Foreign media on China
Posted by Jeremy Goldkorn on Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 9:23 AM
Britain's Spectator magazine has published a piece by Aidan Hartley about petitioners in Beijing titled The terrible secrets of Beijing's black jails. Petioners are people who come to the capital to petition the central government to sort out problems caused by or ignored by provincial or village authorities. The petitioners are justly a favorite subject of the foreign press: they are people whose stories reveal the terrible inequities behind the Chinese economic miracle.
However, Mr Hartley seems to have drunk some kind of paranoia-inducing Kool Aid. If you have spent any time in Beijing, see if the below excerpt from Hartley's article makes any sense:
Not just in that black jail, but everywhere I went in Beijing I met unhappy people. Some wept hysterically, standing in front of demolished homes from which they had been evicted to make way for Olympic redevelopments and waving petitions for justice that never get heard. They stood in piles of faeces dumped on their doorsteps by ruthless developers. And all the time I saw police and thugs in dark glasses disperse gatherings of any kind, even funerals.
This nonsense does nothing to address the legitimate grievances of petitioners. It is activist journalism at its shoddiest.
UPDATE: The video is online here.
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