The SCMP reporter who got Alibaba chairman Jack Ma on record comparing his leadership decisions with Deng Xiaoping's during the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown has resigned after being accused of editorial tampering.
In a statement released on its website, SCMP claims its reporter, Liu Yi, surreptitiously "accessed the system and replaced the editor-approved article with an altered version in which Mr Ma's reference made in relation to June 4th was removed."
The Wall Street Journal has a follow-up to a Chinese state media article we linked to yesterday, in which a South Korean broadcaster, while trying to express relief that the two girls who died on Asiana flight 214 from Shanghai to San Francisco via Seoul were not Korean (as if nationality matters in these tragedies), used utterly regretful phrasing.
We don't really have an explanation for this. Edward Snowden is back in the news in a big way -- he left Hong Kong and is traveling to either Cuba or Ecuador via Moscow -- but check out what the Independent did with the front page of its newspaper, which hits newsstands today. The caption reads: "A red-shirted Edward Snowden, the man who leaked classified documents revealing US internet surveillance, among passengers at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport yesterday after he flew in from Hong Kong. Reports say Mr Snowden has asked Ecuador for asylum. BARCROFT MEDIA."
The Economist has a bizarre regional cover this week. Never mind that it’s tasteless and will surely be interpreted as homophobic by many of its critics. NEVER MIND THAT. Let me isolate the cover-line jokes for you, see if you find them funny:
He Stole His Heart
(And Then His Intellectual Property)
“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.
Via Austin Ramzy of Time, here’s Beijing Evening News’s photoshopped picture of a dog pissing on a car. The title of the article, as if it matters at all, is, “No harm to tires; still, don’t let it ‘go’ wherever it wants.” It’s about dogs peeing on tires. That picture, however, says so much more,... Read more »
The “falling for satire” bit is our little extrapolation, but what other funny way to explain this? Via SCMP: “All kinds of media work units may not use any unauthorised news products provided by foreign media or foreign websites,” according to a notice issued by the General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. This came... Read more »
Just about anyone not holding a select diplomatic or South Korean passport can travel to North Korea. All it takes is money, which you give to a tour agency. They’ll even take you to the countryside if that’s what you’re after. It’s only the hucksters who try to dress up their North Korean trip as... Read more »
David Barboza’s expose on the extent of Wen Jiabao’s family’s “hidden riches” has won him a Putlizer. He beat out the Associated Press for its coverage in Syria and Richard Marosi of the Los Angeles Times for his work on deportation of Mexican immigrants.
The lovably gullible editors at 21st Century Business Herald must really hate the genre of satire now. Just last month, this Guangzhou-based business weekly, one of the largest in the country, fell for a spoof on the website The Daily Currant claiming that Paul Krugman had gone backrupt. Very recently, they bit the bait again, this time dangled by The Borowitz Report.
Of course Chinese media was going to fall for an April Fools joke. But we expected Beijing News to bite it, or People's Daily, or 21st Century Herald (similarity: they've all been duped before, e.g., here and here). But CCTV, a television channel that, presumably, has researchers, copyeditors, producers and news anchors? That is to say, a terraced newsroom of professionally trained reporters and de factor fact-checkers?
The Foreign Correspondents Club of China recently got wind of an assault on a German TV crew yesterday in Hebei province and published this statement: The crew, belonging to ARD television, narrowly avoided serious injury when two men attacked their vehicle with baseball bats, shattering the windscreen, after a high speed chase down a major... Read more »
A maraschino cherry has just been dropped into the Long Island iced tea of the China blogosphere, as Asia Society officially launched its new blog, ChinaFile, on Tuesday. The occasion was highlighted by a panel discussion in New York moderated by legendary China hand Orville Schell, featuring New York Times correspondents of past and present: Seymour Topping (who covered... Read more »
Do journalists in China really face a tougher environment than Vietnam, Cuba, Sudan, Yemen, Laos? According to the French non-profit Reporters Without Borders (RSF), yes. China (173rd, +1) shows no sign of improving. Its prisons still hold many journalists and netizens, while increasingly unpopular Internet censorship continues to be a major obstacle to access to information. In its... Read more »
In a December interview on a Phoenix TV talk show, Jackie Chan made comments that Western media have recently described as "anti-American" -- ...really? I think his comments regarding America are immature, but they're not without reason. What a lot of reporting has ignored is that Chan was speaking in Chinese on a Chinese television channel, and the message he was delivering to a Chinese audience was this: “Yes, China has flaws, but if you talk about our country's shortcomings with foreigners, they'll misinterpret the message.”
Foreign commissioning editors get a lot of pitches like this: “The Chinese are now watching Homeland / eating caviar / behaving like us.” These activities usually owe to the fact that a few ultra-wealthy Chinese have found some new, pointlessly expensive Western habit — like high-end gold hi-fi aficionado clubs, or bottles of purified Moon water... Read more »
The Central Propaganda Department can force papers to run their government-line editorials, but even with the power vested in them by the Party, it can't determine where those op-eds appear.
Like, say, next to a humongous ad for pesticide control.
It began as a strongly worded letter. When journalists at the Guangdong daily paper Southern Weekly returned to work on Thursday to find a section had been altered by a propagandist — headline changed, article replaced — they published an open letter demanding “an investigation into the incident.” They named names, in particular accusing Guangdong propaganda chief Tuo Zhen of... Read more »