Netizens Tee Off on News of Golfing Diplomacy – Jonathan Ansfield

Biganzi’s Jonathan Ansfield writes:

Here’s a bright from the sensationalist realm of Internet news editing with a tenuous connection to the :

On Monday, the semi-official China News Service ran what looked to be just another fluff piece about a cross-Strait golf friendly in the southern region of Guangxi. The tournament pit a visiting delegation of Kuomintang officials from Taiwan, dubbed Team “Huanxi” (ʨ¢Âñújoyful, happy, delighted), against a group of ranking cadres in the region of Guangxi, known as Team “Kuaile” (Âø´‰πêhappy, joyful, cheerful). Thus the name of the tourney, which, according the story, reflected how so very happy (huanleʨ¢‰πê) they are together. More than 100 senior representatives of Taiwanese opposition parties visited Guangxi in 2006, the article said. A hundred-plus trade agreements were signed, and in the first eleven months of last year, Taiwanese businesses invested nearly US$3 billion in the impoverished region. Originally, the piece was filed under a headline noting the KMT golfers had their Guangxi mates to play again next year in Taipei. But on the CNS web site and on other portals, it ran under an altogether different headline, based on quote from a local Taiwan Affairs official near the bottom of the piece:

“Guangxi Party Secretary mobilizes department officials to organize golf squad for high-level exchanges”

Such crafty retitling has become routine online in China, and in this case users have had a field day with the story. Here’s a sampling of comments posted so far on Sohu.com:

[Pictured: Guangxi party boss Liu Qibao]

“No wonder Guangxi is still so poor. All the officials have gone off to play.”

“Golf is a sport of the aristocracy. China’s officials are aristocrats. This party secretary has carried forward the fine tradition of seeking truth from facts.”

“Taiwan’s elites also like to go whoring. Will you be organizing another group to carry out some of that kind of exchange too?”

“Warm-blooded youths: Resolutely fight these blood-suckers. They’ve taken life in Guangxi back another few decades.”

“This party secretary should step down.”

The regional chief named in the piece happens to be Liu Qibao, a future Politburo hopeful who owes his rise to the Communist Youth League political machine patronized by Hu Jintao. In view of his endorsement of golfing diplomacy, one respondent went so far as to compare Liu to a forerunner of his in Guangxi, the most senior party official ever to be executed for : “Liu Qibao is Cheng Kejie’s little cousin.”

January 22, 2007, 10:42 PM
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