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From China with Love

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 02, 2003

No SARS cases have been found in China at the moment as in the other parts of the world, and once a case is reported, the Ministry of Health will make it public in the shortest possible time, China's executive deputy minister of health Gao Qiang said Saturday.

That's from the English-language version of the People's Daily, a web-based propaganda blatt from China. I shall resist the temptation to draw comparisons with certain public relations endeavors closer to our hearts and hearths, and content myself with the suggestion that the site is worth an occasional visit, if only to see what the comrades in Beijing are thinking.

One of the constant targets of the People's Daily (not surprisingly) is Taiwan, which it portrays as a major threat to peace in the Pacific. There is a non-stop stream of news stories and editorials -- the distinction is often blurred beyond recovery -- written in wobbly English and aimed at driving a deeper wedge between the U.S. and Taiwan. A specimen:

First, the mainland is becoming increasingly strong and the mainstream public opinion on the island is "seeking peace, stability and development." They are the major forces containing separation activities.

Second, the majority of the international community has adopted the one-China principle. There is no space for promoting "Taiwan independence."

Third, due to its own strategic interests, the United States stresses that it maintain the status quo of the Taiwan Straits, which also contains the rampant activities of the Taiwan separatists.

Because its mimicry of Western journalism is so ham-fisted, one may be tempted to dismiss the political apparat behind the People's Daily as incompetent and harmless -- a mistake. The folks who jailed twelve priests and seminarians last week for the crime of making a retreat, who still carry out forced abortions, who are as candid as the deputy minister of health, will have a profound impact on the daily lives of all of us in twenty years' time. Or less.

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