Thursday, August 21, 2008

This Chinese Protest against Overseas Media Accounts of the “Underage” Gymnast Rings False—in a Most Truthful Way

According to China blogger John Kennedy, “[f]amous Chinese sports writer and Bullog blogger Wang Xiaoshan has posted a dramatically-titled piece, ‘Fake news kills', in which he tries his best to knock down the various official Chinese sources being used to substantiate He [Kexing]'s underage claim, and makes an earnest (?) plea to overseas media to consider the harm done to those stuck in the crosshairs.”

The question mark is worth at least a hundred words, since Mr. Wang’s piece doesn’t really make sense, at least not as an attempt to refute the sources being cited in US media accounts on doubts about the eligibility of the Chinese gymnast. Mr. Wang. It does not produce any evidence to refute the Chinese media reports and All it does is claim that a) the Chinese media lie and b) He Kexing denied that she was underage. Then, near the end of the article, Mr. Wang suddenly introduces a totally unconnected anecdote about rampant cheating in China’s version of national college aptitude exams.

The true effect of Mr. Wang’s article, then, is an indictment of the rampant corruption in government (the education officialdom). I suspect that his indictment—probably true—of a civil society institution (the Chinese media) and his plea—a transparently ineffective one—towards the foreign media are ruses aimed at diverting the attention of official censors. Such camouflage is common in authoritarian regimes. I first noticed this in pre-1945 Japanese poetry. The Chinese intelligentsia of course has been practicing the art for thousands of years.

Incidentally, I am now waiting for a certain gentleman to claim in a certain public forum that the foreign media have no idea what’s really going on here since they don’t know the Chinese language like he does and that this is no worse than what Japan is doing anyway. What are the odds on that happening do you—yes, I’m talking to you—think?


Anonymous said...

Wish I knew which gentleman you were referring to. Your comment sounds like something I remember from debates a few years ago in the (English) Japan design blogosphere.

Jun Okumura said...

Graham: I cannot divulge the name of the gentleman on this blog because I promised a British academic that I would not torment lonely old men, or something like that. (You can find the exchange on one of my early posts.) So it’s in the mail.

Durf said...

Perhaps the government could put together a council of eminent persons where this gentleman could share his wisdom on the matter.

Jun Okumura said...

In fact, government councils have sought his wisdom on occasion.

You know what? I don't think that I acted properly within the spirit of this blog here. If there is a next time, I will attack him by name, head on.