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Tibet coverage 'twisted, biased'

April 2, 2008

Glenn Bohn
Vancouver Sun
Monday, March 31, 2008

Protesters gathered on Granville Street in front of the Chinese
Consulate in Vancouver Monday afternoon to show support for Tibet. About
100 people carried signs and demonstrated peacefully against the Chinese
occupation of Tibet.

VANCOUVER - Unrest in Tibet is not only fuelling controversy around the
world. It is also stirring up strong opinions in Vancouver's
Chinese-language media.

One editor at the Chinese-language Ming Pao newspaper has accused
western news media of "twisted, biased reporting on the Tibet issue."

In a blog, titled Chinese in Vancouver, Ming Pao assignment editor
Susanna Ng specifically criticized Canadian TV coverage of events in and
around Tibet, including clips aired on CTV and Global.

Ng said some TV stations have repeatedly aired video of Nepalese police
clamping down on Tibetan protesters, and stating incorrectly that the
video was shot in Lhasa, Tibet, implying that it was Chinese police who
were beating up protesters.

"Unfortunately, it looks like our Canadian reporters remain ignorant
about what's going on," she wrote.

However, Victor Ho, the editor-in-chief of Vancouver edition of the
rival Sing Tao Daily, said Monday that Chinese readers have to realize
that western media are critical of all governments, not only the
Communist Party-led government in Beijing.

Ng could not be reached Monday. But she wrote in her English-language
blog: "Waves of rage roar over all major online Chinese-Canadian forums,
with people angrily posting their angst against 'another example' of
western media bias."

Ho said the incorrect identification shows that journalists are
sometimes careless, but that doesn't prove the Western media are hostile
to the government of China. He conceded his own newspaper sometimes
makes factual errors or poorly crops a photograph, but said that doesn't
make Sing Tao Daily a Chinese government pawn.

Ho also rejected suggestions that local English and Chinese-language
newspapers' coverage of the Tibet situation are completely different
from each other. Chinese-language newspapers also use western sources
like the Reuters news agency, not just government sources from the
People's Republic of China, he said.

"The Chinese newspapers here are all privately owned, not official
organs of the Chinese government," Ho said in an interview.

Gabriel Yu, a columnist with Global Chinese Press, said he thinks there
real differences in the English and Chinese media coverage of events in

Yu said the western media have been relying more on western
correspondents and cellphone images taken by western tourists, while
Chinese-language media companies based in Hong Kong are using more
information and video footage released in China.

As a result, Yu said, viewers of Chinese-language TV news broadcasts see
the more of the "dark side and violence of the riots," including
assaults against ethnic Chinese in Tibet. The Chinese news media also
interviewed injured ethnic Chinese in hospitals.

Yu said the local Chinese-language media have reported some of the
comments of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader, but not nearly
as much as the western media.

He said English-language television has shown lots of footage of Tibetan
protesters in India and Nepal being attacked by police in those countries.

"Many viewers may not be able to distinguish Nepal from Tibet," he added.
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