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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 11:47 08/08/2008
News Review #458: August 8, 2008

The World's Eyes Are On China

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

The World's Eyes Are On China
The Daily Yomiuri (8/8/2008)

Stop Criticizing China, It Has Come So Far (by Lijia Zhang)
The Japan Times (8/7/2008)


There are two contrasting editorial articles on the Beijing Olympics appearing in Japan's representative newspapers, namely, the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Japan Times (see the links above).

The Yomiuri editorial article first appears to be a kind of "neutral" comments on the opening of the Olympic games, due to its headline and the first sentence "The Summer Olympic Games open on Friday in Beijing," but turns out to be a rather strong statement, emphasizing various problems in China from the Tibet issue, recent terrorism incidents, tight security regulations, suppression of press freedom to the environmental problem. In addition, the article ends with a nationalistic expression "Japan ready to shine." Although it is understandable that the traditionally conservative newspaper takes such a severe stance against China in wake of the ruthless suppression of press freedom involving Japanese journalists, this particular editorial does not seem to be in line with a more open-minded and international viewpoint that the Yomiuri has recently taken, for example, on the Yasukuni Shrine issue.

In contrast, an interesting opinion article written by a Chinese journalist in the Japan Times dismisses various criticisms against China by stating that "I have no problem with negative stories, but I think it's wrong for the West to stand in moral judgment, especially when some of the accusations are not true" and "although I can understand how China's undemocratic political system and lack of transparency make the West uneasy, especially when matched with the country's rise, much of the fear is generated by ignorance." There are problems with this kind of nationalistic stance for China, too. For one thing, China versus the West is the wrong comparison. The right comparison should be "undemocratic and non-transparent countries" versus "democratic and transparent countries." Also, blaming others' ignorance and false accusations is an easy way around the real issues, including the lack of neutral media and communications, facing China.

Hopefully, the Olympics will provide a good opportunity for people in China as well as in other countries to realize that although nations appear to be competing in the Games, it is the individual athletes who are competing with each other under fair and open rules, resulting in national pride and glories based on participation and outcomes.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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