01/11/2016, 00.00

The West sacrifices free press to do business with China

Wei Jingsheng
The great Chinese dissident warns that after the expulsion of the French reporter Ursula Gauthier: "The politicians of the Old Continent are already on the payroll of Xi Jinping. If we let him get his hands on foreign newspapers the fight for democracy in China has no future". A word of advice from the author of the Democracy Wall, "We should begin to suspect most of the articles are dictated by Beijing."

Washington (AsiaNews) -  By observing the changes of the situation over the past year, we can roughly predict the situation for the New Year.  Many media have various predictions of China in the aspects of economy, politics, etc.  So I will not repeat someone else's work.  Now I want to give a supplement to look from a new perspective.

In the next two days, Ursula Gauthier, a French journalist expelled by the Chinese government, will have to leave the China that she loved.  When I was in France, I talked with her at some friend's home.  She is really passionate about China, especially about Chinese people and Chinese culture.  Moreover, unlike some reporters who pretend neutrality, she really is a reporter with a strong stand on human rights issues.

Further, she cares about human rights in China more than human rights in other countries, which might be due to her fluent Chinese.  She must understand Chinese culture in depth, thus love the Chinese people as well.  When I heard the news that she will be forced to depart China, my first reaction was: ah, how did the Communist regime even tolerate her spending six years in China?

Maybe the photograph of Xi Jinping in the background of her photo illustrates the issue.  With a good understanding of Chinese culture, she learned a little cunning to protect herself - she learned to protect herself with camouflage like the Chinese people do, instead of talking of true thoughts without guarding of mouths like those in a free society in the West.  That way will not let someone stay in China for six years.  Or otherwise, one would just become like some other foreign reporters who become the mouthpiece of the deceptive propaganda of the Communist regime -- both deceiving foreign readers, but also Chinese people when their reports were imported back to China.

As a foreign correspondent, one should not cheat one's readers.  This is the bottom line or the minimum moral charge of a reporter.  Generally speaking, during the eras of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, reporters were accepted for standing above this basic bottom line.  Regarding the articles written by the foreign correspondents that were published in foreign media, the Chinese government did not peruse the accountability in depth.  To the most, they gave some warning from time to time, to demonstrate that it is not that the Chinese government does not know but just does not want to pursue it.  Meanwhile, it also meant that the Chinese government still accepted freedom of speech of these foreign reporters in their own countries.

Since Xi Jinping came to power, he persecuted several foreign reporters and their media.  That was because these media exposed the false anti-corruption campaign by Xi Jinping, even exposed the corruption of Xi Jinping and Wang Qishan themselves.  Perhaps these materials were provided by their enemies within the Communist regime, leading to a suspicion of being involved in the struggle within the Communist Party, so it resulted in an even more intensified reaction.

But from these few cases, the Communist regime discovered a new world.  That is in order to do business with China, the Western governments do not really care about the freedom of speech that their journalists should have enjoyed as in the West, or do not care if their journalists cheat their own people or not -- maybe these governments hope their people are lied to after all.

Just as they got impatient with Chinese human rights issues in private, they may have told those reporters who have conscience: Do not use your little freedom to trouble our big business.  We still need the support from our business community to get elected.  Without the approval of the Communist regime, which company would dare to support my campaign?  If I lost the support of several companies, I could lose my re-election as well.  This is our big problem.

Now, many people who serve Xi Jinping once studied in the USA and have a better understanding of these deficiencies of the Western politics.  They finally realized that they could use these flaws to control the Western politics and media.  During the eras of Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin, they were very successful at applying this method to control and to influence the Western politics.  Recently, Xi Jinping spent a lot of money in Western countries, for the same purpose to strengthen the control of this area.

But the Communist China has been spending a lot of money in the West for decades; why has it not been in full control of the Western politicians?  There is a problem - the problem of the media.  When the media is not fully controlled, the Western voters are not completely deceived.  So politicians have great difficulty to cooperate with the Chinese Communist Party, while politicians concerned about human rights have a great advantage to convince their voters.

During the recent election campaign in the USA, the candidates with most advantage have taken the China issue as a holy grail to attack their opponents, and force their opponents to change their positions and strengthen the attacks against the Communist regimes.  This change shows that the effectiveness of the old policy has reduced; the approach of buying the Western capitalists by letting them take advantage of the Chinese market, thus being able to buy out the politicians indirectly is no longer enough.  "Political reform" has to adopt new thinking in this regard.

This new thinking is to aim at the media, especially the reporters in China, and particularly the reporters who are fluent in Chinese.  The idea is to keep those foreign reporters who dawdle their jobs because they do not know Chinese well enough and have to use the unified releases from the Xinhua News Agency.  Combined with both incentives and penalties, with two-pronged soft and tough approaches, the Chinese government can control the foreign media to the level of 1970's.

Back then, there were only two reporters of British and French origin who dared to meet me in Beijing, not even the American reporters dared.  Their bosses and governments were peeking into the possibility of doing business in China.  I guess that during Deng Xiaoping's visit to the United States, he had revealed this stand to then US President Carter in exchange for his support of the invasion of Vietnam.  Afterward, the open economy while maintaining authoritarian policies of Deng Xiaoping received a strong support from the United States, which probably was also negotiated in private at that time.

Now the situation is that Xi Jinping wants to return the domestic policy back to the Mao Zedong era.  Of course, he also wants to return to the time when the false imagination of China by the Western leftists influenced the Western voters.  Here is an important part of the effort: to make the Western media not know the truth about China.  Preferably it should be the same as those years, when the reporters did not understand Chinese and thus could only read and pass the unified news releases by the Xinhua News Agency and press conferences.

Another very important aspect is that the Chinese people, even Chinese officials, do not believe Chinese media, but just believe foreign media.  So to import back the intended "news" from abroad, is the only way to continuously deceive the Chinese people.  Therefore, to control the Western media is not merely an issue of foreign diplomacy, but the full issue of whether the dictatorship could continue in China.  This is the main task of Xi Jinping's rule.

That they chose to attack the French correspondent is because France is a small country and has become increasingly weak over the years.  Even ISIS chose to attack France first.  So Xi Jinping will pick up the soft persimmon to pinch first and chose France as well.  It seems Xi is very successful and soon will fully implement his new thinking to control the foreign media.

The advice I want to give to my Chinese friends is that not only should we not listen to the lies by the Communist media, we should also analyze what we hear from the Western media in the future.  As we try to prevent ourselves from being cheated by the Communist regime, we must also prevent the deception of these foreign media that are being snatched by the Chinese government.


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See also
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