Reporters Without Borders released its latest version of the World Press Freedom Index, and apparently China has cancer. It ranks sixth from the bottom, at 175, below Vietnam, Iran, Cuba, etc. To give you an understanding of how bad Reporters Sans Frontières believes the situation is:
"The smog has become so thick in Beijing that the city's natural light-starved masses have begun flocking to huge digital commercial television screens across the city to observe virtual sunrises..."
-- lied The Daily Mail in an article last week
"Several Western journalists who faced expulsion from China were issued renewed visas by the Chinese government Thursday, ending a months-long standoff," writes William Wan for Washington Post. Yay!
"Austin Ramzy, a journalist who previously worked for Time magazine, has not been given press accreditation or a permanent visa since he joined the Times, according to journalists in Beijing."
Paul Mooney, Edward Wong, Bob Dietz, and Sarah Cook are in Washington DC to participate in a panel discussion organized by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. "China's Treatment of Foreign Journalists" begins at 3:30 pm ET today (Wednesday) and can be streamed live here. It's a bit early for you China people -- 4:30 am -- but may be worth it if you have nothing better to do.
"Is Beijing about to Boot the New York Times?" asks the headline to this Foreign Policy article (not paywalled!) by Isaac Stone Fish. It's a fair bit of speculation: 12 Times journalists are apparently anxiously waiting for their annual visa renewals, as revealed by two sources speaking to FP on background. (Emphasis on either "anxious" or "still waiting," depending on your level of cynicism about media / China.) About a dozen Bloomberg journalists are reportedly in the same boat.
Xinhua host and moonlighter for the Daily Mail’s venerable China Bureau Nikki Aaron has been blissfully peddling the British tabloid yarns of her “China adventures” for the last few months. All well and good.
Here’s her latest, on dating, a subject she has visited before. The extremely confessional tone of the Mail piece begs the question: who is Nikki Aaron?
The Telegraph, reporting from across the pond on a senseless tragedy, i.e. yet another mass shooting in the US, has apparently thought it worthwhile to use the first 12 paragraphs of an 18-paragraph story describing how Aaron Alexis -- the Navy Yard gunman who killed 12 people on Monday in Washington DC -- had a "string of failed relationships with Asian women." That's in the headline of this "exclusive," by the way: "Aaron Alexis: Washington Navy yard gunman had string of failed relationships with Asian women."
There will be no admonishing in this post, because anything that gets Battlestar Galactica in the news is a-okay by us. A recent article on the Japanese-language version of the website for the China Internet Information Center featured pictures ripped straight from BSG and passed off as futuristic military technology.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on... you, I guess. Fool me four times, shame all around. Fool me five times, does your mother know you're doing this? Fool me... I've lost count. Stop fooling me!
It didn't seem too good to be true, because why wouldn't you believe that a little girl, she alone amongst dozens of passersby, would squat with her pretty umbrella to help an unconscious street cleaner in Guangzhou? And that a reporter would happen to be there to take a picture?