AMBER VERNETTI WRITES: China’s influence over outside media outlets is increasing in countries like Australia, analysts report. This ‘soft power’ approach is China’s way of keeping in touch with one million Chinese Australians while censoring what is included in the Chinese language news sources and favoring state-generated content.
John Fitzgerald, a professor at Swinburne University, bought 18 Chinese language newspapers during the week of June 2 and 8 which mark the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. “Of those 18 titles, 11…made no mention whatsoever of the fact this happened to be the 25th anniversary,” he said. While the anniversary was respectfully cited by news sources worldwide, articles about the massacre were blatantly missing in Chinese publications.
Two of the seven that did commemorate the event only mentioned it in the context of Falun Gong, a sacred movement the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wishes to end.
Although Chinese Australians maintain a connection to their country of origin, the news that is reported is carefully chosen and generally ‘watered down.’ Behind these Chinese language media outlets lurks the power and agenda of the CCP.
The limited amount of content reported in Chinese language publications suggests the presence of a Beijing propaganda bureau.
Despite China’s media-controlling philosophy, many of those living abroad are aware of and used to the tightened restrictions on media content.
Wanning Sun, a professor at Sydney’s University of Technology, said that this is because “…people in China have actually lived with propaganda, they have this political culture where…they read between the lines and there is some kind of inbuilt immune system if you like.”
Although many believe it’s time for China to tell their story, it’s important to get the facts straight and not simply erase unpleasant memories of the past as if they never occurred. It’s like looking into a broken mirror – you still see your reflection, but it’s muddled beyond recognition.