Smearing China

Time to do news again!

Foreign Affairs, a staunch brick in the establishment media edifice, just resurrected the events of Tiananmen Square from 30 years ago in “The New Tiananmen papers.”

… the number of demonstrators increased to perhaps as many as a million, including citizens from many walks of life. The students occupying the square declared a hunger strike, their demands grew more radical, and demonstrations spread to hundreds of other cities around the country. Deng decided to declare martial law, to take effect on May 20.

But the demonstrators dug in, and Deng ordered the use of force to commence on the night of June 3. Over the next 24 hours, hundreds were killed, if not more; the precise death toll is still unknown. The violence provoked widespread revulsion throughout Chinese society and led to international condemnation, …

Sounds like more of the same old from corporate-state entities.

Elsewhere comes the imposing figure of United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who appears, as if on cue, with an “aggressive soundbite” about China that was reported by RT.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang dismissed the smear as “nonsense.”

RT America anchor Rick Sanchez characterized the Chinese response as, “You are gonna criticize us because of what happened at Tiananmen Square three decades ago?”

At this point my bullshit detector clicked into action.

Continued Sanchez, “This Tiananmen Square thing, um, that’s a heck of an insult right to go after something that is so sensitive to them?”

Tiananmen Square thing!? At least Sanchez didn’t utter the M word (massacre).

Sanchez’ protege, Michele Greenstein, however, had done her homework. She pointed out how effective the Tiananmen Square thing had been in demonizing China and that many had fallen for the “imperialist line.” Imagine that, hearing the word imperialist uttered on media? America’s imperialist line even! The Tiananmen Square thing she averred has been “thoroughly discredited.” She provided many examples of media people who had recanted their testimonies of that time, and added, “There’s still not a lot to prove it [a massacre] happened.”

Sanchez responded immediately. He, apparently, couldn’t let that stand. He asserted,

But we’re not gonna give them [China] a pass either because things that happened during that era in Tiananmen Square, whatever happened there was not good. It wasn’t exactly a glowing example of freedom in any country so.

Greenstein deferred to her senior colleague, “You could certainly say that.”

At first blush, it seems as though Greenstein is in agreement with the sentiment expressed by Sanchez. But what exactly do her words mean? Those words by themselves are actually very non-committal on Greenstein’s part because, of course, people can certainly say whatever they want. That is what freedom of speech and freedom of expression are about.

Sanchez can often be heard on air to state, “This is the news with Rick Sanchez where we believe it is time to do news again.”

But what Sanchez did in this instance was opine; he did not do news. Probably no entity should be given a free pass. That would be contrary to investigative journalism and reporting the facts as the evidence points them out to be. But Sanchez singled China out specifically, and in so doing he cast an aspersion on China. He provided no evidence to substantiate his opinion. He failed to discuss what it was that was not good, so that was left hanging over China.

Should Disinformation be Allowed to Run Rampant?

Recently, ABC News ran a headline, “Tiananmen Square 30th anniversary: How China erased iconic ‘tank man’ image for young people.” My experience is that this is true. Very few Chinese people seem to know who the “tank man,” as the anonymous person has come to be known, is. Very few Chinese people seem to know much, if anything, about what happened in Tiananmen Square at that time. But for some reason people outside China deem that they know better.

A thought experiment is in order. Imagine someone puts out a false story about you that is very unflattering, downright embarrassing and damaging, and then spreads that lie far and wide and never lets up on spreading the lie. How would you feel? If you could stop the lie, even make it disappear, would you not do so?

By analogy, if the events surrounding the student-led protests from 30 years ago in Tiananmen Square have been twisted in an exceedingly Machiavellian manner to cast mendacious aspersions on the Chinese government, is the Chinese government not within its rights as an unfairly maligned party to remove and stymie the lies?

As for the tank man? What do you see in the below video? Do you see an evil government and vicious military at work?

Or do you see tanks concerned about harming another human being, stopping to avoid a collision, attempting to maneuver around the man? Do you agree, as the man in the video says, “They [the tank personnel] are showing a lot of restraint”?

How is it that this video clip carries such negative connotations in western monopoly media? Ask yourself if a person in the US had dared to step in front of a line of tanks, would he would have been escorted away with kid gloves?

The participants at the 2004 Halifax International Symposium on Media and Disinformation unanimously declared:

1. Disinformation—its creation and propagation—is a crime against humanity and a crime against peace;

2. Those responsible for the creation, propagation, and orchestration of disinformation campaigns should be indicted for crimes against humanity and peace.

Therefore, China, in blocking disinformation, is arguably acting in prevention of a crime against humanity. ((Granted it can be a slippery slope when the boundaries of disinformation are breached by blocking information that someone doesn’t like.))

Doing the news again

What does Sanchez know about freedom in China? What does he know about freedom in China compared to other countries? What about freedom from poverty which China is on target to achieve in 2020?

RT is by far one of the best video news outlets. There are so many guests that appear on RT that would never or rarely be permitted to appear on corporate-state news outlets.

Rick Sanchez himself is usually quite, quite good. So please, Mr Sanchez, don’t opine. Do the news. Go ahead and dig into the “Tiananmen Square thing,” and bring the historical background information and facts to light. What was it that happened in Tiananmen Square (or thereabouts)? Whatever happening was it that was not good? Who was behind the “not good” happening?

I suggest a good place to start is with Wei Ling Chua who researched and wrote Tiananmen Square “Massacre”? The Power of Words vs. Silent Evidence. ((See review.)) Chua has quite compellingly exposed the disinformation surrounding so many facets about what the corporate-state media first reported happening in Tiananmen Square 30 years ago.

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at Read other articles by Kim.