News from China, Is There a Pattern There?

  Previous  |  Next  

Saturday September 27, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

There seems to be a clear pattern for news from China. It is simple, it is basic, and it is geared to one thing--make the ruling government look good. Any bad news must be delivered late; hopefully it will go away before it has to be delivered. SARS, let's keep that under wraps; put the doctor who blew the whistle on it under permanent house arrest and maybe the people in the world won't understand why they are dying. The poisoned milk? Yes that news has to be delayed, we cannot have anything like that ruin the image we are trying to create for the Olympics, you know, peaceful China rising, while babies in China and around the world die. Delay that one six months or so, or at least until the Olympics are past.

Good news, now that is a different story. Announce that on time or early? Recently China launched Shenzhou VII, its third-ever manned space mission. China's leading news agency Xinhua was right there on the scene. It spoke of the glorious lift off, the pride it should give the country and was giving a moment by moment tracking of the brave astronauts who were risking their lives for the glory of China. The nation basked in such heroism, but then someone burst the bubble. Despite all the reports on how all was going well, how the cabin pressure was normal and how the astronauts were accurately giving data as they coursed over the Pacific Ocean, someone noticed a strange fact. The space capsule had not yet lifted off. Whoops!