Bringing you a positive look at the negative, always.

by

Today in the news it was reported that a group of Chinese intellectuals and lawyers signed a letter of complaint claiming;

China’s Central Television (CCTV) has turned its news and historical drama series into propaganda to brainwash its audience.

Well one thing is for sure, those 20 people can expect the warm hospitality of a Chinese re-education camp in the very near future.

Anyone who has spent time in China would notice the very poor quality of its television broadcasts. Being an english speaker I can only comment on the one english channel, CCTV9 however it was obvious from day 1 that the quality of news article being shown were quite obviously propaganda. Never was there a negative article on China and always, as the article mentioned, foreign stories always had a negative vibe to them. The news would be on TV several times a day and over a 30 minute period would often show an average of 3 articles total. There would generally be at least one based on China – something completely insignifigant, like farmers buying extra quantities of ducklings this season – leading into the inevitable handful of stories about some remote part of Pakistan – or China’s foreign minister visiting Kazikstan.

Never was anything of actual importance reported, and never were stories on China negative. If you lived in a world where you only watched Chinese TV as your source of information, you wouldn’t in fact know anything at all. The only time we really saw anything of note was during the Sichuan earthquake where it was covered quite extensively. Here they could easily portray the common enemy as the earthquake, singing praise to the heroic Chinese rescuers. Rarely if ever was it mentioned that a mulitude of foreign countries offered money and manpower to aid what truly was a disaster.

Of course during the Olympics, almost daily we saw the torch relays both in China and around the world, but never did we see anything of the international protests. The Chinese are extremely patriotic as a people, and it truly is no wonder when they can’t even get proper information about their day to day current affairs. The letter of protest couldn’t even be posted within China – it had to be put up on an American website. Real change in this country is going to be a slow and painful process. They can build cities in a day, but the Chinese people are slowly going to awaken. Or are they? They have lived for almost 5000 years under similar circumstances. Perhaps this issue is only important to foreigners looking in from the outside.

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2 Responses to “Bringing you a positive look at the negative, always.”

  1. Jay K Says:

    Hey great website, I jsut stumbled on this while going thru other chinese sites. im logging on thru vpn here in beijing. anyways great blog and I hope you can keep it up because I love the format of this place.

    I would like to say something about this particular note you wrote for this one.

    When I first came to China a friend of mine who was a party member then said to me the first few times we met each other “Welcome to China! If you want sadness just watch the Chinese football team; if you want to see happiness just watch cctv news” I didn’t understand this meaning until many months later.

    Another one was when I told one of my friends who was a journalist/reporter for several stations in her past about this comment. She then said something to the likes of “The formula for success to a 1 hr cctv news program is this: 30 minutes of government officials walking around and giving orders, 20 minutes of how China has developed and improved the quality of life in other nations(esp africa*) and the rest was how the rest of the world is too violent and has too many problems in their society”

    Anyways just wanted to tell you about this particular fond memory of mine.

    Jay
    a Yankee in the Celestial Kingdom

  2. Marcus Says:

    Hey Jay,

    Thanks a bunch for posting that – That comment regarding the football team and CCTV is fantastic. It’s funny, I was just thinking the other day about CCTV as I was watching the Australian Open.

    I remember during the Olympics, my partner Courtney and I were sitting on our hard wooden couch, flicking through the 30+ channels (at the time at least 19 of them showing the 11 *cough* 16 year old Chinese gymnastic team and we stumbled across an actual tennis match – on CCTV9 – Roger Federer versus someone I cant recall right now.

    Woohoo! We love tennis and it seemed to be the whole game broadcast. The Chinese commentary didnt matter so much – nor the fact that they had Chinese characters over the scoreboard – but what did piss us off, was deep into the set – when it’s getting interesting – and bang on 6pm, it cut to CCTV9’s news.

    Ok I thought, maybe they’ll show the news, a few important enough stories to interupt the game, and then cut back – No..of course not. As usual, the three or so hand-picked stories were played, and what was worse? They were repeats of stuff I had seen a few months earlier. What the hell?!

    Goddamn – If I live in China again at any point in the future (and here’s hoping), I am investing in satellite TV 🙂

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