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Beijing's '1.5 million Olympic evictions'
- The making of a Western media myth
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2. The Art of Making Headlines

Well there are a number of reasons. Foremost among them is that COHRE is part of the dog-eat-dog world of the "International Caring Industry". And let's be under no illusions about it – like the international consumer products battlefield, international caring is an industry where you're fighting tooth and nail for every single one of your dollar revenues with every single one of your international caring competitors.

COHRE's offices in the centre of Geneva – one of the most expensive cities in the world - won't come cheap. Neither will their Swiss salaries. Flying around the world's trouble spots on fact-finding missions is an expensive business too. And the "governments, philanthropic trusts and foundations, UN agencies and individuals from around the world" who fund groups like COHRE are constantly being solicited for their support from all angles – they will want a bang for their buck.

"1.5 million rehoused in Beijing over last eight years, says Housing Group" = international media yawnfest = revenue generating potential: zero.

"1.5 million in forced evictions for Beijing Olympics!" = international media Bonanza! = revenue generating potential: Ker-Ching!

Am I being unfair? Well, in July 2008, immediately prior to The Beijing Olympics, COHRE published a follow-up to its 2007 report entitled "One World, Whose Dream?", dealing exclusively with Beijing. In Section 2 of the report, "Evictions and displacements", COHRE once more speaks of "1.5 million displacements". Immediately afterwards, they go on to specify:

"An unknown percentage of these people were forcibly evicted…" (my emphasis) ii

COHRE's original report seems to have been covered by pretty much every mainstream media outlet in the developed English-speaking world. The follow-up report appears to have been covered by none of them. An advanced Google search on "COHRE One World whose dream" produces less than one hundred hits, limited to such authoritative media voices as godlessliberalhomoblogspot.com and his fellows.

COHRE must have been a little disappointed with the lack of splash. Perhaps mainstream Western media outlets like their denunciations of China to be nice, simple, and categorical. They are a lot less interested in "unknown percentages", which could be as low as one, or none.

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