Chinese media serves interest of its own 1.4 billion people: Spokesperson   

BEIJING, May 12 (INP): Chinese media including like Xinhua and China Daily are owned by the Chinese government and upholds the interest of the 1.4 billion Chinese people, While, perhaps CNN and other media owned by monopoly private capital serve the interest of a few or interest groups.

This was stated here by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying at a regular press conference, while commenting on an article recently published by the New York Times.  The article had alleged that China is creating an alternative to a global news media dominated by outlets like the BBC and CNN, and to insert Chinese money, power and perspective into the media in almost every country in the world.

Hua Chunying said, she saw the NYT article. Based on what has been in the question about the NYT report, said she will make some initial responses.

“First, the world is a diverse and colorful place. In the media sector, instead of having CNN and BBC only, countries should all have their own voices. China has an uninterrupted civilization that dates back over 5000 years ago. Today, China is the world’s second largest economy and the biggest developing country with 1.4 billion people, nearly one fifth of the world’s total. Of course we should have and we deserve a place in the international media landscape.

Second, by abusing discourse hegemony, the US has launched a disinformation attack on China under the pretext of media freedom. In the meantime, the US is letting ideology override the principles of objectivity and authenticity and justifying its political manipulation of cracking down on Chinese media through denigration.

Such moves are barely-veiled media hegemony or discourse hegemony. In the face of lies and rumors to smear and attack China, it is only natural to make our own voices heard. China explained truth and facts on many important issues including COVID-19 to leave an objective and right collective narrative and memory for mankind. This is what we call a responsible attitude from a responsible country.

Third, the Chinese people honor credibility, which is important to who you are and what you do. We also believe that people should not do to others what they do not want others to do to themselves. Chinese media make coverage in an objective and never concoct or disseminate disinformation targeting other countries. I have noted that the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee passed the Strategic Competition Act of 2021, which authorizes $300 million to be appropriated for each fiscal year to “counter the malign influence of the Chinese Communist Party globally”.

If you bear this figure in mind, then the anti-epidemic supplies China offered to some media agencies are basically nothing, not even bordering influence, infiltration or propaganda.

Fourth, due to difference in systems, media outlets in different countries operate in different ways. When evaluating whether a media organization is professional, the most important thing to refer to is whether it abides by journalism ethics of being objective and just in its reporting.

The Xinhua News Agency is a world-renowned agency with nearly 90 years of history. Following customary operation rules, it provides authoritative and professional news service to global users. Its cooperation with other news agencies is no different from that of AP, Reuters, AFP, Kyodo with others. No one can deprive Chinese media like Xinhua their right to exchange and cooperation just because it is from China, a socialist country. Accusing Xinhua of engaging in exchange and cooperation with other agencies based on this alone is some sort of ideological bias and political discrimination.

Following the logic in the report, Can we come to this conclusion?

German author reveals the relationship between Western media, governments and capital in a recent book The Hypocritical Superpower: Why we need to step out of the United States shadow. You will find it a good read.

The NYT article mentioned that China provides reports in Italian to Italian media and others. Translation is provided to help foreigners including journalists better understand what’s said in Chinese and to facilitate communication. We use simultaneous interpretation at our regular press conferences here.

And we often send replies in English via WeChat and Fax to foreign correspondents at their request, which they always welcome. If the governments of the US, the UK and other countries are willing to provide responses and reports in Chinese, we would certainly welcome it instead of seeing it as infiltration, propaganda or influence.

Fifth, it is a complete distortion of facts to accuse China of suppressing foreign media and denying US journalists visa. The fact is that since 2018, the US has indefinitely delayed or denied visa approval for 20 Chinese journalists. It designated US-based Chinese media as “foreign agents” and “foreign missions”, expelled 60 Chinese journalists in all but name, and limited visas for Chinese journalists to a maximum 90-day stay.

That means they have to apply for an extension every three months and pay $490 for it each time. The visa extension applications submitted by Xinhua New Agency’s and People’s Daily’s correspondents in early November 2020 haven’t been approved yet. Following the US rules, they have stopped working since early February.

The Xinhua correspondent was forced to return to China on May 1. Besides, many Chinese journalists whose applications were finally approved found that when the notice came, the validity period was almost up, which means they had to start a new round of application right away. All these have put US-based Chinese journalists in great uncertainty and severely affected their work and life. You may ask yourselves, how have you been treated in China? If China were to treat foreign journalists like the US, how would you feel?

China has no other choice but to make necessary and legitimate responses to the wanton US suppression. We exercised the utmost restraint and has not yet retaliated against the US measure to slash Chinese journalists’ visa stay to a maximum of 90 days. After the outbreak of COVID-19, we did what we could to overcome difficulties and help China-based American journalists and their families stranded overseas to return to China.

Even though the US refuses to grant Chinese journalists visa extension, we still offer support and assistance to American journalists working in China like all foreign journalists. Their reporting here has not been affected at all. On the visa issue, the overwhelming majority of the nearly 500 foreign journalists in China hold press cards with a validity period of one year. The facts are crystal clear and I hope relevant journalists can all look at this rationally.”