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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

China plays victim for its audience

Another pertinent one - China's learning how to use the media to good use. Cultural revolution media usage redux.


China plays victim for its audience
March 17, 2008 in print edition A-1
Source (Date of Access 7 September 2008)

Even as China faces global criticism for its crackdown on Tibetan Buddhists, it’s winning the battle that it most cares about: support for its policies among Chinese back home.

One key factor is a media strategy that, while still blunt and heavily reliant on censorship and propaganda, shows more nuance than usual for the lumbering Communist Party.

This last week the government has used something it traditionally viewed as a big negative, any suggestion that it’s not in total control, to its advantage by going large with print, still and video coverage of Tibetans attacking Han Chinese in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, and destroying their property.

Not only does this rather ironically paint the Chinese state and its massive police force as something of a victim, analysts said, but it also stirs up feelings of fear and anger among many Han, the nation’s majority population, that add a personal dimension to the riots.

At a political level, the coverage has also bolstered the government’s assertion that its archenemy, the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, is masterminding the protests from abroad and the atheist government’s long-standing contention that Tibetan monks are anything but neutral, nonpolitical and peace-loving.

Many of the videos china/20080315/101987.shtml of the on the state-run CCTV website have been shot and edited to point up crimson-robed monks bashing and burning with the best of the mob. And to the extent the Dalai Lama has stopped short of outright condemning the monks and the protest, China gains points.

Click here for full article.