Media: January 2008 Archives

China's at WAR!

PLA soldiers numbering in the tens of thousands are now on the move. China's defacto 2nd in command, Premier Wen Jiabao, is out rallying the people. The CPC youth league is now being mobilized and pleas are going out to the public to provide financial support.

Now, if you were to read the statement above out of context, of course you might assume that either the CPC finally said 'screw it,' and started lobbing missiles at Taiwan or that some unruly ethnics started another Taiping. But instead, China now has a new enemy that can be mortally wounded by a strong stream of pee!

As far as Xinhua is concerned, China has declared war on snow. Well, actually, it's declared war against the disasters caused by the heavy snow and rain that has hit southeastern China.

Having worked in state-run media here in China for over the last two years, I've stopped banging my head against the wall trying to change the way my Chinese colleagues write their news. I swear, some of these kids come into the job as halfway decent writers. But once they toss them into commie school (AKA, the work environment), any sense of prose that they once had is slowly drained out of them like the fat from a Rosie O'Donnell liposuction. Don't get me wrong, I have tonnes of respect for guys like my friend and contemporary Edwin Maher who take time to try to coach the aspiring journalists to become better broadcasters. Hell, I was a broadcasting instructor before moving here to China myself. But at this point I have just given up hope. And reading the latest Xinhua story about the relief efforts in the southeast has just simply confirmed my apathy.

I have now begun the process of mentally preparing myself for the onslaught of "new" China stories hitting the international media. As a trained journalist and former journalism instructor, I have always expounded the need for news to be new. But unfortunately, I suspect this is going to be less and less likely the case as the Olympics draw ever closer. As the foreign media steadily work their way over here to begin their coverage of the Olympics, and China, I can guarantee that we are going to be hearing, reading and seeing the same stories repeated over and over again. A case in point is the recent 'revelation' from AFPTV.

Chinese village goes back to complete Communism

NANJIE, China, January 10 (AFPTV) - Huang Zunxian's living room is lit by just one dim lightbulb. It's dark...but not gloomy. His faith in the Communist Party is his guiding light.
"As common people we only have one thing to do," says 72 year old Nanjie Village Resident Huang Zunxian, "Listen to the Party leadership, and do whatever they say. To stay healthy and contribute more to Nanjie Village, thats what we think."
The people of Nanjie Village in China's Central Province of Henan are living history, a throw back to 1960s China. They have rejected the market reforms that have swept the country and returned to a collective economy.
Residents here say they have no desire for the luxury products the rest of China is flocking to buy. There are few people in the streets, most are at work in the village-owned factories. There products range from instant noodles to consumer packaging, and the profits sustain the local economy. Instead of a salary, workers receive free housing and food, health care and education.
Wang Hongbin has been the Communist Party Secretary in Nanjie for more than 30 years. As the senior most official , he oversees the running of the village. The sign hanging over his desk is an old Chairman Mao quote, and reads "Serve the People."
"Nanjie village has developed a collective economy," says Hongbin, "To walk down the path of gaining wealth. This was Mao Zedong's thought, strategy and policy."
There is no advertising in Nanjie, but Communist propaganda is plastered on buildings, and blasted over the airways. Nanjie also has a multi-million-dollar park dedicated to showcasing the life of Mao. In it are replicas of various houses where he once lived.
Mao's prominence here, and the fact that people are still living out his ideologies, have turned Nanjie into a tourist attraction. Soveigner shops are capitalising on the steady flow of curious visitors. No one in Nanjie is opposed to bringing in money; they've just opted to share it equally.
"All the tourists are jealous," whispers shop owner Wang Xinchao, "We live by Mao's philosophy."
The village's 3,500 commune members are proud to still be living according to Mao's word. But they are a tiny holdout, as the rest of China's 1.3 billion people rush towards capitalism.

I'm not for a moment saying that the story about Nanjie isn't at all interesting. But the fact is, this is not a new story. Anthony Kuhn, an excellent journalist with NPR here in China, did the same story in August of 2006. And a google search of Nanjie+China will get you even more stories about this Maoist throwback.

I believe a lot of the expectation from the expats in China is that we're going to be getting a lot of crack journalism and enthrauling new stories about China that we've never heard before because the western media horde is on its way to help educate us. Unfortunately, I fear that what I like to term as "pack mentality" is going to kick in, and we are going to be left hearing a lot about the Nanjie's of China, and not nearly enough about what is actually happening in this country. And I suspect this is exactly what the CPC is banking on.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Media category from January 2008.

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