It’s Not A Sin To Work For Global Times

Is it a sin to work for Global Times?

“Is it a sin to work for Global Times?” asks the headline to a recent SCMP blog by Amy Li that launches into an account of a recent, unpleasant and viral Weibo exchange between a reporter from the English version of GT, Zhang Zhilong, and a scribe for a more liberal paper, China Business News, Wang Wai. Zhang had contacted Wang under the unspoken “we’re all journalists together” pact in hopes of getting more police information about a taxi accident involving his parents and doing a story about it.

Wang asked what paper Zhang worked for and the response was harsh. Wrote Li: “Upon hearing the name Global Times, Wang said: ‘Then I don’t care’ and hung up.”

Ugly Weibo exchanges followed, with many onlookers cheering Wang and calling Zhang a “50-center.”

But is it a sin? Ms. Li should have asked at least two of her Chinese SCMP coworkers. Before “defecting” to the SCMP, and despite their “sin,” they both toiled through self-censoring managers under the Red Thumb and the imagined whims of the egomaniac and decidedly marmot-banged Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin, who, Li wrote, also courts controversy. As Hu wrote on his Weibo following the Zhang-Wang spat:

“It’s nothing. Global Times has such a large circulation. [Note: without a specific number -- it’s always been a mystery.] Its website is the largest besides [state tit] the People’s Daily. Confidence helps people maintain their manners.”

Hu thrives on attention, good or bad, as long as they spell his name right. To his small credit, he did “liberalize” the English language version from the rabid Chinese version, albeit with very mixed results. The opinion page continues to suck dead rats and draws the most negative attention, but if one sifts through the news pages there are still some gems.

GT has run stories that China Daily (where as a PR for the PRC hack I also worked) would never touch. Maybe my proudest two moments at GT were finally getting the foreigners paid on time and killing a story headlined, “Incest Around the World,” based on an old Austrian-based story about the animal who imprisoned and fucked his daughters for years. It was neatly summarized according to countries and incest relationships. Guess which country was omitted? “It’s a Small World After All (Except China)” kept ringing through my head as I read it.

As the first foreigner hired at GT-English, I recruited both of those two previously alluded to SCMP reporters after working with them separately in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. I admit, I felt a bit guilty as I couldn’t exactly figure out why they wanted to be a part of what would become the ultimate clusterfuck, but felt they could make a difference. But in their time they did a helluva job, inspired younger reporters and ultimately went on to the SCMP, which has had its own managerial and self-censored sins to consider.

    12 Responses to “It’s Not A Sin To Work For Global Times”

    1. Chinese Netizen

      SCMP is a mainland paper now for all intents and after they finally get rid of the expat writers and completely staff it with mainland “talent” like their editor in chief, will they show their true colors. Kind of like Fox News.

    2. Owain Lloyd-Williams

      Nicely written and very informative Justin – always good to read articles that go against the popular grain. I can’t say I’ve worked for the Global Times or The China Daily though have always been intrigued as to how the general workings of foreign editors is undertaken there.

    3. RhZ

      I still don’t really understand this story, and it seems to me that Ms. Li is not helping much.

      Why would Zhang expect Wang to help him? Why would Wang, working for China Business News, be in a position to help Zhang? Why would Zhang lose track of his goal (supposedly, helping his parents by getting information about the accident) and decide the most pressing thing in the world is calling out Wang?

      Zhang really comes across as arrogant to decide that Wang’s lack of help is rude and inconsiderate. You are asking a favor and you get turned down and have a hissy fit? That’s bs. Additionally, why would Zhang be surprised that he is looked down upon by many for working for an organization like GT? Has he not been there long? If he has, he really needs to get out more often.

      I still wonder if the whole thing wasn’t a set up. Where was this accident and what police station is implicated? Zhang needs to come clean.

    4. Oskar Riesemann

      Richard Burger of Peking Duck blog used to work for the Global Times. Which figures, given he’s a total asshole and his Peking Duck “blog” nothing much better than toilet tissue for the eyeballs. On his CV he describes his time at GT as being with an “internationally recognized english language newspaper” and consequently promotes himself as an expert on China as a result. He’s not, he’s an American asswipe and many of these journo types are the same..

    5. Lawrence Brownlee

      Burger always refers to his time with Global Times as being with an “internationally renowned English language newspaper in China”. Which may impress some American idiots in the US but doesn’t fool anyone else. And Oskar is right, “Peking Duck” is a BeijingCream wannabe unmoderated slag fest where the lowest ranking demoninator – such as the boorish FOARP who now makes it his home – wins. Folk like that are unrepresetative of the majority of higher quality expats that write about China, and Peking Duck just brings the genre down to its lowest level of intellect.

      • SeaHorse

        As a graphic designer my biggest complaint is actually the look of the website. I can’t stand it when people use ‘oriental’ fonts.

        • John Monash

          I’d prefer a triple dose of CDE sock-puppets, pls.
          Instead of only a Laurence & Oscar double-act.

    6. RFH

      @John Monash Brilliant. One sometimes forgets Chris is out there, nursing his grudges and licking his wounds/balls. Thanks for the timely reminder. Yes, Richard Burger, what a famous “asshole”


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