Once again the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has revealed an unhealthy willingness, to parade as fact, China’s propaganda, more on that shortly. It has served as a conduit for Beijing’s disinformation for a number of years now, influenced and encouraged by the foreign policy objectives of its colleagues in the Foreign Office (equivalent of the State Department) whose task is to maintain positive relations with China at any cost. The BBC’s senior executives enjoy trips to Beijing to attend media summits hosted by China’s disinformation agency, Xinhua, relations at a senior level are cordial to say the least. As this special cooperation has developed we have witnessed, in BBC reportage, a corrosion of the truth on issues relating to China, a withdrawal of independent and forceful analysis, replaced by a syntax that bears a worrying similarity to the official disinformation of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Information. This is most noticeable on subjects of political sensitivity to the Chinese Regime such as Tibet, East Turkestan and related issues on human rights, such matters as reported by the BBC often repeat China’s official position and are virtually absent of critique, balance or an alternate perspective and context.
Such a development must be a source of satisfaction to China’s propaganda ministry and its front organization, Xinhua, whose former chief and World Media Summit President, Li Congjun wrote in the Party’s official Seeking Truth journal in February 2009:
“We must actively seek out new horizons, new mechanisms, new channels and new methods in the area of outside dialogue and cooperation, particularly, as by the demands of central party leaders, successfully organizing the first meeting of the World Media Summit, building a platform for dialogue among first-rate international media (, further raising the capacity of Xinhua News Agency to make its voice heard in the international news and information sector.” (Source CMP)
This accommodation reached a new level of appeasement during a late night radio show from BBC Radio Five Live, a station which has previously been exposed as displaying a bias towards China’s official orthodoxy. We are extremely grateful to our friends in England for providing details of this latest incident, which was broadcast on October 19 on a program called ‘Up All Night’ hosted by Mr.Dotun Adebayo. About 30 minutes into the show an item on the Hong Kong protests appeared which featured an interview with Robert Lawrence Kuhn. Who was presumably invited on the basis of providing an authoritative and impartial analysis, unfortunately in this case the researchers had either clearly not done their homework, were incapable of recognizing a propagandist, or worse simply conformed to an Editorial attitude sympathetic to a pro-China position.
Well listeners surely got that (and how!) as they listened to the oiled assurances from Doctor Khun that the Chinese regime was sophisticated and seemingly dedicated to major reforms; as claimed in a book, ‘The Governance Of China’ by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Which Khun repeatedly referenced as supposed evidence of such objectives. It maybe helpful to examine briefly significant and revealing aspects of this individual’s résumé. He is described as “an international corporate strategist, investment banker and expert on China” and there’s no doubting his credentials regarding his relationship to the Chinese Regime, having cooperated since 1989 with senior Chinese leaders and served as an adviser on economics and other subjects to the Regime. Robert Kuhn is also a senior consultant to China Central Television (CCTV) and Xinhua News Agency, both of which are main channels of official propaganda in China.
In researching a suitably balanced and objective guest to feature in that item were BBC researchers not troubled by such a curriculum vitae? Did they not pause to question if this individual may in fact have developed a certain bias towards China’s Regime, or that his position as adviser to Xinhua was an indication of views somewhat tainted with officially sanctioned disinformation? Yet, with a minimum of scrutiny they would have found expressions of concern regarding the ideology and words of Robert Kuhn. Most recently documented in his florid hagiography of China’s Regime titled, ‘How China’s Leaders Think: the Inside Story of China’s Reform and What This Means for the Future’.
An insightful review of this book appeared in Forbes by noted author on China, Gordon C Chang. In a highly critical dismissal of Kuhn’s work, which the reviewer notes: “I gave up reading with 401 pages to go. I wanted to stop earlier, after Kuhn stated–on the fifth page of the introduction–that Chinese leaders are not authoritarians. That’s demonstrably untrue, but I struggled on for another hundred pages before finally realizing there was no point in reading a work of propaganda…..it’s evident that Kuhn is not going to say a critical word about the theoretical underpinnings of present-day Chinese authoritarianism.”
There were then serious questions being asked about the impartiality of Robert Kuhn, yet such concerns did not trouble the producers, editors, researchers and presenter of the BBC show ‘Up All Night’, which allowed this individual a generous platform to air China’s toxic propaganda and effectively act as an apologist for a Regime
It is a matter of great disappointment that once again a mainstream media organization has permitted such obvious propaganda to be presented as fact, without any serious counter-view or challenge. The team responsible for the offending Radio Five Live show have at best been found wanting in terms of being able to identify such a biased and partisan source, at worst they are guilty of assembling a flawed and distorted program that has seriously mislead its audience and denied them a balanced, impartial and factual coverage of a story of great concern and interest to many. This would be in violation of the BBC’s stated editorial policies and relevant broadcasting commitments to its license fee payers, anyone who wishes to lodge a formal complaint about this subject may do so online here: https://ssl.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/?reset=