If you were wondering how the Communist Party-run media in China would handle the case of activist Chen Guangcheng, The Wall Street Journal details how instead of willfully ignoring the news, the media in China has been doing its best to brand Chen as “a pawn and an unwitting tool of the U.S.” A tentative deal has been worked out to allow Chen to study in the United States, but that has not stopped the media from making its bold claims about Chen’s U.S. ties and the United States’ ambassador to China, Gary Locke.
The Global Times, an English-language Chinese newspaper, ran a story last Thursday that did its best to discredit Chen, accusing him of resorting “to extreme and violent ways.”
If Chen had stuck to proper ways to help people safeguarding rights, this would have contributed to improving grass-roots governance and achieving social development.
Unfortunately, when trying to attract the international spotlight by being violently against the government, Chen became a political pawn and was used as a tool to work against China’s political system by some Western forces…
Chen now has turned from an activist into a political tool of some forces with ulterior motives. China’s grass-roots conflicts, which come from imperfect governance, have been magnified immensely.
But the Beijing Daily had much harsher words for Chen and Ambassador Locke, according to the Journal.
It picked up the “pawn and tool” refrain, adding that the entire episode was a “farce” directed by the U.S. embassy. And it gave a special thumping to the supposed director-in-chief of this farce, U.S. envoy Gary Locke, who has rankled the state-run media in the past with his down-to-earth style, including carrying his own luggage and trying to use coupons to buy coffee at an airport coffee shop on the way to his China assignment.
This time Mr. Locke got a double shot of invective as the paper accused him of “putting on a show” and suggesting he was a trouble maker.
It’s possible censorship was never a reasonable option for the Chinese media to begin with, because of how much the messaging in the case of Chen’s escape was out of their control thanks to news being spread on social media. Social networking sites in China have acted for many as alternatives to the state-run media, even using Twitter to go around the Great Firewall for information.
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