The Deutsche Welle once reported that Russians widely believed that Confucius said: "If you sit by the river long enough, you'll see the bodies of your enemies float by." Some Russian experts on Chinese studies, too, like to quote this line. This is really shocking because Confucius said standing by a river: "Time goes on and on like the flowing water in the river, never ceasing day or night!"
I really can't understand how such a dictum, full of wisdom and pregnant with meaning, could go horribly wrong. I don't know whether it is the result of some Russian Sinologists' limited knowledge on China or a deliberate distortion by the Deutsche Welle.
A recent report published by the Heinrich Boell Foundation in mid-June analyzed the coverage of China in the German media in 2008. It showed that over half of the more than 8,000 reports in seven German media outlets referred to China only in allegorical and stereotype form. Many reports merely spread images and clichs without any reflection. There were "blind spots" in areas such as social, educational and scientific issues with evident "European-centralism" tendency.
The German media should introspect, for only if they carry objective reports on China can German and European enterprises understand China better and use the opportunities offered by the Chinese market to their full advantage.
The author is a research scholar with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, affiliated to the Ministry of Commerce
(China Daily 07/23/2010 page9)