China’s rise has created a great deal of adverse feelings towards China by many in the western world, particularly in the US, the UK and Australia. The outbreak of Covid-19 has intensified the sentiment. In the US, you have people from the both sides of the political divide fighting head over heels to outdo one another to bash or demonize China at every opportunity they can find, regardless of truth. The very notable ones in politics are the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Marco Rubio, not to mention the very POTUS himself. In Australia you have Peter Dutton. There are also many in the UK, largely from the Conservative Party, and Europe. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and my once must-read The Economist are constantly churning out China-bashing articles, so are the Fairfax presses in Australia. John Garnaut is its standard bearer there. And from the TV channels, you have CNN, Sky News, Fox News, BBC and Al Jazeera to throw stones. BBC’s Tim Sabastian and Stephen Sackur are the obvious ones. Of course, we know some are controlled by billionaire China hating puppeteers like Rupert Murdoch and George Soros. And very sadly, many the people behind the articles or news coverage are ethnic Chinese! Amy Qin of the New York Times is a case in point, so are a couple of others in Al Jazeera.
Sure, sometimes China has been less forthcoming in many things. But they have their reasons which can only be appreciated by people who understand Confucianism. But by adopting a defensive posture, they allow these attack dogs to pounce even harder. And with their ability to reach readers and audiences all over the world, the western media shape opinions.
You cannot change the west’s prejudice about China and Chinese unless we act with greater dignity and exemplariness. We must beat them in their game; no amount of self-thumping can help. It is time for China to learn how to manage media relationship. Apart from Liu Xin and Zou Yue and a couple of others, most of CGTN presenters and reporters are not quite equipped to take on the world. Their narration can hurt your ears! (I hate to hear Tian Wei’s voice!) Since CGTN is an English channel, they should learn from Al Jazeera or NHK or KBS. Hire the best anchors and presenters!
Unfortunately, most of the guest commentators they bring in to speak are also unable to articulate their views well. They tend to begin their sentences with unnecessary baggage like “I think, you know” stuff. And their arguments or explanations can be quite incoherent, though we know many are great thinkers and scholars. They are several outstanding ones, though. Einar Tangen and Victor Gao are such examples. I still remember watching with great delight how Victor Gao literally tore Tim Sabastian into pieces in one of the Hard Talks the latter hosted.
|The best CGTN host Liu Xin|
|No nonsense Einer Tangen|
|Dr David Nabarro|
I hate to see Stephen Sackur, another anchor in BBC’s Hard Talk series. I happened to tune into one of his earlier this week. I would usually change channel after seeing who his guest was. But this time, I had a pleasant surprise and watched until the end. His guest of the day was WHO’s Special Envoy Dr David Nabarro. Sackur’s biases and ill-intention towards China – centering on his accusation of China’s lack of transparency when corona virus first broke out and China’s revision of the fatality figure – were completely neutralized by Dr Nabarro, who was so cool and objective. Sackur looked very ill-prepared. China should have people like Dr Nabarro. It does not have to be defensive; just let the facts and figures speak for themselves.
|The attack dog|
|Daniel Dumbrill of Canada|
I had plenty of time to watch podcasts that are being circulated in WhatsApp during this lockdown period. I was particularly impressed by some of these two fake news slayers. Nathan Rich and Daniel Dumbrill are more effective than China’s CGTN!
Many friends must also be following the posers and answers in Quora. There are many of anti-China/Chinese rabble rousers there. But it is heartening to see many have taken pain to explain and clarify. Unfortunately, prejudices are so deep-rooted, and they thought to be agents of China!
I am a Malaysian Chinese and because of social and economic realities, I was largely educated in English and my wife and I speak English at home and with our children and grandchildren. (None of them can handle Mandarin or any of the dialects.) But we are proud of our Confucian upbringing. There is both merits and demerits in both the West’s insistence of liberal democracy and East’s emphasis on strong governance. There can be cross-fertilization, and not necessary a “West versus East” false binary that is being championed by many in the West now.
The bipolar world that may result because of the West fear of China’s rise is indeed disturbing!