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China’s State Media Accuses VOA of Maliciously Distorting Facts

China’s state media Xinhua blasts Voice of America’s unfavorable report about China’s "Measures for Administering the Relaese of News and Information in China by Foreign News Agencies."

On May 5, 2007, Xinhua, the Chinese communist official news agency, issued a statement accusing Voice of America of maliciously distorting the facts about Xinhua’s September 10, 2006, regulation, "Measures for Administering the Release of News and Information in China by Foreign News Agencies." In an article published on May 1, 2007, Voice of America reported on this regulation and commented, according to Xinhua, that the regulation "restricts foreign media’s development."

Here are some excepts from Xinhua’s May 5, 2007, rebuttal [1]: "A spokesman for the Foreign Information Administration Center of Xinhua today renounced the Voice of America, noting that a VOA report used ill intentions to distort the facts.

"The spokesman reiterated that while handling the business of releasing news and information in China, foreign news agencies are free from obstacles, as long as they abide by Chinese laws and regulations.

"He added that not a single case can prove that the legitimate interests of foreign news agencies have been damaged because of Xinhua’s administration. On the contrary, a host of facts have proven that following the implementation of the Measures, services provided by Xinhua in all areas have promoted the rapid development of the business of foreign news agencies in China, including Reuters and Bloomberg.

The spokesman said that the Measures do not cover news interviews conducted by foreign reporters in China."

Comments from Chinese Viewers at Xinhua

Xinhua has a comment section which its webmaster closely monitors and censors. He has the absolute authority to remove or delete any posted comments [2]. Those who post comments can easily be tracked down since their IP addresses display right next to their comments.

There are 13 comments on the comment page for the above Xinhua rebuttal. Here are some examples [3]. There are no pro-American comments.

2007-05-07 08:46:59 "Voice of America is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. We Chinese must watch out for this wolf!" IP: 125.90.89

2007-05-06 19:06:37 "Voice of America usually broadcasts comparative news between 6 pm and 7pm or after 10pm at night. Everyone, do not listen to it. If you do, you will definitely be poisoned, because it contains confusing comparisons." IP:219.137.143
2007-05-06 10:54:45 "On issues related to our national interests, including the important issue of ideology, any Chinese with integrity must be unequivocally against any external malicious forces and opinions so as to safeguard our international status and image. All people of justice will oppose and repudiate any dark and evil forces that attempt to take Chinese people as their enemy. Their outwardly strong but inwardly weak countenance will be completely unmasked." IP:59.61.109

2007-05-05 16:08:43 "As known to all peace loving people in the whole world, "Voice of America" is a slander machine that is dedicated to fabricating lies against China. It has been slandering China for over half a century. Extremely disgusting!" IP:221.10.19

The latest statement from Voice of America: "We Report Truthfully" [4].

On May 11, 2007, VOA issued a reply in Chinese. Translated excerpts as follows:

"We reported this news event that occurred in China to our Chinese audience with fairness and objectivity.

"In doing so, Voice of America, not only reported messages from Xinhua but also provided summaries of reports on this event from U.S. media and international media, in our effort to provide balanced and complete reporting of responsible discussions and ideals from overseas, including reports from U.S. mainstream media such as The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, both of which are highly reputable in the international media community.

"What we now would like to explain to our Chinese audience is that western journalism emphasizes truthfulness—taking truth as the first fiber of life in journalism. Therefore, be it good news or bad news in China, we report truthfully."

VOA concluded its reply with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."


[1] Xinhua, May 5, 2007
[2] See Xinhua rules on posting comments
[3] Comments.
[4] Voice of America, May 11, 2007.

Joshua Li is a correspondent for Chinascope.