John Pomfret: Should We Give China a Break?

Journalist John Pomfret writes in his blog:

From the lip-syncing imbroglio, to reports on tween gymnasts and Han Chinese kids posing as ethnic minorities, to coverage that’s focused on human rights, pollution and China’s challenge to West, one could argue that Beijing is getting kicked in the teeth on a daily basis by the Western press.

Are we being too tough?

Some people, like Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia, think it’s a legitimate question to ask. Others in the fraternity of journalists say “we’re just doing our job.” A few more think we’re pathetic and should be tougher on the Red Chinese.

My view of it, as usual, is a muddle. On the factual stuff, what’s happening in and around the Games, I say let ’em have it. I’ve spent years reporting in China, wrote lots of tough stories, got tossed out after the June 4th crackdown in 1989, had my share of run-ins with the local authorities, and saw the thuggishness of the one-party state up close and personal. I have no problem with tough pieces.


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