Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

An Astounding Article in ‘Global Times’ [The Atlantic]


Interesting view from the Atlantic, an American literary and cultural commentary magazine: is Chinese state media capable of journalistic integrity aware of the power inequalities or is this just a play on foreign sensibilities? The usually ultra (dare I say?)-nationalistic Global Times uncovers car crash hush-up in Beijing.

– – –

An Astounding Article in ‘Global Times’
James Fellows
Source – The Atlantic, published March 19, 2012

(See update below.) As soon as you can, try this link to an article on the site of the state-run and usually very nationalist Global Times newspaper in China. It is hard to believe that the story will stay up very long. (And if it does, that will say something surprising in itself.) Here is the way it looks as of around 9am Tuesday, March 20 China time – although I see from the dateline that it’s been up for a while already:

Here’s the reason this matters: it concerns a spectacularly horrible fatal car crash over the weekend in Beijing. At around 4 in the morning, a Ferrari driven at high speed along the Fourth Ring Road crashed and burned, killing its driver and seriously injuring two women in the car. The Chinese social-media-sphere has been full of speculation about who was in the car, how “connected” they might be, what kind of people (top officials’ children?) end up with Ferraris, whether the story will be hushed up, and so on. In short, every exposed raw nerve created by the gaping economic and power inequalities of today’s China was touched by this episode.

And for Global Times to say that the story is being hushed up! It is like Fox News undertaking an expose of Bush v. Gore or the business interests of Clarence Thomas’s wife. This is at face value brave, possibly reckless, and without doubt extremely interesting. Here is a screen shot of the end of the story as of right now.  After the jump, a text version of what the story says. Thanks to BB in Beijing for spotting it. And I say, with none of the usual sarcasm, that I am very impressed by what this part of the Chinese state media has done in this case. (Seriously, read this story! It’s amazing.)

UPDATE: Some of my China-sophisticate friends say I am overreacting to this, and that an English-language story like this is meant strictly to play to foreign sensibilities. Perhaps, and perhaps I am quickly misreading these events. But — if that is so, why are English-language broadcasts on CNN or BBC blacked out whenever they mention “sensitive” topics? Why do the English-language China Daily and Global Times usually present such a chipper “harmonious society” face? I don’t know — I’m just saying that this is different from what I am used to seeing as the for-foreign-consumption face of Chinese news, from the state-run media.

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Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Beijing OIympics, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Democracy, global times, Government & Policy, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, The Atlantic, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

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