Tibet Reading 4

The coverage and dialogue about the situation in Tibet has continued over the past days, evolving largely (in great part due to foreign media's lack of access to Tibet and neighboring provinces where unrest has occurred) into a discussion on China's media clampdown and the way the Tibet riots and subsequent protests are being read in China and abroad. Here are some of the apropos things we've been reading in recent days.

1. On Danwei.org, an intriguing short piece on YouTube videos, which asks if this might be "the world's first international user generated propaganda war?"

2. When the crisis began, we were eager to see what Pico Iyer and Pankaj Mishra, both elegant writers who have penned thoughtful commentaries on Tibet in the past, would have to say, and we linked to pieces by each of them in earlier posts in this series. Now, on the New Yorker's site, as free content, at least for the moment, is a
fascinating lengthy review by Mishra of Iyer's new book on the Dalai Lama.

3. The Shanghaiist has a
good short piece (with accompanying video) on the varied ways that the lighting of the Olympic torch in Olympia on March 24 (and the disruption of the ceremony by protesters) was covered inside and outside of the PRC.

4. China Digital Times effectively
brings its readers to date on issues such as a petition by Chinese critical intellectuals calling for, among other things, an end to what they see as Cultural Revolution-type rhetoric in the government's statements about the situation in Tibet.

5. "Riots" vs. "protests"? Outbursts of social unrest are often accompanied by battles over terminology, and Chinese bloggers have been complaining that the Western media has been using more neutral terms, such as "marches" to describe what in fact have been "riots" in Tibet and nearby areas.
This piece in the BBC highlights a dilemma that Western journalists face, lacking direct access to the regions in question, and having only Chinese official reports to go on, which cannot be cross-checked easily with other sources--yet it does use "Tibetan riots continue in China" as its headline.

6. Several articles have been reporting on and breaking down the anger at the foreign media’s “bias” that has grown in China over the past week (fanned in a part by the government and its media outlets, and in part by nationalistic netizens). Read about its affects on foreign media and the atmosphere inside China here, or here. (There is also a piece in the Wall Street Journal, which requires a subscription.)

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