Friday, 6 July 2012

The TIMES & China

Much has been said and written about Rupert Murdoch’s courting of China in the past decade or so, but it does seem to not have effected the content of at least some of his newspapers. On July 2nd, two articles cropped up in the Times that caught my eye, due to their distinctively negative tone. The first also suggested that the issue of Tiananmen Square is alive and well in the Western press (I noted not so long ago that the issue seemed to disappear when the American press reported on Chen Guangcheng).

“Fear and loathing after 15 years under Beijing's rule” by Leo Lewis (TIMES, Monday July 2nd 2012, p.28)

“Everything bad comes down to the interference of Beijing” one Hong Kong resident told Lewis.

“On the surface, Hong Kong seems to be booming since the handover, but underneath life just gets more difficult. Free speech is falling away. Promises are broken. They don’t even let reporters ask questions.”

Following up on that statement, Lewis reports that Rex Hon Yiu Ting was “removed” from a question-and-answer session with Chairman Hu Jintao after asking “a question about the Tiananmen Square crackdown”. Tiananmen remained a sticking point, as

“Mr Hu received another shrill reminder of disgust at Beijing’s record on human rights and the bloody suppression of the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.”

Having written this, though, for some reason Lewis does not actually describe or provide any details about what this “shrill reminder” actually was. A strange omission. Perhaps Lewis is referring to the “huge protest march” that coincided with the swearing in of Hong Kong’s new, “tainted by scandal” millionaire Chief Executive, Leung Chun Ying.

Lewis also included a mention of the “suspicious” death of dissident Li Wangyang, who died at a Chinese hospital, which appears at first to be rather peripheral to the story he is covering.

I get the feeling this article was heavily edited by someone who was less-than-careful about what they were taking out and making sure what they left in actually made sense and didn’t suddenly hang there along and without context.

“Shanghai ‘must focus on opening markets’ to realise its 2020 vision” by Emily Ford (TIMES, Monday July 2nd 2012, p.43)

There’s not much to write about this article, but I thought there were a couple of interesting comments within it. For example, the rather negative portrayal of China’s economic council/officials as Hu Jintao’s “economic henchmen”.

“Some economists say that if China does not move quicker to open up its financial markets and liberalise interest rates, it will risk creating another Tokyo, whose early promise as a global financial centre dwindled with economic malaise.”

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