China’s rise has been accompanied by increased attention in the foreign press. While most articles have moved beyond Cold War-style anti-communism polemics, Chinese netizens are still unhappy about some of the coverage and have created groups like Anti-CNN that seek to out Western media’s biases and mistakes. Western reporting on China has been plagued by sloppy mistakes – the infamous cropping by CNN of a photo of the riots in Tibet in 2008 being just one example. Foreign media are facing severe budget cutbacks and foreign bureaus are being slashed across the world. Finding reporters who speak Chinese and are knowledgeable about China can be tough and the laws governing journalists make reporting here difficult. On the other hand, Chinese state-run media is by no means objective: reports are tailored so as to avoid sensitive issues and there are topics which cannot be discussed on air or in print; both foreigners and Chinese often avoid what they see as the “good news news”. What do you think? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.
What do you think the foreign and local media gets right, or wrong, about China?
Perspectives seeks to promote dialogue and cross-cultural understanding by featuring Chinese and foreign responses to a single question. Email us to be added to our weekly question mailing list or to suggest questions of your own and feel free to add your perspective in the comments section below.
I think foreign media has a bit of an obstacle to overcome when they mention China. I think American media has the biggest issue since we've been told about the evil terror of communism/socialism for the past 75-100. Even if the writers and producers are trying to be unbiased, that is a hard idea to overcome. That said, I prefer foreign, for-profit media over state-run media any day, even though the for-profit stuff might be more sensationalist, it’s not propaganda.
J / US
Foreign reporting has problems but so does Chinese. Actually too often in China there is no reporting at all, just printing of government statements. Many reports are just numbers. Foreign reporting is wrong sometimes but it’s much more fun to read. I think sometimes Chinese news is meant to be so boring no one reads it.
L / China
Even though I think in a pacifist freedom of expression, I agree to defend the Chinese government position in the riots that occurred in Tibet last year and in Xinjiang this year, as destroying shops, hurting civilians have never been and would never be a solution to a problem. However, I would like to point out that, instead of always keeping foreign reporters away from the riot scenes, the Chinese government should have let them have a full coverage of the situation, reporting both demonstrators and Chinese activities. Then foreign media would have a better understanding of the situation.
Everything. They don't get it at all. Quite frankly, I loathe foreign reports about China because they usually contain some hidden or blatant agenda.
R / US
Both of them like extremes. Foreign media likes to focus on the bad side, and local one likes the opposite. Would be easier to understand China better if the two styles would combine.
X / China
The foreign media often portrays China in a harsh light which I think is unfair. I think they should focus more on China's great achievements. The Western media is just as full of propaganda as the Chinese and just as censored, if not dare I say more. We're just fooled into thinking we have freedom in the West when in actual fact the only freedom we have is the freedom to choose what product we want to buy. The West should stop pointing out the faults of other countries and try to improve its own problems first. But that's never going to happen as long as capitalism and materialism rule.
H / UK
Domestic media is too far to the right; foreign media is too far to the left.
T / China
I'm beginning to work at differentiating between the facts and opinion in the media – both foreign and domestic. Every piece written about China, whether it is an editorial or a news brief, contains opinions (or leanings) that you have to either accept at face value or ignore completely. If one particular media company doesn't cover the whole story that's quite alright with me – the people who are mad about that either have an agenda or they get their news from only one source. The latter is a pretty risky way to view the world anyway.
J / US
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