Tuesday, November 19, 2013

China Insists on Respect

I've noted that China goes to great efforts to shape international views of China or China's positions. Hollywood movies that wish to enter the China market have been altered to make them compliant with China's positions. There's even more involved.

From the Washington Post:

It’s well known that Chinese censors shape and limit the news and history their people can learn. What may be more surprising is how Chinese officials shape and limit what Americans learn about China.

If you are a scholar and wish to visit China, you'd best be a visible fan or at least not a vocal critic.

That's been around a while. That treatment is extending to journalists:

Increasingly, foreign journalists are subject to similar pressure. Paul Mooney, a veteran Asia journalist for Reuters, recently was denied a visa, with no reason given, according to the agency. Knowledgeable China hands for Bloomberg News, the New York Times and The Washington Post have met similar fates.

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times does not appear to have any problem at all in traveling to China, I should add.

It's an amazing story that few Americans are aware of:

Visa denials are only one way the Communist Party attempts to influence how China is depicted. American universities increasingly depend on money-making campuses in China and on Chinese students paying full tuition here. Hollywood rewrites scripts to ensure access to China’s screens.

As Sarah Cook of Freedom House writes in her recent 67-page report, “The Long Shadow of Chinese Censorship: How the Communist Party’s Media Restrictions Affect News Outlets Around the World”:

“In many cases, Chinese officials directly impede independent reporting by media based abroad. However, more prevalent — and often more effective — are methods of control that subtly induce self-censorship. . . .”

They really think they are the center of the world. I can understand wanting to get your own side of the story out. But this is an amazing attempt to shape opinions expressed about China.

It's like the first line of defense to reduce the work load on China's vast army of censors who work hard to keep Chinese Internet users from seeing information that runs counter to the official party line.