Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Chinese Bloggers Cry Wolf

WSJ. reported Some well-known bloggers in China used an unlikely tool last week to make a point that Western news media and politicians misunderstand Chinese censorship. They shut themselves down.

Notices posted on the Chinese-language blogs Massage Milk and Milk Pig announced that "Due to unavoidable reasons with which everyone is familiar, this blog is temporarily closed."
Their hoax got everyone's attention, but I hope they don't try it too often, or they will be considered like the boy that cried wolf. Finally people did not believe him when he cried wolf, and when a wolf really came .....
Within hours, English-language bloggers and Western news media spread the word that the Chinese government had closed the sites. The BBC news service reported that Massage Milk was "closed down by the authorities," adding that the act had coincided with the annual session of the Chinese legislature. Picking up on that report and others from news services, French free-press group Reporters Without Borders issued a statement condemning the closure of the blogs..... But in this case, it appears the Chinese government wasn't involved. By Thursday, a day after the shut-downs, the blogs were back up and running.

In an interview, Beijing-based journalist Wang Xiaofeng of Massage Milk says he shut his blog down to make a point about freedom of speech -- just one directed at the West instead of at Beijing. He calls the Western press "irresponsible" and says that the hoax was designed "to give foreign media a lesson that Chinese affairs are not always the way you think."
We now realize that. And when the Chinese government really does shut you down, I hope you remember this.
"They are not just supposed to report based on their own perceptions, without understanding the circumstances in China," he says, noting that the BBC's report was exactly what he expected. The BBC didn't call him to discuss the issue before publishing its stories, he says.
Check to see whether the story is true or not before publishing? What a strange journalistic practice (at least these days)

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