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International Journalism


The mass media plays a very important role in the contemporary world. Basically, the mass media contributes to the formation of the public opinion. In such a situation, the position of the mass media may play the determinant role in the perception and interpretation of certain events by the public. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the Tibet conflict, which has provoked extremely controversial arguments between Chinese and world mass media since their position varied dramatically and their views on the essence of the conflict and its significance was practically opposing to each other. In other words, Chinese media basically opposed to the position of media of other countries, such as Singapore, for instance, in the interpretation and criticism of the actions of the Chinese authorities in Tibet. The difference in the position of the media in different countries reveals the impact of socioeconomic, cultural and political environment on the media since the criticism of the non-Chinese media of the policy of China in Tibet is the result of the negative image of China in the world since this country is considered to be among undemocratic countries, where civil rights and liberties are violated systematically. On the other hand, Chinese media are under the control of the state and, therefore, they often fulfill propagandist functions supporting the position of the government in such situations as the Tibet conflict.
In order to reveal the extent to which the position of Chinese media and non-Chinese media varies, it is possible to refer to the analysis of Chinese and Singapore media and their depiction and analysis of the conflict in Tibet. First of all, it should be said that Chinese media basically support the official position of the Chinese government and they are quite skeptical about criticism of actions of China in Tibet. In this respect, it is important to underline that Chinese media stand on the ground of the protection of national interests of China in Tibet. For instance, Qin Jize’s article “Hu Tells Rudd Tibet is “internal affair” lays emphasis on the fact that the interference of foreign countries and organizations in the policy of China in Tibet is unacceptable. In fact, the article conveys the official position of the President Hu Jintao who rejects the idea that the Tibet conflict could be resolved otherwise. Instead, the President of China focuses on the sovereign rights of China to conduct policy in its territory in accordance with Chinese laws and national interests of China. On analyzing this article, it should be said that the author’s position is basically supportive, though the voice of the author of the article is apparently secondary compared to the official position of the President Hu Jintao. In such a way, this article reveals the fact that the role of the Chinese authority is still very significant and the media readily takes the position of the Chinese officials. Moreover, there is practically no criticism of the policy of the Chinese government in Tibet. Instead, the article rejects accusations of foreign organizations in the violation of civil rights in Tibet and, what is more, the article does not even admit the possibility of the interference of foreigners into the internal affair of China. In such a context, the criticism of Chinese policy in Tibet is considered as the threat to the independence and sovereignty of China since the article represents the criticism is interference of foreign states and attempt to control the domestic policy of China from abroad. Obviously, this pressure from the part of foreign countries is absolutely unacceptable neither for Chinese authorities nor Chinese media.
Moreover, Chinese media attempt to criticize severely the opposition in Tibet and separatist movement, which, according to Chinese official position, is headed by Dalai Lama who has been exiled from the country. For instance, “Qiangba Puncog’s statement at press conference” published in China Daily reveals the official position of the Chinese authorities. To put it more precisely, Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the government of the Tibet autonomous region, criticizes severely the anti-Chinese movement in Tibet. In fact, he stands on the ground that the opposition movement in Tibet headed by Dalai Lama is a radical, extremist movement, which has nothing in common with the position of the overwhelming majority of the population in Tibet. In other words, Qiangba Puncog, as a Chinese official, views the opposition in Tibet and the Tibet conflict at large as the conflict between a small group of extremists and the legal authorities which attempt to maintain the order in the region and provide the local population with the possibility to lead the normal life. What is more important, he lays emphasis on the fact that the riots in Tibet were organized from abroad and it was Dalai Lama who was actually responsible for the riots. In such a way, this article reveals the fact that the Chinese media tends to the official position and looks for external enemies, instead of critical evaluation of the policy of the Chinese government.
In this respect, Hu Yan’s article “Hypocrisy of Dalai Lama” basically supports the official position, but, unlike the previously discussed article, this article presents rather the personal position of the author. In such a way, the article shows that it is not only the Chinese officials that condemned the separatist movement in Tibet but journalists and Chinese mass media that also do not justify the actions of Tibetan opposition. Moreover, the article openly accuses the leader of the liberation movement of Tibet in anti-Chinese policy and scheming against China. In fact, the article debunks the myth about Dalai Lama as a fighter for freedom of Tibet and, instead, it presents him as a mercantile person that protects his personal interests and to meet his goals he uses Tibetan people and provokes conflicts between the Chinese authorities and a part of the population in Tibet.
However, the position of foreign, Singapore’s media, is quite different from the official position of Chinese media. For instance, the article “China’s Hu hits back over Tibet crackdown” is consistently more critical compared to Chinese media. To put it more precisely, the article presents the official position of the President of China, but, at the same time, it also provides a background of the conflict and its brief history. Moreover, the article is very critical and attempts to justify or, at least, explain the actions of the opposition in Tibet. In such a way, the article shows that the opponents, both Tibetan and Chinese, have their own reasons to justify the conflict and, what is more important, the actions of the Chinese authorities are criticized since they led to the violation of human rights.
On the other hand, Singapore’s media also indicate at the peaceful efforts of the Chinese authorities. The article “China agrees to 2nd round talks with Dalai team” focuses on the efforts of the Chinese authorities to solve the conflict in Tibet and stop the violence in the region. In such a way, the Singapore’s media are more critical in relation to the actions of the Chinese authorities, but, at the same time, they attempt to critically evaluate actions of both parties of the conflict.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that views of Chinese and non-Chinese media on the conflict in Tibet vary consistently. On the one hand, Chinese media tend to support the official position of the Chinese government, while, on the other hand, non-Chinese media attempt to critically evaluate the events in Tibet and the policy of China and criticize the Chinese authorities for the violation of human rights in the region.


References:
China agrees to 2nd round talks with Dalai team. Business Times Online May 6, 2008. Retrieved May 11, 2008 form <http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/news/story/0,4574,277927,00.html>
China's Hu hits back over Tibet crackdown. April 13, 2008. Retrieved May 11, 2008 form <http://sg.news.yahoo.com/afp/20080412/tap-china-rights-tibet-unrest-oly2008-8d4ea94.html>
Jize, Qin. “Hu tells Rudd Tibet issue is 'internal affair'” China Daily, April 14, 2008. Retrieved May 11, 2008 form <http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-04/14/content_6614074.htm>
Qiangba Puncog's statement at press conference. chinadaily.com.cn. April 10, 2008. Retrieved May 11, 2008 form <http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-04/10/content_6606879.htm>
Yan, Hu. Hypocrisy of Dalai Lama. China Daily. April 10, 2008. Retrieved May 11, 2008 form <http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2008-04/10/content_6605502.htm>


 
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