Netizens condemn biased reporting on riots

0 CommentsPrintE-mail China Daily, July 9, 2009
Adjust font size:

Netizens slammed some Western media, including CNN, for biased reporting about the riots in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, which left 156 people dead.

After analyzing the structure, selection of sources, and wording choice, some netizens urged Western media to stop repeating their mistakes in covering the Lhasa riots last year.

Some western media blamed the government and security forces for the violence, without even mentioning the brutal killings by those rioters, netizens said. The CNN report, Unrest among Uyghur residents in China (July 7, 2009), mainly used one anonymous witness and a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress as the news source, portraying the event as a bloody crackdown over the peaceful protestors.

"The whole news structure shows that CNN is like the propaganda machine for the World Uyghur Congress, other Chinese are completely silenced, and how can the world learn about the whole truth in this way?" a netizen said.

In using the videos provided by Chinese media, the Western media coupled them with biased commendatory that the Chinese government is suppressing ethnic minority groups and transferring huge numbers of Han Chinese into Xinjiang to dilute the Uyghur culture .

A China Daily website reader who identified himself as Aussie criticized the biased reporting in some Australia media. "I read The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald reports about the riot. I notice the subtlety of words used to give support/sympathy to those rioters and terrorists.

"Somehow, the reports are more concerned with the rights of these rioters/terrorists than the crimes against the innocents citizens get caught in the scene! How irresponsible it is for these reporting agencies to show this biased news! " he said.

"I am truly ashamed of these new agencies. Unbiased reporting is only a fair dinkum way to readers irrespective of country involved!"

A post on reads: "I am very angry about the biased reporting. If you look at the video, you see people shed blood on the street, but what you hear from the commendatory is that Chinese armed forces suppressing the protestors."

"Naturally, the audience would think that those people died because of police action. But this is not the case. They were actually killed by the rioters. This way of editing video footages is politically charged and will make many Westerns confused. It only enforces the misunderstanding of China's ethnic minority policy," the post said.

Questions also surfaced over why the Western media failed to explain that tens of thousands of Uygurs work in big cities all over China. China is developing its market economy and everyone has the legal right to move freely and work in a place of their own choice, without discrimination of racial background.

"If Uygur are segregated and discriminated as some western media claimed, how can these Uygurs be working in Shaoguan, Guangdong province?" a reader commented.

The ethnics-based approach of analyzing the riot misrepresented the true picture in Xinjiang, a place home to 47 of China's 56 ethnic groups, including the Uygur (45.62 %), Han(39.87 %) and Kazak (6.99 %) ethnic groups.

Netizens believe that the western media's languages are not neutral, and the way of defining the brawl at a toy factory in Shaoguan best shows how the Western media try to orientate the Western readers' attention. To frame the brawl as racial violence is not only wrong in fact but also malicious in nature, they said, accusing some Western media continuously play up the ethnic tension in China through many ways, following the same intrigue of reporting the Lhasa riots.

They specifically mentioned the Times article How unrest in China flared to violence (July 7) , which emphasized the racial reading of the riots with the remarks "the antipathy between the two ethnic groups".

The AFP report also starts the report with sentences like "China poured troops into the restive city of Urumqi", immediately restraining people's attention to the dramatic scenario of crackdown, the netizens said.

It is also easy to find descriptions like "long-simmering ethnic tensions" in the Western media reports, such as in an AP report "China arrests 1,434 after deadly Xinjiang riots "(July 7). The Western media, either due to a lack of knowledge of the long-term relationship between two ethnic groups or an insidious purpose of inciting the ethnic tension, tries to imply that Han Chinese and Uygur can't live together peacefully, according to the netizens.

However, some readers suggest the Chinese be not overactive to the reporting methods of Western media.

"Media has its own way of operation and you can't expect the Western media to be objective and balanced," a netizen said on

"All they desperately need is people's attention, and that's why the toy factory conflict is framed as 'ethnic cleansing'. These concepts sell well in the Western world."

PrintE-mail Bookmark and Share


No comments.

Add your comments...

  • Your Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
Send your storiesGet more from