The Telegraph came under fire this week in the Chinese government’s English-language mouthpiece China Daily for using the word ‘propaganda’ when referring to the Chinese government’s “mass patriotic education campaigns” in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.
In an article headlined ‘Who is spinning the propaganda?’, Patrick Whiteley, an Australian columnist for the paper, attacks The Telegraph for ‘constantly labeling’ Chinese government initiatives as propaganda.
This is factually incorrect. When The Telegraph writes about Chinese health reforms or its plans to green the economy, as I have on this blog and in the pages of the newspaper, the word ‘propaganda’ is nowhere to be found.
But when the Chinese government launches its 60th Anniversary patriotic campaign, as we reported on April 27, we do use the word ‘propaganda’ because that is precisely what it is, and the distinction is important.
Read also David Bandurski’s “Is Communist Party “propaganda” a relic of China’s past?” at China Media Project.