Friday, January 21, 2011

Hu's US visit: Did Chinese media censor human rights news?


It's not news that China is often associated by the Western media with human rights issues.
The Chinese president's trip to Washington has again sparked controversies regarding this topic.
According to The Guardian, whereas the CCTV praised President Hu Jintao's visit to the US, it did not give much importance to human rights remarks.
Today, the state media made headlines as "a new chapter in relations" and "a historic masterstroke of China-US diplomacy."
News in China focused on the welcome ceremony and trade agreements but failed to broadcast human rights in the reports.
Buried in Chinese news websites was Hu's comments on human rights when he said, the country "is always committed to protection and promotion of human rights and has made enormous progress in this regard." The question why the president said the comment was not mentioned.
Screens went blank in Beijing when BBC and CNN discussed protests and human rights.
Here are some tweets among the Chinese over the issue:
"American officials say Obama has raised the Liu Xiaobo issue with Hu and Obama reiterated that freedom of speech is a universal right. But the official refused to say how Hu answered the question."
"Imagine: When Obama asked about Liu Xiaobo, Hu began to look confused and asked his assistant: who is Liu Xiaobo? He is challenging Wen [Jiabao] to be the best actor!"
"Obama raises the human rights issue and Hu immediately spent US$45bn [on deals]. Speechless..."
Some people view this topic as being hypocritical of the Washington to pressure Beijing.
"They are just using it as an excuse to attack China. The US issues a global report on human rights every year, but never mentions itself in it. Then China would release a similar report on the US the next day. I think human rights in all countries have improved, but still have flaws. Disparity is inevitable," told one student to Reuters.
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