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Biased Xinjiang riot coverage refuted
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The Chinese have bombarded some foreign media's biased reports on the July 5 riot in Xinjiang, saying such practices have violated the principles of journalism and turned the Chinese readers off.

In his letter to Xinhua Monday, a Chinese reporter said he wished to discuss with his Western colleagues the standards of fair and objective reporting.

"As reporters, we're supposed to tell the truth and clarify the when, where, who, what, why and how for our readers," said the reporter, who has worked for 11 years as a journalist.

He cited a news photo that appeared at London Evening Standard website on July 7, with caption reading "Blood and defiance: two women comfort each other after being attacked by police".

"I'm all too familiar with this photo, which was cropped from CCTV's news footage of the riot scenes. CCTV reporters found out they had been assaulted by the rioters," he said. "Did anyone at London Evening Standard interview them?"

On July 8, the website removed the picture and caption at its readers' protest, but a story headlined "The women invoking Tiananmen's spirit" continued to describe the Xinjiang riot as "the crackdown on members of the Muslim minority by Chinese authorities".

"If such bias angered me, then a Washington Post story published on July 10 about 'the right way to help the Uygurs' simply left me in hallucination, as if Xinjiang were somewhere in the States," he said, pointing to the author's bossy comments on the U.S. government's Xinjiang policy and call for stronger support for Rebiya Kadeer and her World Uygur Congress, which the Chinese believe were behind the Xinjiang riot and a series of protests at Chinese embassies worldwide.


The Beijing Daily published a bylined article Sunday that questioned some Western media's "double standards" in the Xinjiang riot coverage.

"Some Western reporters described the apparently criminal act as 'peaceful protest' sparked by 'ethnic discrimination'", wrote the author Qin Feng.

He said these reporters ignored the plain facts, took sides with the desperados and even helped justify their criminal acts. "They have violated the principles of journalism and apparently applied 'double standards' in covering the Xinjiang riot and similar violence in some Western countries in the past."

He referred to the 2005 unrest in the suburbs of Paris and the Los Angeles riots of 1992. "Not a single media report called these riots a result of prolonged ethnic discrimination, and not a single politician advocated for 'peace' and 'rights' against the governments' use of troops to restore order."

"Media reports need to be objective and balanced," said Qin. "As reporters we should tell the truth instead of being driven by prejudice or sympathizing with those who sabotage social order."


An opinion piece entitled I Don't Read the Wall Street Journal Any More has spread rapidly among China's Internet users since its electronic edition was published Saturday to refute the journal's 'biased' reports on the July 5 riot in Xinjiang.

The piece by veteran People's Daily reporter Ding Gang cited the journal's Asian edition, which referred to the Uygur people as protesters and the Han people as "mobs", and claimed the riot was caused by unfair treatment of the Uygur people.

"At first I thought it was the same old bias from our Western colleagues, but the image of Rebiya Kadeer and her bylined story The Real Uygur Story on the journal's website on July 8 was totally unacceptable," he said.

"The journal's editors may as well defend themselves, saying this is balanced and fair journalism, but would it have been balanced and fair for them, had any Chinese media commented on the Sept. 11 terrorist attack against New York and Washington in 2001, saying "New York Revenge -- Muslim minorities fight U.S. hegemonism?

"Please keep in mind: those mobs, who wouldn't even let pass children, are terrorists by the standards of all nations governed by law.

"Starting from today, I've stopped bookmarking its website and have marked incoming mails from the journal as spam," wrote Ding.

Ding, who worked as resident correspondent in Stockholm, Brussels and New York and was among the first Chinese reporters to enter the Sept. 11 terrorist attack site, said he had read the journal for more than a decade.

"The journal may not care if it loses one reader, but I do care about my own dignity and that of the Chinese nation.

"Frankly speaking, the journal's China reports are increasingly disappointing in recent years, some of which are biased and ignorant. I didn't unsubscribe it, thinking its financial reports and analysis are still worthy somehow.

"Its reports on the July 5 riot in Urumqi, however, are simply unbearable: This time, the journal has gone beyond bias and ignorance to blatantly take sides with the terrorists, and serve as their spokesperson."

Ding's opinion, in Chinese, was published in the print edition of the Global Times Friday and was quoted by hundreds of websites Saturday and Sunday. Most of these websites, however, deactivated readers comments.

The deadliest riot in Xinjiang in six decades has killed 184 people and injured 1,680.

(Xinhua News Agency July 13, 2009)

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