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Who is spinning the propaganda?

[ 2009-05-13 13:57]     字号 [] [] []  
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Who is spinning the propaganda?The international press mostly calls government officials, from anywhere in the world, "spokespersons". The US President's spokespersons are called "White House aides". Why are Chinese government officials labelled "communist propaganda chiefs"?

Western media bias against China is so predictably boring.

The Chinese word "xuanchuan" means to broadcast or spread informa-tion, and has no negative connotation. It does not carry today's meaning of "propaganda" defined by Webster's as: "chiefly derogatory information, especially of a biased or misleading nature to promote or publicize a particular cause or point of view."

When xuanchuan was translated into English before World War I, "propaganda" was freely used in Western Europe without the attendant stigma. But its deceptive use during the wars, gave it a sinister ring, especially when the word fell under the evil shadow of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.

Who is spinning the propaganda?

After the wars, government PR departments around the world no longer practised "propaganda". Instead it came to be called communications or public information. China also changed the name, but only in the past decade.

These government spin doctors carried on exactly as before, singing the praises of the powers that be, but under a new title.

Today's governments, in China, the US and everywhere, continue their spin. It's not bad, it's not good. It's just politics. It is what it is.

Recently, the White House began a Facebook page, "promoting the Obama administration to young people". If a similar initiative took place in China, it would most likely be branded a "communist propaganda campaign".

The People's Republic of China celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, and according to Britain's The Telegraph newspaper, the Chinese people need reminding by yet another communist "propaganda campaign". On May 10, the daily reported: "An Internet poll conducted across several leading Chinese websites as part of a propaganda campaign to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic, has drawn a patriotic response".

Would The Telegraph's Washington correspondents ever write: "An Internet poll conducted across several leading US websites as part of a government propaganda campaign to mark the Fourth of July, has drawn a patriotic response."

By constantly labeling Chinese government initiatives as "commu-nist propaganda" the newspaper deliberately paints a sinister and very outdated picture harking back to the days of "reds under the beds" and the "yellow peril".

It appears The Telegraph reporters and the editors are trapped in a time warp, lost in a haze of the glory days of a colonial empire, long, long gone. I'm sure a few of these old chaps still rue the "loss" of Hong Kong.

Here's the irony. The Telegraph, that mouthpiece of the Britain's right-wing Tory Party, is only telling its old-school readers what they want to hear; and by presenting an outdated stereotype of China and the Chinese, the paper is guilty of spinning its own kind of propaganda.

The core of the issue is: By constant use of such name-calling tactics, this newspaper - along with other foreign media representatives based in China - betrays it cannot, and will not accept China's socialist governing system. Even after 60 years, they cannot accept the Communist Party of China has won overwhelming favor among the Chinese people, and thus won the war and a mandate to govern.

These newspapers are blinded by their own bias and self-centered belief systems.

Fortunately, there are many members of the foreign press, who accept China's differences, and can be critical without screaming "communist propaganda" at every opportunity.

E-mail: patwhiteley@yahoo.com


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