that Mexico is mules and chickens and not Universities and Malls.

Then in another five year they will forget everything like they do while some will die off and
life will continue on. The thing is life especially with the crap you intake can be short and to be honest the best fun was and is when you was 12-25 and after that everything we call fun is a mere joke.

I say we all go back to our lives and if anybody can do anything about the China bulldozerization problem or whatever anybody like to call it then do it.

Wow a country in 20XX actually ran people over with tanks who was protesting quote “Shoot Right Here” “Freedom or Death”

November 26, 2007 @ 12:31 pm | Comment

1) Richard? A “press release” you received from the Central Propaganda Department, as their way of planting the story? (You know this idiot? Why does he keeps calling you his friend?)

Richard is a conduit for frustrated Chinese in MinTruth.

2) Gangs of Chinese men attack one foreigner to prove “superiority” (Poetic justice? Nah, we are Still light years from what White America do to the colored folks worldwide)

And what about what non-Americans were doing to each other before the US? Before western Europe? China has certainly killed more than its share of eastern, southern and central Asians during the past 5000 years. And why do you assume the foreigner is American? Why not European, African (they certainly their share of attacks from angry, frustrated Chinese men), or THE JAPANESE!

3) Chinese girls prefer foreign men (Percentage wise, you don’t have a chance.)

Cause there aren’t enough foreign men in China to scoop up the singles and not enough foreign couples to adopt all of the baby girls at any one time. But we’re working on it.

4) Africans are caged monkeys(That was exactly how the America slave traders treated Africans)

So you as a Chinese consider Africans to be monkeys? Typical. And now it is China’s turn to plunder Africa.

5) Chinese look more like monkeys (you either are indoctrinated against Yellow Fever or you’re impotent or already married.)

?Que?

6) Chinese people are brainwashed (no more/worse than westerners I dare say.)

I can google lots of sites about how bad Cheney, Bush, corporations, Big Oil, etc are. Lots of western TV shows make fun of their own societies. No such shows in thin-skinned China.

7)Beijing really is a big Potemkin village(Using a hackneyed busted myth – stop exhibiting your ignorance, it’s embarrassing!)

Beijing is a big pile of smelly crap and car exhaust. I find it amusingly ironic that Beijing plunged HeBei province into a pollution nightmare to clean the city up for foreingers 20 years ago and now chokes on that same wind-blown pollution plus car exhaust.

8) No, I do NOT agree with Nanhe,that China should be quarantined and punished. (about the sanest thing written so far, but then) … I do not want to see China become any weaker than it is now.[talk about 猫哭老鼠-pure hipocrasy]

Punish China with a rubber hose. China.

November 26, 2007 @ 1:58 pm | Comment

here’s how much Africans like China:
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7111206.stm

November 26, 2007 @ 2:09 pm | Comment

@Mutton-on-a-stick,

Learn to read first before commenting will ya?

Typical indeed.

Posted by: Ivan at November 24, 2007 12:31 PM
“That’s analogous to saying, “Handing an automatic pistol to a monkey and setting him loose in a shopping mall is better than keeping the monkey unarmed and in a cage.”
Hey, if someone would charge money for making a movie of that monkey-with-a-pistol on a rampage, then the monkey’s “activity” would be “economic!”Posted by this idiot: Ivan at November 24, 2007 12:31 PM

November 26, 2007 @ 10:20 pm | Comment

Learn to read first before commenting will ya, redneck?

“These tall tales originated with the Saxon envoy to Catherine’s court, Georg von Helbig, who was not, safe to say, Potemkin’s bud. Von Helbig did not make the trip to the Crimea, but in his diplomatic dispatches (and in a Potemkin biography completed almost a decade after the man’s death in 1791) he evidently passed along gossip circulating in the Russian capital at Saint Petersburg.

Shows you the power of the written word.

In reality Potemkin did in fact build the fleet, arsenal, ports, and so on that dazzled Catherine’s court. But thanks to von Helbig’s coinage “Potemkin villages”, the prince’s name is known to posterity as a synonym for sham. “Cecil Adams

November 26, 2007 @ 10:33 pm | Comment

They say third time lucky. Maybe I can get thru your thick skull this time….but I seriously doubt it.

“I can google lots of sites about how bad Cheney, Bush, corporations, Big Oil, etc are. Lots of western TV shows make fun of their own societies.”Posted by: nanheyangrouchuan at November 26, 2007 01:58 PM

“By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, [journalism] keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.”
–Oscar Wilde

“You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time. So open up the floodgate of information and let the people swim, struggle & drown in the torrents while we tend to the plundering of mines & fields of earth’s fortune.”

“Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another.”

“The rich are the scum of the earth in every country.”
–G. K. Chesterton

November 26, 2007 @ 11:23 pm | Comment

HKonger:

Apparently you didn’t read the whole article, which is not surprising consider who you are.

November 26, 2007 @ 11:47 pm | Comment

@nanheyangrouchuan ,

Wrong, wrong and wrong again.
I not only have read the whole article, I have discussed it with my journalist friend. I even commented on it. Furthermore, I agree with richard that it was unjust and also with Raj that the foreign media won’t back off but at the same time I disagree with the over zealous linking of an incident in Hebei or anything in this country for that matter to the Beijing Olympics. Richard and Raj are fair-minded and smart people unlike China-baiters like you & your mindless delinquent lot who, out of spite, slander and wish only to see China fail. FYI, there are many more who don’t. Many whom, like me, have come to know, understand and appreciate China & its people. And no, that doesn’t automatically mean that we’ve been bought; its call being human and being real.

Here we don’t preach freedom, we actually enjoy freedom. I feel a lot safer in China then I did in LA, NYC, Sydney or London.

Incidentally, the west is not your friend, protector nor emancipator; not even for most people born there where power lies in “the wealth of the nation,” the more capable class of men so to speak, the elites – the top 4% – just not the people anyway.

November 27, 2007 @ 6:27 am | Comment

Hkonger,

I challenge you to find a comment on this thread that’s related to the Olympic Games.

Richard is the first one who is linking the Swiss journalists’ incident to the Games. If you read his original post, this is how it reads, “The Olympics are a stone’s throw away, and stories like this could turn what the government plans to be the most spectacular dog and pony show of all time into a global media roast of heavy-handed old-fashioned communist thuggery. Nine more months. Tick-tock, tick-tock….”

I can’t speak for others, but I’ve discussed Richard’s post with Ivan over private email exchange. We both agreed that this association was not only over the top but would possibly backfire badly. That’s the main reason why we are throwing out baits of all kinds to see how far and for how long we can stop commenters from making the association. Apart from Raj, HKonger, you are the only one who is attempting to make this association.

And of course we received the usual name-calling ritual from the pathetic utra-nationalists. Nothing new under the sun, really. I think by now many regular TPD readers would have worked out this vilification pattern. So there’s no need for me to explain.

Read my comment where I quote from Diana Preston’s book on the Boxer Rebellion. Read also Ivan’s comment that starts with this sentence: “So you really wanna get back to “the topic”? ” Meditate on them and perhaps one day you’ll have a better idea who is spreading propaganda, who are the wilful collaborators and who is telling the truth.

November 27, 2007 @ 9:49 am | Comment

Fat Cat, you think my association with press beatings and how China will be perceived during the Olympics is “over the top”? I think it is totally rational – this is why they are supposedly lifting media restrictions for the big event, so that the world sees how bright and sunny and freedom-loving China is. That’s why I call it a dog and pony show. Don’t you think that’s exactly what it is, a rather cynical bid to show the world China is serene and harmonious? Reporters beaten to a pulp can mar this lovely image. Do you agree with me or do you think I am being over the top?

Thank God I am the only one here who is over the top. Everyone else is so polite and respectful and realistic. Richard really is a fanatical nutcase.

November 27, 2007 @ 11:17 am | Comment

@ Richard, “Reporters beaten to a pulp can mar this lovely image”

That’s exactly why the Central Propaganda Department is using this tactic of instilling fear in reporters, many months before August 2008, as a prophylactic against needing to beat up reporters during the games. It’s most effective to make maximum use of just a few beatings, well in advance of the time – and part of maximising that use is to disseminate the story through the Party propaganda machine’s own special American Public Relations man in Beijing.

“Prophylactica”, oldest trick in the Leninist book of information control.

November 27, 2007 @ 11:34 am | Comment

I would actually look at this situation as yet another example of the fractured authority of political power in China – the central government versus the provinces – but maybe that’s just crazy Oprah-talk.

Speaking of fractured authority, check out this New York Times article on the difficulties of enforcing national environmental laws on the provincial level.

November 27, 2007 @ 11:50 am | Comment

@ richard;

You are not alone in being over the top or right on target!

@HKonger:

“Here we don’t preach freedom, we actually enjoy freedom. I feel a lot safer in China then I did in LA, NYC, Sydney or London.”

You really didn’t right that in the same thread about the beatings of foreign journalists by local bosses?! If you are Asian, you are pretty safe anywhere, if you are not Asian, hanging out in the foreign bubble doesn’t mean you are safe, it means you are enjoying apartheid with Chinese characteristics. Tell you what, if you are non-asian, walk down the street with a local girl (coworker, manager, friend, whomever), walk by a construction site and stand your ground when the workers bury her with insults for walking with a foreigner. Or show alot of bling around a talking bar…

November 27, 2007 @ 12:14 pm | Comment

Richard asked, “Do you agree with me or do you think I am being over the top?” That is a false dilemma. Of course beating up reporters can mar China’s image. But you were the one who related it to the Olympics as if the Olympics OUGHT to be what China is most concerned about. So what I perceive to be “over the top” is the way your perception of China’s practical priorities is exactly like that of the CCP.

But something else bothers me even more about this whole blog post of yours, Richard.
Your target audience is not the CCP. The central government does not take advice from your blog, and that applies even more to the local officials. In other words the only people who will be influenced by this post are foreigners including foreign journalists. And basically you’re just telling them to be afraid.
That’s exactly what the CCP want them to do, and all you’re doing is acting as the CCP’s Lao Lai mouthpiece so that they don’t have to embarass themselves by terrorising foreigners directly. It’s more convenient to get a foreigner to do it for them.

If you really want to persuade China’s government to change its policies and actions toward foreigners, why don’t you conduct an online petition directed at the government? Because simply doing a blog post telling foreigners to beware just helps the CCP to enforce their reign of terror.

November 27, 2007 @ 12:54 pm | Comment

@Ivan,

Yeah, that was over the top. “Reporters beaten to a pulp”????

I thought so too but then he explains….”Thank God I am the only one here who is over the top.”

@otherlisa,

Thanks for the link.

@nanheyangrouchuan,

“the foreign bubble doesn’t mean you are safe…”

That’s “us against them” nonesense…My buddy, an asian american have picked fights almost weekly from Chicago to Taipei to Tokyo to Shenzhen with both local asians and expats alike. You make a bubble someone’s gonna want to pop it, and that’s anywhere in the world.

“it means you are enjoying apartheid with Chinese characteristics.”

Yes, you are right about that. But no, I hate race and caste segregation; so serves whoever right for insisting on being a Roman when in China.

“Tell you what, walk down the street with a local girl (coworker, manager, friend, whomever), walk by a construction site and stand your ground when the workers bury her with insults for walking with a foreigner. Or show alot of bling around a talking bar…”

Didn’t your sunday school teacher ever tell ya, “Do not provoke your brother to sin.” ?

I’m for hiding the bling. (Don’t believe in,”If you got it flaunt it,” stupidity. Well, for one, the only accessory I wear is my 50 dollar Seiko. And when it comes to construction sites, it’s the same anywhere. Can’t really blame the redblooded horny guys from feeling jealous. However, if visiting construction sites is part of your job, well, I’ve never heard my construction engineer buddy and his knockout chinese wife, who occasionally visits him on sites, ever complain about it. He speaks very good chinese and knows how to use it politely without the “I understand chinese, so don’t fxxk with me, rednecks!” attitude,though.

It’s been enlightening folks. Thank you.

November 27, 2007 @ 1:26 pm | Comment

Well,

I think your suggestion of starting a patition and stuff is good fat cat… But theres two sides to the coin of telling the truth about the beating of journalists.

If the big media all reported on this type of thing, do you think the result would be that everyone would be afraid of the CCP? If your answer is yes, then we are all f@#*ed because they do beat journalists and much much worse!!!

So we ought not hide this fact, BUT, what is really important is that people get the whole story, not just about people being beaten, but the fact that they are beaten in order to scare others into coplacency, that is so bad…

If all people knew that the party would do these awful things to teach people to be afraid and crumble under fear, I dont think people would just roll over and obey, they would be utterly indignant, so I hope (-:

If no one stands up to this beast, well, they will get what they want, so I think if we really stand up and dredge up all the facts about the vile tactics used to control people (absolute terrorism), then I think people will wake up…

Peace

by the way, I love China and the culture, and, even the people (-;

Just cause I am against the party doesnt mean I am anti China (as the party would say (of course)) Actually the way I see it is that people who want that despot controlling things in China is totally anti China, but the brainwashing has reversed reality in the minds of the people, how utterly sad, stupid mind control, China ruinning party…

November 27, 2007 @ 1:48 pm | Comment

comment deleted by myself. written in a moment of passion.

November 27, 2007 @ 2:08 pm | Comment

Look what they have made out of a nice slice of Peking Duck!

Richard – I can feel your frustration.

Yet I still like the piece of roast in its original flavor, and choose to chew in silence, occasionally amuse myself with the manifestation of self-righteous stupidities by some of the diners, and watch out for some sparks of wisdom by some others.

Keep the feast going, although it might not be the one you had in mind …

November 28, 2007 @ 5:42 pm | Comment

Thanks JC. Of all the threads on this blog, this is one of the most maddening. Yes, I am a paid shill of the CCP. Anyone reading this blog can see that in a flash. Right.

November 28, 2007 @ 6:30 pm | Comment

Richard, I don’t know what happened. I just can’t get what Ivan’s and Fat Cat’s problem with this post is. I appreciate your posting this kind of information, simply because I want to know what’s going on in China. This is one of the reasons I make reading the Peking Duck a regular routine. You are a shill paid by the CCP? Yeah, and I’m a member of the Communist Youth League now.

November 29, 2007 @ 1:02 am | Comment

Guys, the bad treatment of reporters will neither result into the destroyment of china nor the corrosion of existing democracies around the world.
China always had a bad reputation among the west press, but this didnt hinder it from developing, or diminish west investment.
Chinese r well aware of the shits the CP is doing, but that does not mean they are going into revolution or civil war. This is just some wishful thinking of the west.
As long as the majority of chinese are still trying to crawl out of the poverty, they wont rebel. Wait until they have gained more wealth.
Just have a look at the bbc forums like TIANYA. Educated young r already openly expressing their dissatisfaction with the Cp. I lie my hope in the hands of the often bashed 1990s generation. They gonna rock China for sure.

November 29, 2007 @ 1:10 am | Comment

Richard,
Don’t worry about this too much, but think about it. I got into a riff with Ivan around a year ago when he misinterpreted a new commenter’s comments and called them a CCP shill (quite unpredictable and original comment, huh?). He has a penchant for conspiracy theories as well as an ego large beyond all conspiracies. All of the sudden the fact that I was married to a Chinese woman became a matter of utmost importance (of course, he had no idea about my wife’s political stances, and did nothing but assume, thus making an ass out of not u and me, but him). Anyway, I had no beef with him before, and actually quite liked him, but once you get on his bad side (for whatever reason, no matter how innocent) he can be unnecessarily negative and inflammatory. He will cling to the most ridiculous argument solely for the sake of clinging to it. That’s unfortunate, but that’s how things are. This led me to think, and to be honest, despite his self-aggrandizing claims to the contrary, this blog would be a lot better without Ivan around.
After criticizing Ivan’s extravagancies, however, I must say that I have also been concerned about some hesitancies on your part to portray the truth of contemporary Chinese society. I used to come here to get news about these truths, and have been slightly disappointed as of late. Not to be antagonistic, just telling you. Maybe you’re busy, but some things do suggest a certain hesitancy on your part.
One issue which is of particular concern to me is the Tiananmen Massacre. While this tragedy is being incorporated into Chinese historiography as a “necessary and resolute move” to “preserve stability,” the victims of this senseless and self-interested massacre by the CCP and its “honey” the PLA continue to suffer imprisonment, abuse, and harassment.
I remember that over the years you have always posted a photograph of the tanks rolling down the “Avenue of Everlasting Peace,” but I was disappointed to see that this was not posted this year, probably on account of your location…. I can maybe understand. However, I would recommend that you continue to remember all those who have been killed and abused by this regime, continuing through today, because if everyone backs down and says “I won’t discuss this” or “I won’t upload this picture this year,” then the sad state of Chinese politics and society will never change. I am thousands of miles away in New York, but when I was in Shanghai, my entire company’s Internet was shut down because of comments I made on this blog, and despite my initial concern, I did not want to stop and did not stop. I encourage you, despite your position in Beijing, to continue to pursue the kind of work that you did when I started reading this blog oh so many years ago, and to do all that you can to effect change in the self-colonizing and self-destructive Chinese political and social systems.
This might be too long, and probably no one will like me after reading it… but oh well… just what was on my mind.
Kevin

November 29, 2007 @ 8:05 am | Comment

Kevin, I agree, sadly, about Ivan – he can be brilliant and a splendid person, but then….

I didn’t even think about Tiananmen Square this year. Honestly, my lif is like this: Go towork from 9 until 9, go home and get on global calls with America and Europe until past midnght whicle eating take-out food, then to bed and up again. Seriously, it’s like that and it can be just as bad on weekends. As for the stories on the CCP’s excesses and sins – I still write about them but not as much for one ain reason – there are next to none being reported because, no matter what their motivation, the CCP has done something over hte past 18 months. I’m not sure exactly what they did, but the news has trickled to nothing – so either they’ve gotten better or figured out how to block the news pipeline, or the global media have gone to sleep. I don’t think it’s the latter – the WSJ this yer won a Pulitzer for its exposure of lead poisoning from drinking water in por Chinese villages. But somehow the bad strories aren’ t there the way they were in 2004,. Maybe it’s a good thing, or maybe it’s a sign of a more sinister censorship. Either way, without the articles to comment on there’s not much for me to work with. Combine that with my schedule and you have a very limited ability to put out daily dramatic posts about the sins of the government. I’ve got much more to work with when it comes to America.

November 29, 2007 @ 8:43 am | Comment

I see what your saying, and despite my objection above, I think that this was a case of you pointing out an unfortunate incident, and I think that the objections that some others have raised are, to say the least, off mark. Just maintain a critical stance… and that’s what I see, and something I don’t really doubt.

November 29, 2007 @ 9:22 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.