There is some anger being expressed by Chinese citizens about foreign media reporting on the Tibet protests and violence. To a certain extent it is justified. Showing pictures of Nepali security forces beating Tibetan protesters and labeling those pictures as Chinese violence is at best sloppy, at worst a lie. And I keep wondering why so many writers can only bring themselves to say that Tibetan protesters have “attacked” Han civilians. Is “killed” too hard a word to write?
But Chinese criticism might be more credible if the same anger was expressed about the totally one-sided reporting by Chinese media. Foreign media might make some mistakes. That happens. It might have some biases. That happens too. But Chinese media is complete in its bias and censorship - there are no exceptions to this when it comes to Tibet and Xinjiang. I would also feel more sympathy if those same Chinese media - and Chinese citizens - showed more willingness to understand the real desires and grievances of Tibetans and other minorities. Instead, the majority voice is one of Han chauvinism similar to that of the British in India. There’s even the “we built them a railway and they’re so ungrateful” argument.
The Tibetan protests erupted on the anniversary of the 1959 uprising. There was another anniversary this week - the fifth anniversary of the US-British invasion of Iraq. That is where far more anger should be directed. Anger about the killing and anger about the lies. Watching the BBC just now, I learned that “tens of thousands” of Iraqis have been killed. In 2006, the best estimate for Iraqi deaths was 650,000. Now, the number could be more than a million. The BBC’s “tens of thousands” sounds very much like the Sudanese government’s claim that 8,000 people have died in Darfur. What should we make of that?