June 4th and China's Media

In today's first hour on Timothy Geithner's visit to China our lead-off guest, The Atlantic's James Fallows, noted that the Chinese government is studiously avoiding any mention of the 20th anniversary, on June 4, of the Tiananmen Square democracy protests and massacre. Fallows, who joined us from Beijing, said the event itself is effectively being erased from memory:

Something which is really noticable, and all foreigners are discussing it, is that this event has simply been air-brushed from collective knowledge in China. It is routine to encounter university audiences who have never heard of the events of Tiananmen Square 20 years ago — 20 years ago, two days from now.

[Jim later added this June 4 coverage update on his blog . And others offer roundups of China's media censorship leading up to June 4, including blocking Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and other sites.]

According to NPR's Anthony Kuhn, the Chinese media are in an interesting stage of transition, with some organizations now only loosely affiliated with the government. His recent report, "China Launches Global Media Blitz," looked at the intriguing new state-backed paper, Global Times. (Update: Global Times does indeed report on Tiananmen — credit to listener RollerGirlLois, see below...)


But most outlets are state dominated — hewing to the "nationalist," Communist Party line. If you've never seen China's government-run English-language television station, CCTV, it's worth a visit online. Here's the segment we played audio from during our show today, to illustrate the Chinese internal response to Geithner. If you listen to Professor Huo Deming of Peking University giving his analysis on CCTV, you hear something that sounds pretty even-handed — something you could imagine a Western academic saying. Is it the party line? Who knows...


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