Playing the “1989” Game – Chris O’Brien

On his Beijing Newspeak blog, Chris O'Brien explains how Xinhua crafted a story about the demolition of Beijing University's Sanjiaodi (Triangle Area), which had been a rallying point for protesters in 1989, without mentioning 1989:

The boards served as the hub of student discontent during the Tiananmen democracy protests, displaying poetry and slogans denouncing the government. This of course was the main reason why this story was worth writing. Time to take the highly entertaining self-censorship game to a new level.

We came up with this lead paragraph:

officials have sparked controversy by removing public notice boards from the center of the university campus that were formerly used by students to express their political, cultural and academic opinions.

Personally, I thought this was fair enough. Clearly, after nearly two years at Xinhua, I am still drowning in naiviety. The published version:

Peking University officials have sparked controversy by removing public notice boards from the center of the university campus that were formerly used by students to get various informations and express opinions. [Full text]

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