China’s Missing Girls-Media Peddling A Slanted Academic Report?

Shaanxi University, China

Shaanxi University, China

How much trust and credibility can we invest in reports arising from collaborations between western academic institutions and Chinese universities, especially if the subject under examination is an issue of immense political sensitivity to China’s regime?

Contemplating that question it’s important to remind yourself that under the totalitarian control of the Communist Party of China universities do not have the liberal freedoms or operational independence enjoyed by institutions in the USA, Canada, Europe, and countries in Asia such as India.

The presence of the state and its political interests imposes a suffocating pressure across China’s academic community, and this is felt most acutely within those areas deemed as critical to the national or party interest.

One such topic, that attracts international concern is China’s notorious coercive birth control policies, its associated human rights atrocities and demographic and social impacts. Western media is awash with reports on China’s gender imbalance, or claims from the Chinese regime that the ‘one-child’ policy has been ended. Sadly less attention is given by the same champions of free speech to the harrowing range of violations suffered by women across China who face forced sterilizations, forced abortions, arbitrary arrests, loss of employment and denial of housing. The coercion has not gone away, although you may be forgiven for thinking so when viewing the reportage from mainstream media.

But then we have to remind ourselves that such articles are being composed from within China, derived in the most part from official Chinese ministries, who exert a tight control over foreign correspondents. In addition over recent years at a senior executive level media agencies such as Associated Press, Reuters, the BBC have developed a close association with China’s authorities. We must consider also the political influences which operate within such agencies, no doubt they conform to the policy of their respective governments towards China.

An accommodation would seem to have been reached, at the center of which is an active willingness to comply with Chinese demands on reporting of issues seen as sensitive. These include Tibet of course, but also the whole subject of population control policies and their consequences, is it any wonder then that journalists based in China, sourcing their reports from Chinese officials, aware that any violation of their contract with the Ministry Of Information or Foreign Affairs could result in their visa being withdrawn  produce articles that echo the official line?

This appeasement, for that is what it is, is illustrated most tellingly in the manner in which China’s population issues are reported, indeed so slanted is such coverage that it’s authorship may as well be credited to National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China!

Take for example a report today which is across the media ‘China’s Missing Girls Actually Exist’ a claim deriving from recent statistical analysis by a collaboration between University of Kansas and Shangxi Normal University that Chinese women; thought once to have not existed due to the demands of the population control program and cultural preference for having male birth, now apparently exist.

University Of Kansas

University Of Kansas

The tone and content of this report characterizes the issues mentioned above, diluted and compliant journalism, combined with a source that relies upon Chinese statistics, which are often used for political and propaganda purposes. One also evaluated by a Chinese University controlled, monitored and authorized by China’s regime, in partnership with a foreign academic institution; that in order to operate within China most probably has to comply with and be sensitive towards the China’s authorities.

These important considerations of course have been ignored by mainstream media who are channeling the report with a credulity that must be bringing a warm glow of satisfaction to China’s regime. The story which is being ignored is that a docile media is at best being manipulated to promote China’s politically engineered propaganda, at worst it is a willing partner in spreading disinformation. What would be the object of such a deception and as Sherlock Holmes may inquire, who would most benefit?

Well we already have some indication provided by the political realities that apply to the issue itself within China, that the findings are drawn from China’s census, which as already mentioned is  politicized data. Further explanations can be extracted from comments offered by a joint-author of the report:

“People think 30 million girls are missing from the population. That’s the population of California, and they think they’re just gone…..Most people are using a demographic explanation to say that abortion or infanticide are the reasons they don’t show up in the census and that they don’t exist. But we find there is a political explanation.” Source John Kennedy, Associate Professor of Political Science. University of Kansas (emphasis added)

Now it might be, although don’t hold your breath, that deep inside the report Professor Kennedy and his co-author Shi Yaojiang, of Shaanxi Normal University have included a disclaimer to the effect that their ‘findings’ are not stating that countless numbers of female fetuses weren’t forcibly aborted, or female babies abandoned as a result of the brutalizing pressures of China’s coercive population control policies and/or the influence of cultural preferences for a male child.

So far we have not noticed such an assertion, and shall happily welcome such an inclusion, meantime what we are left with is an impression that looks to be trying to exonerate  China’s regime by deflecting criticism and attention away from its vicious population control policies (as a determining factor of the gender-imbalance) to some administrative oversight or expediency at we are invited to believe, local level.

Unlike mainstream media we exercise a critical eye of any information associated with the Chinese authorities and so evaluate this report with particular scrutiny. China has a long record of using academics to peddle its propaganda, it concludes that in doing so its purposes are concealed and given a more credible and authoritative gravitas.  This latest effort while consumed and reported as fact by CNN, AP, Reuters, BBC et al when examined carefully raises serious questions, not least of all its accuracy, motivation and purpose.

 

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High In Tibet The New York Times Promotes China’s Lie That Buddhism Is Flourishing

Image:earchitect

As newspapers go the New York Times (NYT) is right up there. A major media voice, respected  across the industry and a  trusted news source. Unless that is its reportage concerns Tibet, for then its strident and independent journalism gives way to an uneasy accommodation. Critical and objective reporting is replaced by credulity. Readers are exposed to an editorial take on Tibet that has a worrying similarity to the official propaganda generated by the Chinese regime. Headlines and article content are saturated with terminology that may as well have been crafted by China’s ministry of disinformation. The purpose of which is to promote the deception that Tibet is an inalienable part of China or that Tibetans and their culture are thriving under the tender mercies of the Chinese authorities.

Image:print-screen from NYT online article 11/8/16

Take the November 8 2016 NYT piece from  Mr Edward Wong, its bold headline; that element of a newspaper story most often consumed and remembered, suggesting that Tibetan Buddhism is flourishing. The article features a number of glossy images showing seemingly contented Tibetan monks and nuns, a gleaming Buddhist monastery and views of an expansive community. What more proof is needed that Tibetans are enjoying their Buddhist traditions, after all seeing-is-believing, right? Well so the propagandists of China’s regime would insist, and after all they have a long record of peddling such imagery. Smiling and prosperous Tibetans may be found all over Chinese websites and news agencies such as the regime’s official mouthpiece, Xinhua.

The reality of course, as well documented and reported by less gullible media agencies is that Tibetan Buddhism is being virtually exterminated, its monasteries placed under paramilitary control, regular indoctrination programs, charmingly concealed as ‘Patriotic Education’ are forced upon Buddhist Tibetans. Even the ancient tradition of reincarnate Buddhist teachers has been placed under the control and approval of the Chinese State! Meanwhile across Tibet as this post is being written Tibetan monks and nuns are suffering unimaginable misery in forced labor camps, or tortured in one of the innumerable prisons and torture centers. Such vicious oppression and the assault upon the Buddhist culture of Tibet is a matter of record and has attracted the concern of leading human rights organizations, the United Nations and governments.

Another Tibetan monastery placed under military siege by China's regime

Another Tibetan monastery placed under military siege by China’s regime

Image:archivenet

Now Edward Wong (who presumably ironically, describes himself on Twitter as ‘comrade’) and the New York Times will be very aware of this harrowing truth, yet have chosen to promote a distortion that no doubt meets the approval of the Chinese regime. Taking a closer look at the wording used we can see the fingerprints of China’s propagandists all over this piece. See for example how Comrade Wong references the recent widely reported destruction of Larung Gar. Another Buddhist center, that was recently bulldozed into oblivion with monks and nuns forced weeping onto convoys of coaches, under the merciless eyes of machine-gun carrying paramilitary:

“The largest, Larung Gar, in a valley to the northeast, has more monks than nuns. Workers there are now demolishing individual homes, on the orders of Chinese officials. Some clergy members are being forced to leave.” (Emphasis Added)

What a masterclass in  dilution that comment is, the grim reality of what actually happened and the extent of oppression and destruction diminished under the cover of supposedly neutral reportage. Indeed, anyone reading those words could be forgiven for concluding that regular demolition workers are pulling down a few houses and that a handful of Tibetans have been forced to relocate.The facts though are very different, in magnitude, suffering and oppression, as hinted at in the image below.

Just one area of Chinese ordered destruction at Larung Gar. a major center of Tibetan Buddhist study.

Just one area of Chinese ordered destruction at Larung Gar. a major center of Tibetan Buddhist study.

Further indications of just how slanted this article is appears in its headline, the deliberate and carefully applied use of the term ‘Tibetan Plateau’. A geographic, nonaligned description greatly favored by the Chinese authorities, as it avoids entirely any political association regarding Tibet, or the implied questions of its actual status.

What may we justly question is the objective of this particular NYT article? Whose interests are being most served? Is it a fair and balanced appraisal of the condition of Tibetan Buddhism under Chinese rule? Or are we witnessing a leading media publisher serving as a conduit for China’s propaganda distortions on the subject of Tibet?

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Agence France Presse Repeating China’s Lies On Tibet As Objective Reportage

Image:commons/wikimedia

For too long has Agence France Presse, in its coverage of Tibet, been a willing accomplice to the distortions and propaganda vomited by China’s regime.

It’s report of a Tibetan horse festival (August 1st, 2016)  a staged and tightly controlled propaganda event to promote the lie that Tibetan culture is thriving and respected under China’s control is a nauseating assemblage of falsehoods and deception. Engineered by China’s Ministry Of Disinformation to mislead an international audience the article, which clearly is a barely re-written statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, is loaded with officially sanctioned terminology.

It states the event took place in so-called “Yushu (China) in the northwestern (sic) Chinese province of Qinghai” this is incorrect, the actual location was near Jyekundo in Kham region of Eastern Tibet!

AFP go on to state that the area is home to many of “China’s eight million strong Tibetan minority, some of whom chafe against Chinese rule“. This sly misrepresentation of the facts chooses to ignore entirely that Tibetans are a distinct people, who under international law have the right to self-determination, and are not a ‘minority’ group within China, but an oppressed people whose land was invaded, occupied and colonized. Notice too how the journalist makes fact free assertion which implies that the majority of Tibetans are content and supportive of Chinese rule?!

While the reporter, Nicolas Asfouri, ends with a superficial mention of Tibetan concerns that their culture is being oppressed and eroded and Tibet’s natural resources exploited to benefit China the dominant impression conveyed by this article is misleading and biased towards the claims of the Chinese regime.

Like the majority of western media agencies within China such as Reuters and Associated PressAgence France Presse is serving as a conduit for the lies and propaganda that China uses to conceal the dark reality of its tyranny against the Tibetan people and the illegal and violent occupation of Tibet. The nature of online and print journalism is such that these agencies are held by global newspapers in the highest of esteem as credible and objective sources of information. This ensures that their reportage on Tibet is republished internationally, usually without any critical assessment or major editing, a credulity much welcomed by China’s government!

Soul On A String Movie Charms You To Ignore Tibetans In Chains

Image: thevillagevoice/icarusfilms

Before we discuss images of Tibetan culture such as above imagine if you will the north of  Ireland as it was under British military occupation during the 1970s, people marginalized, monitored, a culture repressed, arbitrary arrests, torture and a shoot-to-kill policy in operation. Against this grim context let us color the scene further by imagining English film directors producing glossy movies, set in that blighted land, which recounted stories  focused upon the individual, personal hopes or struggles and joys of love. What if the narrative used in assembling such a film made no reference whatsoever to the oppression and fear which gripped the community? Filmed on location just say you never got to see the barbed wire, military checkpoints, armed troops or military vehicles on streets. Were not exposed to the image of houses being raided, children beaten or women arrested nor shown to the petrol bombs, protests and mass marches for freedom and rights. Instead the movie has a tight focus on for example on the personal journey of a man who crafted traditional Irish drums and followed a quest that his instruments be played by Ireland’s champion Bodhran player?

Such a movie though open to critique for dodging major social and political issues, central to the experience of Ireland at that time could still be argued to be independent art, a just portrayal of one person’s life and hopes. What would you think however if you were to discover that the film, before being made, and released required the direct approval and final authorization of a British Government department?  We are now in a very different circumstance with worrying questions about the film’s actual purpose and narrative. Is it genuinely independent film we are seeing now or some carefully engineered form of disinformation and propaganda that’s been authorized, possibly initiated or indirectly financed by the very same foreign government which persecutes those people of Ireland demanding freedom.

Image: thevillagevoice/icarusfilms

Which rather circuitously allows the introduction of Chinese film director Mr Zhang Yang, whose most recent work ‘Soul On A String’ is a tale filmed in Tibet, like our imagined movie above it avoids entirely the injustice, torture, shootings and all too real and widespread oppression. The movie ignores the fact that Tibetans, their land and culture are under a foreign military occupation, but hey we cannot be surprised because any film produced there, by order of the regime, requires authorization from the so-called ‘Tibet Committee of the United Front Work Department’ which is supervised by and subservient to China’s Communist Party’s Central Committee!

Image: thevillagevoice/icarusfilms

Little wonder then that ‘Soul On A String’ is a trip through Tibetan folk and magical traditions recounting the tale of a Tibetan brought back from death by a Buddhist Lama who embarks upon a journey to carry a magical stone to a sacred land. Such a story-line would no doubt be warmly greeted by the un-sleeping propagandists of China’s regime who themselves are actively misdirecting attention away from the grim excesses of Chinese rule in Tibet by promoting, to those gullible enough to swallow it, the falsehood that Tibetan culture is flourishing and respected. Meanwhile film festivals and museums far too elevated and art focused to concern themselves with the genocidal realities existing in Tibet prefer to praise such films. They turn calloused eyes away from the glaring truth that such movies, endorsed, funded and censored by the Chinese regime are part of a sly and carefully assembled psyop that seeks to gloss over the brutal tyranny endured by Tibetans. It’s very easy as you sit watching such work to be relocated, critical faculties are suspended as the illusion presents itself and what more majestic stage than the elemental lands of Tibet. Zoomed right into a culture so exotic, and viewed through the distorting prism of misconception and stereotype that hangs over the notion of Tibet you can almost believe the deception. So enjoy the movie, immerse yourself in the story, after all its been approved by China’s ministry of disinformation!

 

Agency France Press Is An Arm Of China’s Propaganda Ministry!

Graphic via @tibettruth

Once again Agency France Press (AFP) misrepresents Tibet, its territories and people by an editorial policy that promotes and services the propaganda aims of China’s regime on matters related to Tibet.

The latest example of this news agency, serving as a conduit for China’s disinformation, was published February 3rd, in a report on the banning of images of the Dalai Lama which peddled terminology engineered by the Chinese ‘Ministry Of Deception’. Asserting that Tibetans live ‘in China’ and describing; what in truth is occupied Tibet, as ‘ethnically Tibetan areas’ will no doubt be much appreciated by the Chinese government. After all such descriptions were cynically concocted to promote the big lie that Tibet is an inalienable part of China. Which AFP, its China-based editors and journalists are supporting and promoting.

So we have a question for AFP, given your news agency accepts the bogus claim of China’s tyrannical authorities, that Tibet is ‘part of China’, and territorial legitimacy and sovereignty is defined by military invasion, occupation and colonization. Then presumably you will have no objection to the suggestion that France, during the years of occupation by German troops, was in effect a region of Germany in which there were ‘ethnic French areas’?!

As UK Establishment Whores Itself To China A TV Report Exposes Orchestrated Army Of Support For President Xi Jinping

BBC News

Anyone else checkout via the internet the scenes on London sidewalks yesterday as the British Establishment groveled to China’s President  Xi Jinping. The route taken by his cavalcade was swamped with an army of adoring supporters, all carrying that symbol of human rights, compassion and freedom, the Chinese national flag! The dissenting protesters, Tibetans, Uyghurs, members of Falun Gong were overwhelmed, caged in by the cops, and it would seem denied certain actions, which pro-China activists appeared to enjoy without restriction. Looking at events there it was obvious this was no impromptu outpouring of adoration towards the Chinese leader but a carefully staged and well funded effort to effectively dominate and suppress any attempt to raise issues such as Tibet and human rights concerns.

Channel Four News

Behind the cheery smiles of the army of Chinese supporters, all wearing pro-China branded clothing was an agenda to propagandize, manipulate and take control of any media coverage. The game was busted by a BBC crew who discovered boxes of such merchandise that had been shipped in from China, as shown in the video above. Meanwhile the UK authorities, who have decided to jump into bed with China’s regime in exchange for profit, looked to have extended advantages and concessions to these loyal Chinese ‘supporters’  which are being denied to Tibetans and others protesting against the visit of President Xi Jinping.

Viral Tibetan Wedding Photos Are Another Chinese Deception!

You matter to China’s regime, or we should fine tune that to say, your understanding matters. To such an extent that it invests considerable resources, time and effort towards ensuring you are cultured and influenced towards holding a perception that has been carefully fabricated to conceal the odious realities of Chinese rule in Tibet. While promoting the big lie that Tibetans are enjoying a freedom and modernity as ‘part of China’. An ideological war is ongoing, a relentless propaganda campaign engineered by China’s Ministry of Disinformation that’s directed at you and others within an international audience, to reassure and convince that reports of oppression, forced-sterilizations, torture, cultural genocide , forced-labor, and the denial of religious and civil freedoms suffered by Tibetans is untrue.

Image: weibo

The latest deception draws upon slick marketing strategy to push the message, with you as the ‘target customer’,  the ‘product’ (the falsehood of a contended and progressive Tibetans) is being sold to you in a way long familiar to commercial agencies. The psychological levers that have been exerted upon consumers for years are now being used by China’s regime to sell you as fact what in reality is pure deception. How best to realize that? What medium would reach a maximum audience, while having a content to exert the outcome desired? Any ideas?

Simplicity and emotion are key activators in marketing and some of the greatest commercials have used such a formula to great advantage, so with that in mind what concept has China’s propaganda engineers devised to shift your thinking on Tibet? Well we all enjoy a good story, right? What could be better than a happy ending for two young lovers? How many people have been cultured to celebrate and aspire to a marketed image of beauty? Have we been ‘educated’ to equate modernity with individual freedom and progression? Conceptual and emotive associations may already be coursing through your subconscious, triggering all sorts of programed feelings and ideas.  A similar reaction from you being is sought by a series of images which appeared recently on the internet and have been aggressively promoted across a number of social networks.

Image: weibo

These show what is promoted as a young Tibetan couple in a variety of on-street locations in Tibet and China, these are though no ordinary images, it’s all very high-definition, cinematic poses, high fashion modernity and front-cover cosmetics. The message suggesting individual freedom, progression, social movement and development, masks a sly manipulation that exploits an emotional appeal associated with our response to the ideas of ‘love’ ‘courtship’ ‘marriage’ personified by and performed by these two carefully selected and highly photogenic models.

Image: weibo

The photographs invite us to celebrate and be happy for these young romantics who one minute are dressed in Armani the next wearing traditional Tibetan clothes. A modern Tibet in which cultural values are respected, so much so that we see them at the foot of Lhasa’s Potala Palace, hands raised in veneration, but of what exactly? Eagle-eyed subscribers may notice at the top of that former home of the Dalai Lama flies the flag of communist China and we suspect that it is to China’s regime that these actors offer their praise.

Image: weibo

The reality is of course very different indeed, although the facts of China’s tyranny against Tibetans has not dissuaded media organizations such as CNN from promoting this deception, without criticism or question. Either that agency is utterly inept in terms of journalism or it is a willing partner in peddling China’s disinformation on Tibet. Whatever the case by publishing these images it is misinforming its readers and viewers about the plight of ordinary Tibetans, whose culture and freedoms are violently suppressed. We hope our readers and subscribers will share this article and in so doing spread the word to counter such offensive and duplicitous propaganda.