Video: Courtesy Of @AnonymousTibet
Video: Courtesy Of @AnonymousTibet
Graphic courtesy of @anonymoustibet
With reports Sunday May 27 of two more self-immolations in occupied Tibet, reported to have happened in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, once again the mainstream media has been serving as a willing servant of China’s propaganda. The reportage has been saturated with China’s distortions on Tibet and describing what are Tibetan locations, regions and territory as Chinese.See Here For Example Please help our efforts to expose and challenge such gross disinformation and if you see such reports kindly think before sharing on Twitter or Facebook, as that action spreads the lies and misleads others.
“The forced removal of Dorjee Gyalpo la from the hunger strike site by NYPD yesterday has neither deterred nor dampened the spirit of the two remaining hunger strikers. In fact, it has further strengthened their resolve to continue to knock on the doors of the UN.
When asked today by Richard Roth of CNN (UN Correspondent) whether he is ready to die at the hunger strike site, Shingza Rinpoche replied, “if the UN truly does not value human life, I have no regrets to die here for my country and I will be proud of it”.
Yeshi Tenzing said this to CNN today, “I think the international community and the UN is not paying enough attention to our issue because ours is a non-violent struggle and Chinese pressure”.
More Tibetans than usual visited the hunger strike site to show their solidarity. Many have also come forward to take the place of Dorjee Gyalpo la but we have declined the offers for now. Thank you to the Tibetan Children of Boston for sending personal messages and drawings to show their solidarity with the hunger strikers. Thank you Tibetan Association of Colorado for the generous donation. CNN, Al-Jazeera and New Yorker visited the hunger strikers today following a visit by CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp) yesterday”.
Report: Courtesy of Tsewang Rangzen
As visitors may have read, our colleagues over on @tibettruth have been extremely active in spreading news about the Tibetan Hunger-Strike, currently outside the United Nations building in East Manhattan. We have also been asking mainstream media why it has so far chosen to offer virtually no coverage of this inspiring and moving protest. It was entirely understandable therefore that Tibetans were encouraged to see yesterday the arrival of a CNN news team at the Hunger Strike, as it provided an important opportunity to reach a wide audience on their demands to the United Nations regarding China’s viciouis occupation of Tibet. Now that such a major media player has reported many will be hoping other news channels will also report the protest, we trust that any such coverage allows these courageous Tibetan voices to be heard and that mainstream media will not color such reports with any pro-China bias.
Anyone else spotted, in media reports on the various demonstrations across occupied Tibet, a remarkably similar syntax used by various television channels and newspapers? The extent of agreement is so striking, appearing in a range of diverse organizations, news agencies and publications, as to suggest we are witnessing some invisible hand orchestrating coverage on the issue of Tibet. The source of such manipulation is perhaps revealed by key terms which are consistently repeated, in general these are phrases that restate and endorse China’s bogus territorial and political claims on Tibet. In which correspondents and editors saturate reportage on Tibet with descriptions such as ‘ethnic areas’, ‘ethnic Tibetans’, ‘Tibetan areas of Western China’ or feature fact-free headlines claiming a Tibetan ‘self-immolated in Sichuan Province China’ (when in fact it happened within Amdo Region of occupied Tibet).
That the public are being drip-fed such distortions is a serious concern, more so as a significant number of people are either factually unaware of Tibet as an issue, or its political and historic geography, and invest trust upon mainstream media, who they are reliant upon, to provide objective, independent and fair coverage. What’s on offer however in no way could be described as respecting such journalistic standards, indeed what’s paraded, as the latest factual bulletin on the situation in Tibet, is usually a carefully constructed deception. This is revealed as true when we examine the relationship between media organizations (particularly those based in China) and the Chinese Regime. At the highest levels it could described as cosy, with media moguls of news channels enjoying extremely cordial ties with the authorities in Beijing, we are of course talking dollars and politics here, and long ago the supposed ‘seekers of truth and justice’ jumped into bed with China’s totalitarian regime.
This closeness must surely result in a certain accommodation on the part of foreign media, eager, to not only maintain, but strengthen its position within China, we should at this stage pause to consider what ‘benefits’ would China’s authorities seek to gain from such an alliance? Would it be too fanciful to imagine that it expects, what it considers to be a more ‘sensitive’ and ‘aware’ understanding and reportage on issues such as Tibet, from its western media buddies? Such an arrangement, no doubt reached at the highest of executive levels during some convivial social occasion, would encourage the development, within an organization, of a ‘position‘ on such sensitive subjects. There would develop an almost unspoken agreement and editorial policy, supported by the conformity of those not wishing to undermine career prospects, to follow a certain line. The result of such a nexus of influences would render a news channel or agency vulnerable and compliant to any influences or indeed demands placed upon it by China.
Yet there exists a more basic, equally troubling factor, that leads to media misrepresentation on Tibet making its way onto our internet, newspapers, televisions and radio, the degree of control imposed by China over foreign media channels operating in that country. This is most acutely felt when dealing with thorny topics such as Tibet or human rights, and foreign correspondents are effectively chained to a series of administrative regulations and requirements demanded by China’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Information, which makes free and independent coverage of these areas almost impossible. The stranglehold is so great that foreign journalists, when seeking information on say reports of demonstrations inside Tibet, have become virtually entirely dependent upon the official information from Chinese Government sources, such as Xinhua. So while Tibetans are being killed by China’s paramilitary in Kham, an information official from the Ministry of Information is handing out a propaganda script on the events to the gathered foreign press corps in Beijing, who dutifully report that. via agencies such as Agence France Press, Associated Press or Reuters, as factual news.
The reality is that what’s being reported is disinformation authored by China’s propaganda machine, complete with the very distortions and key-phrases that we read, see and hear in our media reporting on Tibet! Now these poisonous untruths, having entered the global information stream, reach across social platforms such as Twitter, where well intentioned folk; who maybe know a little about Tibet, are concerned to read in the LA Times of a crackdown in Tibet and so feel naturally compelled to tweet to the wider world the news source they just read. Yet in so doing, the lies so cynically engineered and imposed by China’s regime, are repeated, reinforced, exposing others to the corrosive deception that seeks to conceal the odious realities of China’s occupation of Tibet.
In the Editorial offices of Sydney, Washington DC or London such ‘reports’ on Tibet, arriving from their Chinese controlled correspondents in Beijing, are often given the semblance of some balance by featuring the opinion of authoritative commentators or academics. However, far from introducing impartiality or challenge to the caustic propaganda masquerading as balanced news, such views are themselves infused with a bias, albeit of a different objective, that equally misrepresents the reality inside occupied Tibet. That commentary, like the disinformation fabricated by China’s spin machine, has an identifiable and consistent lexicon, this most commonly takes the form of misrepresenting the causes, nature and objectives of political struggle waged by Tibetans. If we read or hear such narrative we can see an insistence that demonstrations in Tibet are seeking cultural and religious freedoms, a reaction to economic, educational or social disadvantage, or as a protest against China’s policies (with the implied message that any moderation would result in a happy and passive Tibetan population) Such commentators are always eager to report self-immolations as extreme acts of support for the Dalai Lama, careful to avoid any mention of the fact that such sacrifices and protests are conducted with the central demand of Tibet’s independence. Just as China’s psychopathic violence and killing of Tibetans is obscured, diluted and evaded by a media serving as a willing conduit for China’s propaganda, so it is that the courageous actions of Tibetans, who resist China’s tyranny to assert their nation’s independence, is ignored, misrepresented and denied by a handful of commentators and organizations, who are the media’s go to for a supposedly balanced and informed take on Tibet.
Thankfully, there are alternative news sources and we would highly recommend the following as offering a more factual, independent and honest reportage on Tibet.
Have you noticed the troubling way in which mainstream reportage on Tibet seems to resemble China’s propaganda on that subject? Can we expect anything else, given the degree of totalitarian control exerted upon foreign media operating in China? This parlous state-of-affairs may well be explained equally by the increasingly cosy relations between media organizations and China’s regime, a result of the economic and political allure that has the power to blind critical and ethical faculties. Media executives from CNN, Associated Press, Reuters, Al-Jazeera and the BBC are regularly invited to Beijing to enjoy the pleasures of plate and bottle by their charming hosts at Xinhua, China’s Ministry of Disinformation. There’s dark politics at play, fired by not inconsiderable commercial influences, which clearly benefits both China’s authoritarian elite and the press barons. There are other forces too which can explain the constant stream of media misrepresentation on Tibet, that is so accomodating towards China’s version of events in that tragic land. These can range from Editorial policy, drawn from a sympathy towards China, either its culture or political ideology, or a journalistic conformity and laziness by correspondents who follow the line. There is of course a very unjust and ethically worrying outcome to such factors, in that people are mislead on the harrowing reality within occupied Tibet and the facts are being obscured, distorted or ignored. By way of illustration let’s examine today’s article from the British newspaper, The Guardian based on an Associated Press report.
The headline to this piece ‘Two Tibetans Killed By Security Forces’ is an interesting choice following a recent critical exposé of the Guardian’s coverage on Tibet from @AnonymousTibet, who rightly asked why it is that this newspaper is willing to describe Syrian forces as killing and shelling protesters, yet does not apply similarly forceful descriptions when reporting China’s atrocities in Tibet. A valid question indeed and here the paper seems to have got the message. Or has it? Any hopes that this would lead onto to a more factual and independent report soon dissolve, as our eyes fall upon the usual litany of China’s propaganda.
So for the purposes of challenging such errant disinformation let’s break down the article in question and add some Editorial responses of our own. For ease of identification we have colored red the offending areas of reportage and offer our response in blue.
“Two Tibetan brothers who have been on the run since taking part in anti-government protests (Editorial: these demonstrations are not some disaffected reaction to China’s government, but a clear rejection of Chinese rule and a demand for Tibet’s independence and support for the Dalai Lama) two weeks ago have been shot dead in south-west China’s Sichuan province, (Editorial: actually what was a killing took place in Amdo Region of occupied Tibet) a US-funded broadcaster has reported.
Radio Free Asia said the men were shot and killed after being surrounded in Luhuo county on Thursday. The county was the site of anti-government protests (Editorial: These demonstrations demand Tibet’s independence from China, and are not a local grudge against the Chinese authorities) on 23 January. Radio Free Asia identified the two as Yeshe Rigsal, a 40-year-old monk, and his 38-year-old brother, Yeshe Samdrub, citing sources in the area and in the Tibetan exile community in India.
There has been a recent upsurge in violence in Tibetan areas. (Editorial: Whose ‘violence’? Notice how that term is left hanging there, leaving the suggestion that Tibetans are perpetrating such actions, when the truth is that China’s paramilitary have been shooting, torturing and arresting Tibetans.) The Chinese government blames criminals encouraged by outside forces, but activist Tibetan groups say repressive policies by China are the cause. (Editorial: The ’cause’ of what precisely, the so-called ‘violence’ that the Guardian chooses to report but not ascribe to those actually responsible: China’s military thugs!)
Luhuo and other Tibetan areas of Sichuan (Editorial: Tibetans do not live in (yet) reservations or zoos within China and its Provinces. The areas in question are in reality parts of occupied Tibet, in particular Amdo and Kham regions) have been cut off because of the violence (Editorial: Wrong! These have been placed under siege and sealed off to enable China’s paramilitary to enforce, without scrutiny, a brutal crackfown, not due to any so-called violence, again slyly implied as being caused by Tibetans) and it was impossible to independently confirm the Radio Free Asia report. Telephone calls to the Communist party propaganda department and the public security office in Luhuo rang unanswered, as did a call to the party propaganda department in Ganzi prefecture, which oversees the county.
Radio Free Asia also reported that another Tibetan had set himself on fire, the latest in a series of self-immolations that Tibetan activists groups say have been carried out to protest against government policies and to call for the return of the Dalai Lama (Editorial: This is factually flawed assertion, as the testimony and witnessed reports of such incidents has shown these acts are demanding Tibet’s freedom and independence along with support for the Dalai Lama) The Tibetans’ spiritual leader fled to India amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.
The radio station said the unidentified monk set himself on fire in the Yushu area of neighbouring Qinghai province, (Editorial: The region is the occupied Tibetan region of Amdo, with some part of Kham) which was the scene of protests on Wednesday. It was not known whether he survived. If confirmed, the incident would bring to at least 18 the number of monks, nuns and lay Tibetans who have set themselves on fire over the last year, mostly in traditionally Tibetan areas of Sichuan province.(Editorial: As if this propaganda term had not been used enough the correspondent repeats the deception, truth is that there are no ‘Tibetan areas’ what exists is an illegally and violently occupied Tibet) ” Ends.
To anyone lacking an informed understanding of Tibet, its history and nature, or objectives, of Tibetan political protest, such articles have a corrosive ability to misinform, implanting China’s cynical distortions and propaganda, while callously misrepresenting the truth. Clearly foreign correspondents in China are upon a very tight leash indeed and unable to move without the knowledge and permission of China’s Ministry of Information. They have become reliant upon official Chinese sources, as reflected daily in the news content of reports on Tibet. As the brave Tibetan people face China’s jack-booted storm-troopers to demand their national freedom, in the comfortable newsrooms of Radio Free Asia, the Guardian and Associated Press (and mainstream media in general) the facts of their history, territorial status, struggle and aspirations, are being censored and twisted, by a journalism that has abandoned factuality, independence and critique in favor of appeasing China’s regime.
According to a report received from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) communist China’s regime, ever paranoid about maintaining control over information, has announced that domestic journalists are to be indoctrinated through a program of communist ideological and political education. The report (published March) 11 cites Li Dongdong, deputy director of China’s General Administration of Press and Publications, as instructing China’s propaganda agency, Xinhua, that the Regime will demand “Chinese journalists to obtain official training to report the news, according to local and international news reports. Domestic journalists already need government-issued identity cards to work in China.”. The CPJ noted that the announcement was made “shortly after a senior editor was removed from his post for co-authoring an editorial criticizing government policies”.
“Li said a small minority of journalists were giving the profession a bad name because they lacked political judgment, according to Xinhua, who interviewed Li prior to the plenary session of China’s political advisory body in Beijing. She did not name individuals. “There are some who have not been thoroughly trained in the Marxist theory of news, or news media ethics,” Li told the reporter. GAPP would institute training for journalists on these topics and Communist Party propaganda regulations, among others, she told Xinhua. ”
The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the move to increase political control and censorship over China’s media, describing it as misguided. Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator noted that: “Professional training should be provided by universities and initiatives within the industry. Merely filling journalists with the party line does not serve the interests of readers or viewers,” .
Background Information From CPJ
“It was not clear when new training would be carried out, or how a requirement would be enforced. But Li’s remarks follow close on a controversial decision by top editors at 13 newspapers to jointly publish a March 1 editorial calling for an overhaul of longstanding household registration rules. The leadership’s dissatisfaction with the piece became evident when the editorials swiftly disappeared from the Internet, international news reports said. The article’s only acknowledged author, Economic Observer online editor Zhang Hong, said this week he had been forced from his post, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Journalist ethics are widely debated in China, and stories of journalists—and individuals with fake press cards—accepting bribes are common in the local media. The 2007 murder of Lan Chengzhang at an illegal coal mine in Shanxi province remains unresolved because his intentions and status as a reporter were unclear. Police said he did not have official accreditation, and they alleged that he was threatening to expose the operation in order to extort money.
Few accredited journalists take Zhang Hong’s route and risk their careers for articles that might offend the government. Non-accredited journalists who publish overseas or online are vulnerable to imprisonment under vague antistate charges, according to CPJ research. On February 9, activist Tan Zuoren was sentenced to five years in prison for subversion after researching the effects of shoddy school construction on the death toll during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.”
Tibettruth wishes to express its appreciation to CPJ www.cpj.org for information on this issue
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