Are Chinese and Foreign Media Left, Right or Just Wrong?

Are Chinese and Foreign Media Left, Right or Just Wrong?
Nov 18, 2009 By Fred Dintenfass ,

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?  

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

Related Links
Objective? Biased? Sloppy? Western Media Coverage of China
A Foreigner asks why we hate CNN
Can Foreigners Ever Understand China?

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All comments are subject to moderation by staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate.



The Chinese Press does not present what is happening, even China, as it actually is. Almost all presentations by the Chinese Press are protecting China from what actually is happening by presenting situations as normal situations for China. This presentation follows ancient cultural norms that are not reality for the present external world.

Dec 14, 2009 07:29 Report Abuse



There is a true we can't allow to say : every chinese people who goes to US find a warm country better than their own because they don't have possibilities to work for the government or enter a university.

Nov 23, 2009 05:02 Report Abuse



We have you westerners publishing and mocking our shortcomings. We need more positive news about ourselves. If our own media does not do it, who else will?

Nov 22, 2009 23:38 Report Abuse



Critic point, but in foreign countries media can publish all kind of notice, until government bad things. In China is possible? or all the notices are only in government way? Certainly China has many achievements, but always is necessary to say where is not good, is it possible for Chinese media to publish others than achievements?.

Nov 22, 2009 05:55 Report Abuse



I have been working in China for 9 months with CNPC, sincerely China is a beautifull country. But, the chinese they are dump and they don't respect any contract signed...yes, is getting hard for foreigners to live in China now....what will be in few years coming.. Even they fired their expats employee without they did to me...

Nov 19, 2009 12:54 Report Abuse



@huaren - why do YOU think China allowed the town hall?

Nov 18, 2009 21:23 Report Abuse



We chinese is the laughing stock of the world. We were publicly humiliated by the lecture we got that was beamed all over the world. We lost face and have no face left after the world-wide public dressing down in front of the whole world. No wonder we get no respect in this world. Only an idiot will allow such public townhall meetings anymore in our sacred zhong guo homeland. Are we some third-rate country worse than some sheikhdom with their traditional garb?

Nov 18, 2009 19:49 Report Abuse



Jiangnan, China is definitely not the laughingstock of the world. I do not know anyone who does not take China and the Chinese people seriously and, mostly, with respect. Don't mistake public grandstanding for actual public opinion.

Nov 13, 2011 18:44 Report Abuse



Why not come up with an article why chinese is so naive to allow or not allow obama and various us presidents and personalities to conduct townhall meetings to lecture us? It is so ridiculous since no country has given these US people a chance to lecture to students and ordinary folks in their own sovereign territory and country. Now for a few days we are bombarded by the propaganda of their superiority and superior way of conducting their miserable lives.

Nov 18, 2009 08:27 Report Abuse