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Pet Sins July 2006

Anti-Chinese slant in US contributes to skewed media coverage?

I was having dinner with an acquaintance from China. He had previously lived in Boston for a decade or more. He complained that once, a China VIP had come to visit his campus, and about a thousand Chinese students showed up to welcome him. TV camera crews came to cover the event, but they did not film the thousand or so Chinese students in the welcoming crowd, but rather focused their cameras on the 20 or so Tibetan protesters who came to protest the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Only the protests were shown on the evening news in connection to the event. My acquaintance was enraged at what he thought was media favoritism towards the Tibetans.

According to this acquaintance, a scuffle broke out between some Chinese students and the Tibetans. One of the Tibetans grabbed a pole and knocked one of the Chinese unconscious. The police was called, but they claimed that since they did not see the Tibetan commit the act of violence, they would not book him. They were only interested in booking the Chinese. My acquaintance claimed the police deliberately ignored the Chinese side of the story and paid more attention to the Tibetan version of events. He attributed this to the negative stereotypes of China the American media has perpetuated.

Of course I only have one side of the story, but nonetheless, it is from a perspective that is seldom heard in mainstream American media. Now I am not a fan of the Chinese government, nor do I think their occupation of Tibet is legit, but there is still something to be said for fair and balanced reporting. When the anti-Japanese riots broke out in China in 2005, there were retaliatory riots against Chinese living in Japan. Some people in the media, and non-Chinese people are that, pointed out that the anti-Chinese riots in Japan were not even mentioned on mainstream US media while the anti-Japanese riots in China got plenty of attention.