NYT should review biased China coverage

Updated: 2014-12-16 12:21

By Wen Xian(chinadaily.com.cn)

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The New York Times is a major US newspaper that was established in September, 1851. In its 163-years history, it has won 114 Pulitzer prizes and claims to publish “all the news that’s fit to print”.

Despite its claim, however, it has been highly selective in publishing its news stories.

NYT should review biased China coverage

Protest opponents carry caricatures of (from left) Chan Kin-man, Benny Tai, Chu Yiu-ming and student leader Joshua Wong outside Central Police Station in Hong Kong on Wednesday before Tai, Chan and Chu surrendered themselves to police. EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY

On Dec. 11, the newspaper published a story on Hong Kong police’s clearing of the barriers and camps set up by the “Occupy Central” protestors. The report failed to mention the fact that the protest is illegal; instead, it has dubbed it as a “democratic” movement to convey the message that it is legal. Citing a protest participant, the story said: “We'll stop now, but that doesn't mean we're giving up. We'll be back for sure.” It continued to incite trouble by citing a lawyer as saying: “Usually I would serve only my clients in the cell, but this time around I would be in the cell myself.”

For the New York Times and some other Western newspapers, it is a delicate balancing act to select quotes by interviewees in the Hong Kong “Occupy Central” protest. They have selected quotes in a way that can fan the flames of trouble.

There are beggars just outside the New York Times building, but it is ridiculous to simply conclude that “beggars are prevalent in the United States”. China has had some problems, difficulties and conflicts that have arisen during its fast development, but the Western media outlets should not exaggerate them to mislead the public opinion.

It is not the first time that the New York Times have opted to wear blinkers when it reports on China-related issues. In March, when the Malaysia Airlines Fight 370 disappeared, China tried its best to search for the plane. The New York Times published a report headlined “China’s Actions in Hunt for Jet Are Seen as Hurting as Much as Helping”. It went so far as to take advantage of the tragic accident to sensationalize the “China Threat” theory, claiming that China’s regional competitors feel uneasy about China’s fast-growing prowess of its military and its intention to send its military beyond its borders. Such an insinuation is inappropriate and inhumane when the world was searching for the lost passengers and crews.

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