Next time you read an article on occupied Tibet or see a TV report on protests in East Turkestan keep your eyes open for some keywords which regularly feature in such reportage. Phrases such as ‘ethnic’, ‘minorities’, ‘region’, along with openly describing Tibetan territories as being ‘in China’, are important indicators that reveal the extent of influence which China’s authorities exert over foreign media. This is not imposed however upon a media seeking to expose China’s atrocities, one determined to uphold values of independent journalism and human rights, but realized through a cynical collaboration that has the compliant support of major media organizations. On September 27 China hosted what it described as a World Media Summit, participants included; Associated Press, British Broadcasting Corporation, New York Times, Itar-Tass, Kyodo News, News Corporation, Thomson-Reuters, Al Jazeera Network, Google and Time-Warner’s Turner Broadcasting System.
The image of armani-suited press barons enjoying the pleasures of plate and bottle with China’s regime is a universe away from the experience of foreign correspondents inside China, who face a relentless fog of censorship and control. However, the notion of seekers-of-truth, struggling to report the facts on issues of great sensitivity, is misplaced, while there maybe some notable exceptions, on subjects such as Tibet more generally there is among foreign media, a troubling appeasement and conformity to the ideological requirements of China’s regime. Evidence for this regularly features in world-wide coverage, with editors and correspondents of media outlets saturating reports with terminology reinforcing China’s propaganda, repeating as ‘fact’ assertions originating from China’s Ministry of Disinformation or publishing, without any critical analysis, items from official Chinese sources. This has lead many to ask, has mainstream media has in effect become a conduit for China’s distortions on Tibet and East Turkestan?
Central to what is a calculated and cynical process is China’s official mouthpiece Xinhua (whose President Li Congjun also happens to be Executive President of the so-called World Media Summit) whose mission is to glorify the supposed achievements China’s communist leadership, conceal, distort and manipulate information, relating to areas such as human rights and occupied Tibet and East Turkestan. International opinion matters and to that end China’s regime has been engaged in a relentless ideological campaign, which thanks to to its willing allies in the international media, now reaches a global audience. It has assiduously nurtured relations with such organizations, who appear to have no ethical concerns in cooperating with, and serving the propaganda needs of a regime that violently suppresses free speech. the very principle and right such media bodies claim to honor!