China dumps control for subtler realm of Western spin in crisis reporting

July 11th, 2009 - 5:59 pm ICT by ANI  

Beijing, July 11 (ANI): Eighteen months ago, when unrest had broken out among Tibetans in western China, the Chinese government had banned foreign reporters in the region, but in stark in contrast the administration changed their tactics to tackle the Urumqi unrest.

The Chinese propaganda officials used several Western PR tactics of media management to effectively ward off perceptions of the state’s involvement in the ethnic violence in Urumqi, the capital of China’s western Xinjiang Province, where 156 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured in riots, the reports.

The Chinese officials used a blend of tactics, which included inviting foreign journalists to visit Urumqi to report for themselves, after a clash between the Han Chinese and Uighur communities had created an atmosphere of instability and insecurity in the area.

They also censored the information available on Internet, providing the local readers with abundant reports which were however one-sided.

A press centre was also put at their disposal, and tours of the violence-stricken quarters of the city were provided.

These refined tactics helped the officials to prevail over the early impressions that the Chinese authorities were to be blamed for the carnage.

“Officials are certainly studying the media-management techniques that are practiced elsewhere in the world. And they actually don’t work too badly,” said Rebecca Mackinnon, an expert on the Chinese media at Hong Kong University. “We’ve moved out of the realm of trying to control everything and into a more subtle realm of manipulation and spin,” Mackinnon added.(ANI)

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