Chris O’Brien writes in the Beijing Newspeak blog about the recent mass rape of young girls by a teacher in the Gansu Province. He highlights the fact the Chinese media intentionally played down such a tragic event in the name of saving China’s face, as well as due to lack of information released by authorities. From Beijing Newspeak:
…Such a horrific event, so little effort in conveying it to the world. Pressing the journalist for more information on this story brought to light some opinions I found very difficult to accept and which luckily are not held by anywhere near the majority of journalists in my department.
The journalist in question began his case as to why he could not possibly get more information by bemoaning the lack of substance to a Sichuan newspaper report…Then he decided to raise his hand, shield the side of his mouth nearest to his colleagues, and whisper, “This kind of thing is quite common in rural areas. People there are very uneducated.” He moved on to say how he didn’t want to exaggerate the story for the sake of the children who had suffered and that they should be allowed to forget. The final excuse was predictable and one I suspected was coming all along. “It would not be good for China’s image.”
…But how can the downplaying of this kind of crime be considered a safeguard of social stability? The facts are there in the story to suggest censorship in this case can cause more suffering.[Full text]
For more information on the rape case, see Earthtimes.org’s China Sentences Teacher to Death for Raping 18 Girls.