Traps made by Chinese Media

Written in April 2007
(translated by krizcpec)

For those foreign media that aspire to enter China, it surely is good to know that their reports have been reproduced on Chinese media and attracted comments from readers. Losers and Winners, an article about a documentary of the same title, published on November 13, 2006 on Deustche Welle. That article was first reproduced on Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao/环球时报), a subsidiary of Xinhua News Agency and widely circulated in China after it appeared on Xinhua Net, attracting much discussion among netizens. However, Deutsche Wellewould definitely feel startled if it realize its article has been reproduced with the title altered, key content removed and became a report promoting the spirit of the Chinese workers – work hard in arduous conditions, triggering sentiment of national pride in some Chinese netizens. 

This Deutsche Welle article bore the same title as the documentary; whereas Huanqiu Shibao had changed it into “Deutsche Welle: vigor of Chinese workers shocks Germans”, thereby transformed an article that compared the plights in which workers of the two countries are trapped respectively into one that showed the Germans commendation for the Chinese workers. The “loser” image of Chinese workers regarding their rights was swept away completely. 
The word count of the report ran on Deutsche Welle was about 2,080; the reproduced version on Huanqiu Shibao, 1,100. Apart from the details on the workers conditions that were slightly abridged, there were three paragraphs that had been deleted.
Here is the first deleted paragraph:
While the workers are impoverished, Mo Liqi, a party secretary in Yankuang Group and head of this project, yearns for driving his own Mercedes Benz as soon as possible. Regarding the safety suggestions from the Germans, Mo commented, “The Germans are just afraid to take responsibility, and wouldn’t dare to do anything a little out of the box. Chairman Mao has a saying: There is nothing unachievable if one has enough determination and willingness to sacrifice. (唯有牺牲多壮志,敢叫日月换新天) If not for the sense of sacrifice, how would Yankuang become what it is today? Our workers work 800 meters below ground surface, not a single day without the sound from above they heads that something might collapse. How could it be completely free of danger? If things are done in the German way, we may as well do nothing.
The reason this paragraph was deleted was China had proudly acquired the status of the country with the highest coal miner mortality rate. This has made the Chinese people realize the need to get rid of the bloodstained GDP. If it were in Mao’s era, Mo’s remarks would be as widely received as those sayings of Wang Jinxi, the Daqing iron man. But in today’s China, brainy readers would find his thought offensive.

The Second paragraph that was deleted was the humor-packed and candid remarks this deceptively somber party secretary spoke in front of the camera that frequently made the full house burst into laughter. “We came to Germany and realized that there is much to learn from.” Mo said, “first, the Germans love green, they would even detour around the vegetation to protect it; second, the whole nation exercise, and care much about the animals...if there are so many wild pigeons on construction site in China, they would have all been eaten long ago...If I could come to Germany again, I wish I could move all airbus production bases from Germany to China.”

This remark was deleted because it was irrelevant to the title Huanqiu Shibao had created. Since all that was needed was to highlight the shock of the Germans, it was not necessary to keep Mo's comment that “there is much to learn from [Germany]”.

The third paragraph that was deleted resulted in complete change of the theme of that report. 
In the original article there was a passage that was its “ news eyes”: “in this game between cultures of East and West, which is the 'winner', and which is the 'loser'? Losers and Winners, the documentary from German directors Ulrike Franke and Michael Loeken revealed.” Huanqiu Shibao did retain this whole passage. 
But when it came to the most important part of the second last paragraph of the original article, Huanqiu Shibao has done some tampering with it. Let's look at the original text on Deustche Welle:
 Who then is the winner, and who is the loser? Director Loeken didn't answer it directly. 'This, viewers have to decide for themselves.' From where I personally stand, I think both German and Chinese workers are losers. The Chinese workers work so hard but they don't see any sign of a bright prospect; the German workers lose their jobs, close down mine that were passed onto them from their forefathersan anguish that is beyond words. Their employers of course get benefited and become concerns of an even higher level. As for more connotation of this, viewers need to understand it for themselves.”
Huanqiu Shibao kept only the first four sentences, and deleted everything else from the sentence “from where I personally stand”. The reproduced article ended with the same words as the Deutsche Welle, 

“At the last scene of the documentary is but a passage: in 2006, Yankuang introduced from two coke ovens, both 7.63m tall. The first feeding produced 50 tons of metallurgical coke, which marked China had successfully absorbed the German technology, and thus the country's coking technique made a 20-year leap with this step.”

An article on a documentary that compare the situations of the Chinese and the German workforce has been turned into one that recount how foreigners were deeply moved by the willingness of Chinese workers to cope with harsh living conditions and exhausting work. And at the same time through the mouth of foreign media Huanqiu Shibao expresses the idea that with diligence in arduous conditions, China can swiftly surpass developed countries.” Can we not be impressed by the breadth and depth of propaganda culture of Chinese Communist Party?

Without doubt this isn’t the only topic on which the Chinese media has made traps. If you read carefully reports on Taiwan, Chinese-American relationship, Chinese-Japanese, and on leaders visiting other countries, you would surely spot many discrepancies in key areas between these reports and those by foreign media.