Lhasa riot reports show media bias in West Comments

By Ye Jun (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-03-22 09:04

Chinese netizens, including students studying overseas, have been angered by biased and sometimes dishonest reports about the recent riots in Tibet by some Western media.

Pictures from some media websites, including CNN and BBC, with untrue reports about the riots have been posted on chatrooms, drawing criticism.

"I used to think the Western media were fair. But how could they turn a blind eye to the killing and arson by rioters?" asked a posting at pic.qikoo.com.

The pictures illustrate how news can be manipulated.

The BBC News website carries a picture with the caption saying "There is a heavy military presence in Lhasa", while the photo clearly shows an ambulance bearing the red cross symbol.

The American Fox News website published a photo with the caption "Chinese troops parade handcuffed Tibetan prisoners in trucks", while the photo shows Indian police dragging a man away.

CNN.com used a cropped photo of Chinese military trucks, cutting off the half of the picture showing a crowd of rioters throwing rocks at the trucks.

More notably, the websites of Germany's Bild newspaper, N-TV and RTL TV, and the Washington Post all used pictures of baton-wielding Nepalese police in clashes with Tibetan protesters in Kathmandu, claiming that the officers were Chinese police.

"To tarnish China's image, the West is doing whatever they can, no mater how mean and vicious," said one netizen on www.huanqiu.com.

"Is this what they call Western democracy and freedom of speech?" asked another netizen.

Huai Bao, a student studying filmmaking in Vancouver, Canada, said: "I have read some news and online discussions made by those who have never been to Tibet, who have zero knowledge about China and the history of Tibet. These people have no rights to comment on Tibet."

Bao, from Beijing, became a believer in Tibetan Buddhism after meeting his master, a high-profile lama, in the Chinese capital.

He said that some Tibetan monks set fire to shops, schools and hospitals, and attacked Han and Tibetan people, including women and children.

"My master told me that the monks involved in the riots were not real monks, as violence and crimes are absolutely against the teachings of Buddha," he wrote in an e-mail to China Daily.

Netizens also mentioned a blog (kadfly.blogspot.com) run by a group of Western tourists traveling in Tibet during the riot, where photos and video clips of Tibet are posted.

Although their photos were used by the New York Times and the BBC, the following words did not make it into the Western press.

One blogger wrote: "I want to make one thing clear because all of the major news outlets are ignoring a very important fact the protests yesterday were NOT peaceful."

He wrote that all of the eyewitnesses agreed that "the protesters went from attacking Chinese police to attacking innocent people very, very quickly. They appeared to target Muslim and Han Chinese individuals and businesses first but many Tibetans were also caught in the crossfire."

A video clip was posted on the blog, in which a Han motorcyclist, an obvious passerby, was stoned by a crowd of mob.

Bao said there is a unanimous feeling of anger among his Chinese friends in Vancouver.

"Any news about China has to be negative so that they will believe it - from 'poisonous toys to poisonous dumplings'. Some foreign media have a particular interest in bashing China over human rights and pollution. They turn a blind eye to all progressive changes."

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